Thursday, March 8, 2007

FLORIDA: KEY WEST - The Southernmost House - Grand Hotel & Museum.

The Southernmost House was built in 1896 for a cost of $250,000 (approximately $6 million today) by Judge J. Vining Harris, who married into the prominent Curry family. In 1939 the Ramos family purchased the property, which had been converted into a Cuban nightclub called Café Cayo Hueso (Bone Island Café), for $49,000. In 1954 it was converted back into a residence and remained so until 1996 when a $3 million restoration began to turn it into a 13-room hotel, with a museum on the first floor.
Today 43 U.S. presidential signatures are on display including William Henry Harrison's, which is a rare piece of historic memorabilia, as is President Johnson's original swearing-in statement.
The Ernest Hemingway room boasts a large collection of written memorabilia including letters to friends, relatives, and professional acquaintances.
Artifacts and treasure salvaged by Whitey Keevan from the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon are also on display and for sale.
Exterior paint colors are authentic, as are elegant crown moldings, ceiling medallions, ornamental woodwork and friezes, which were originally painted white, but have been redone in splashy shades reminiscent of its days as a Cuban nightclub.

No comments: