Truman’s Little White House, Key West FL


The Truman Little White House

President Harry Truman loved Key West.   Our ferry back to Fort Myers leaves in two hours, so we have time to visit the Truman Little White House.

Truman's Winter White House Museum

Harry Truman’s Winter White House Museum

Truman's Winter White House MuseumI knew very little about Truman but our guide Eric was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He related his experiences meeting some of the more recent Presidents who visited the compound. He was interesting and well-spoken, and his knowledge of the house and his Presidency was evident. 

Tour Guide Truman's Winter White House Museum

Our Little White House Museum guide

Researchers spent two years contacting the major wallpaper companies to find the original wallpaper. As they were considering copy write laws, exhaustive research was necessary to track down the company which produced the original wallpaper.  When none of the companies could claim the design, it had to be copied and reproduced. 

After the tour, we went into two small exhibit rooms with historical photos and memorabilia.

Harry Truman Quote "If you can't them, confuse them"

Harry Truman Quote

Truman Little White House Museum Memorabilia and photos

Truman Little White House Museum Memorabilia and photos

 Little White House Museum Memorabilia and photos

Harry Truman Quote "When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship"

Harry Truman Quote

Important Visitors to the Little White House

Over the years Presidents Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton visited or stayed in the house, as well.  Thomas Edison stayed a the compound for six months in 1918 working on 41 weapons for the US war effort. The decor currently maintained is as it was in the Truman Presidential years.

Built in 1890 the Truman White house is a short walk off Duval Street. The compound was a former naval base and Command Headquarter for three wars, the Spanish-American and World Wars I and II.  In 1946 it became the Winter White House for the Truman Presidency.

Harry Truman "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets credit"

Harry Truman quote

Truman spent 175 days a the Little White House on working vacations

During Truman’s time in office between 1945 and 1953, he spent 175 days in Key West.  According to our guide, he initially came to Key West seeking sunshine and rest following an illness, and on the advice of his doctor.

Apparently, Truman was a workaholic who’s health was not strong and although he traveled with his White House staff, he found a happy compromise between work and relaxation on Key West. As soon as he arrived the suit went into the closet, and the floral shirts came out of the suitcase, he was out of Washington!

I walked away with a better appreciation of Truman, who was President the year I was born. 

How Truman became President

Before his time in politics, he owned a haberdashery in Independence MO.  When the business failed, he ran for office and eventually in 1934 was elected US Senator.   In 1944, for FranklinRoosevelt’s second term, he was tapped for Vice President. After three months as Vice President Roosevelt died Truman became the 33rd president.

During his Presidency he faced many complex issues:

  • The decision to drop the atomic bomb to end World War II.
  • The formidable task of re-building both Europe and Japan.
  • Restructuring American foreign policy.
  • Recognizing the State of Israel Involvement in the Korean War
  • Managing the Cold War         1947 Doctrine
  • As well as creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • The National Security Council (NSC)

Information about the Museum:

Located at 11 Front Street, Key West, FL, The Little Winter White House is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The entrance fee is $17.20 per person ($16 if purchased online, Seniors $15.05 or $14 online). Tours are offered approximately every 20 minutes from 9am until 4:30pm daily.

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I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

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