Truman White House, Key West

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 13 Reviews

In the Truman Annex -- off of Whitehead Street 305-294-9911

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  • Truman White House
    by Ewingjr98
  • Little White House, Key West
    Little White House, Key West
    by Martinewezel
  • little white house
    little white house
    by doug48
  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Harry S. Truman Little White House

    by Ewingjr98 Written Sep 14, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The house we know as the Harry S. Truman Little White House was built in 1890 as the home of the commandant of the Key West submarine base. President William Taft was the first president to stay at this house, in 1912. During World War I Thomas Edison stayed here for six months performing work for the navy.

    When Harry S. Truman was President of the United States, this house became his retreat, often twice a year, throughout his eight year presidency. His first trip was in November 1946, and he stayed here 11 times for a total of 175 days.

    Following the Truman administration, other Presidents also spent time here, enjoying the warm Key West winters. President Eisenhower spent time here in December 1955 and January 1956 to recuperate from a heart attack. President John Kennedy was here twice: in March 1961 for a one-day meeting with the British Prime Minister and again in 1962 following the Cuban Missile Crisis. Former President Jimmy Carter visited with his family for a family reunion in 1996. Finally, former President Bill Clinton spent a weekend here in 2005.

    This historic house remained the home of the commandant of the Naval Station, at least when important guests were not visiting, until 1974. In 1987, the State of Florida took ownership of the home and restored the home to its 1949 appearance using private donations.

    Today the site is operated and maintained by the The Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation, a non profit organization. Admission is about $16 for adults and $5 for kids, and discounts are available online. The Little White House is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with tours every 20 minutes from 9am until 4:30pm.

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  • Martinewezel's Profile Photo

    The buck stops here

    by Martinewezel Written Mar 27, 2011
    Little White House, Key West

    Today, this place is a museum, but it once served as headquarters of the Key West Naval base in the Spanish American war, in WWI and WWII.
    After WWII, this house served as retreat for president Harry Truman and that is why it's called the Little White House. Good! It's also painted in white. And I guess he had a very nice time here. The house is beautiful! One of the things I remember from my visit (in 2002) is the president's poker table. Apparently he had a favorite expression which he often used while playing poker, namely "The buck stops here". Among all the other interesting things I heard from the guide during the tour, this expression is stamped on my memory.

    There are only guided visits and you'll see all the private quarters of the president. The furnishing seems to be original or almost original.
    Not to miss!

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  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    The Little White House

    by apbeaches Updated Feb 21, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Marta our tour guide was informative. She keep the interest of guests of all ages providing info. about the house & Truman family. Marta shared information about Truman, Bess, and Margaret's lives in the Little White House. The rooms were comfortably furnished; we saw his card table, victrola, desk, bed and memorabilia.

    The Little White House was built in 1890 on the waterfront as a two-family dwelling for the base
    commandant and paymaster, this building was known as Quarters A and B. It served as command headquarters during the Spanish American War. In order to accommodate the larger scale ships, the harbor was dredged in 1909 and the land filled in front of the house. It was converted into a single-family residence in 1911. President William Howard Taft visited this site in December 1912. Scientist Edward Hayden served as base commander from 1912 to 1915 and was involved in hurricane research. In 1918, inventor Thomas Edison lived here for six months while inventing 41 new weapons for the war effort.

    Beginning in November 1946,President Truman used this house for 175 days as his Winter White House during his administration of 1945 -1953. He spent 11 working vacations here and the building became known as the Little White House. In 1948, the Joint Chiefs of Staff met at this house to create the Department of Defense by merging the Department of War and Department of the Navy. While here, President Truman discussed the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine that changed American foreign policy, the recognition of the State of Israel. He wrote his fourth Civil Rights Executive Order requiring federal contractors hire minorities and he drafted a letter that called for a two week cease fire in Korea. The reaction of General Douglas MacArthur to this letter led to his dismissal as Allied Commander. While insisting he was on vacation, the President ultimately confessed in a family letter he was signing his name 200 to 600 times a day to official business.

    Pres. Eisenhower used the house for meetings in 1955 & 1956 while he recovered from a heart attack. Pres. Kennedy used this site for a summit meeting with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan 23 days before the Bay of Pigs. On November 26,1962 he returned following the Cuban missile crisis for an inspection tour. On April 2-6, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell opened peace talks in this house between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 2005, President Bill and Senator Hillary Clinton used the house as a weekend retreat. In December 2007, former President Jimmy Carter and family returned for a visit.

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    little white house

    by doug48 Written Nov 9, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    little white house

    another famous resident of key west was president harry truman. originally this building was built in 1890 for the commandant of the key west navy base. in the early 20th century scientist edward hayden and thomas edison lived here. president truman used this building as the winter white house between 1946 and 1953. during this period many important government meetings were held here. this home was offically named the little white house in 1948. this historic building is listed on the national register of historic places and is open to the public.

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  • Ericasmurf99's Profile Photo

    Little White House

    by Ericasmurf99 Updated Apr 20, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Emily in front of Little White House
    2 more images

    ***Discount for military***

    It is called the Truman White House not so much because it is white, although it is, but because he did alot of his presidential duties from here. Sort of an alternate White House. Not only do you learn more about President Truman, but you will learn a little more history on the Cold War and on the nearby Naval Base.

    If you are a history buff I recommend the Truman White House. The guides that work there are excellant and are really excited to talk about Truman.

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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    The Buck Stopped Here over 170 times!

    by 850prc Updated Aug 5, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    All of our modern presidents have had their "home/hideaways away from Washington". Kennedy had Hyannis Port, Nixon went to Key Biscayne, LBJ had his ranch, as did our present Prez, George W. His dad went to Kennebunkport and Reagan did a ranch in California. And, Harry S. Truman loved Key West. During Truman's almost 8 year presidency, he spent over 170 days IN Key West. The structure became known at that time as "Truman's Little White House".

    Come to think of it, Key West and Truman are actually a great match. Both are informal, laid-back types. I can see where this little bit of quiet at the end of Florida fit Harry's needs perfectly. I'll bet it was muy isolated back in the late 40s and early 50s.

    Today, you can tour the house and grounds...like everything in Key West, it costs $10 per adult. One thing that struck me during my visit was looking at one of Truman's tropical shirts on display. He was actually a very small man. We've come to think of him as such a giant, but he was actually quite slight in build. Truman's desk at the LWH has the famous "the buck stops here" sign.

    The house was originally built in the late 19th century, and its seawall was designed by Lt. Robert Peary, who would later find fame via the North Pole. During World War I, Thomas Edison resided in the house while donating his services to the Navy.

    And, the Little White House has served the nation beyond HST's presidency. In 1955, Dwight Eisenhower spent time here recovering from his heart attack. Sad and silly story, IMHO...Eisenhower actually hated Truman, and refused to sleep in the same bed that Truman had used on his visits to Key West. Seems kind of stupid to me, but it is what it is, right? Back in 1961, America's new president, John Kennedy, met British Prime Minister Harold McMillian in Key West at the Little White House. Recently in 2001, Colin Powell hosted a week of international peace talks at the house.

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  • Dutchnatasja's Profile Photo

    Truman's Little White House

    by Dutchnatasja Updated Mar 29, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Truman's Little White House

    The Harry S Truman Little White House in Key West, Fl. was built in 1890 as the first officer's quarters on the naval station and became later a single family home. Thomas Edison resided in the house during World War I while donating his services to the Navy. The home served as a winter White House for president Truman. The house has been host to many distinguished guests. Thomas Edison and Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and John F. Kennedy are people who passed through here. The house is still maintained as a museum for Harry S. Truman and the time he spent here.

    Tours lasting 45 minutes begin every 15 minutes. (included free exhibitions) The Little White House offers a great glimpse into the life and legacy of this great president. Today the "Little White House" has still the original furniture and d?cor. free exhibition. We didn't stay for the tour, maybe next time. We've just walk around and visit the shop and (free) museum with photos and some artifacts. The house and grounds are beautiful.

    The Little White House is located about two blocks from Mallory Square.

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  • eahollin's Profile Photo

    Truman's "Little White House"

    by eahollin Written Dec 14, 2004
    Dead Sexy!

    So apparently there was this fancy house that President Truman stayed in alot, especially when he was sick. They called it the "Little White House", and he hosted some important international figures here. They played poker. You can see the table. Very interesting tour, though; my wife loves this kind of stuff! The picture is actually taken in one of the courtyards surrounding the area where the "Little White House" is.

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  • Truman Little White House

    by grkboiler Written Nov 30, 2004
    Little White House

    Harry S Truman, the 33rd president of the US, spent 175 days of his presidency at the Little White House in Key West. He is regarded as one of the best presidents in history and served from 1945-1952.

    The house was built in 1890 as the 1st Officer's quarters as part of the naval base. Thomas Edison lived there during WWI as he worked for the US Navy. Finally, in 1946, Truman made it his vacation home during his presidency.

    Many important historical events have occured here, such as bills being enacted, the State of the Union address being prepared, meetings held by General Dwight D. Eisenhower that led to the creation of the Dept. of Defense, meetings held by JFK, a family reunion held by Jimmy Carter, and peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia held by Sec. of State Colin Powell in 2001.

    You will see the private and public rooms used by the Trumans on a guided tour. Admission is charged. Hours are 9am-5pm daily. There is also a gift shop and a free museum with photos and some artifacts.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Saint Truman

    by grandmaR Written Sep 27, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sign outside the house

    When we lived in Key West the Truman White House was on the Naval Base. I thought it might be nice to see it now that it is open to the public. So we walked over from the Shipwreck Museum/Oldest House (there's no parking inside the gates). We had about 45 minutes on the parking meter.

    The tour not only cost $10.00 each (way too expensive), but would take more time than we had on the parking meter.

    When I read about the tour, I found that the house had been restored to the 40's styles. I can remember the 40s and it doesn't particularly interest me.

    There is a free 10 minute video tape extolling all possible virtures of Harry that you can see before the tour. I decided that the video tape was sufficient, and we didn't stay for the tour.

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  • eitakorlando's Profile Photo

    Presidental History

    by eitakorlando Written Dec 3, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Truman's Little Whitehouse

    A visit to the Little White House is fascinating. You are guided through the main rooms of the house by a well-informed host. I've been on this tour three times and I'm still not tired of it. The guides are fantastic -- each of them put their own spin on the information (they give you LOTS of information) -- it is really interesting! Truman was a great president and seeing where he vacationed allows us to see his human side - although, he is one of the most "human" presidents we ever had. The house and grounds are beautiful.

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  • littlesam1's Profile Photo

    Truman's Little White House

    by littlesam1 Updated May 21, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Truman's Little White House

    Harry S. Truman used this house for his residence away from the White House in Washington. Much like the Presidents today go to Camp David for a retreat Truman came here to Key West. I think Harry knew what he was doing. Key West is much more interesting than Camp David, Maryland. There are pictures and many aritfacts from other presidents who visited here. John Kennedy spent some time here. The house was used for several high level heads of state conferences.

    It is located on a beautiful shore line with palm tree lined streets. Although the US Government sold the property the house is still maintained as a museum for Harry S. Truman and the time he spent here. The surrounding property has been sold for private homes and condominiums.

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  • el_ruso's Profile Photo

    Little White House

    by el_ruso Written Aug 5, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    President Truman used to come here for vacation. He chose a very nice place, and a very nice house, too.

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