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Harry S. Truman Little White House

Harry S. Truman Little White House, FL
The Harry S. Truman Little White House in Key West, Florida was the winter White House for President Harry S Truman for 175 days during 11 visits. The … See more


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Jan 22, 2023
Someone recommended this tour and we were fortunate to have Bob as a tour guide as he is unbelievably knowledgeable. We enjoyed the tour and learned new things about Truman and that historical time p… Full review by TeamTex
Jan 13, 2023
This wasn’t a must do for me but actually really enjoyed the visit. We had a very good male tour guide (whose name I’ve forgotten), I learnt quite a bit about Truman that I didn’t know. Well worth a … Full review by Livgal8
Jan 9, 2023
Really insightful, Bob who was our guide knew everything about President Truman, the house and also Key West. Provided a great and funny commentary while touring the house. Full review by jordandesales


Another White House With Presidential History
The Little White House was originally built in 1890 as naval command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. In 1946, President Harry Truman used this house as his winter vacation home and because he spent so many working vacations here, it became known as the Little White House. The name is fitting: Since Truman's days, many other presidents have also vacationed here, including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Today, the Little White House has been restored and turned into a museum. Exhibits document Key West's role in naval conflicts, as well as the house's history — the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine were both discussed here. Recent travelers highly recommend a visit to the Little White House, especially for self-idenitified history buffs. "This house gives you a great sense of what it was like when Truman visited. He loved Key West and the house reflects that," one TripAdvisor reviewer said. Guided house tours are included in the admission price, which costs $16.13 for adults and $5.38 for kids ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 get in for free. Tours, which are around 45 to 55 minutes long, are offered about every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. You can save a little more than a $1 on each admission by purchasing your tickets on the venue's website. The house is located on the western coast of Key West, just south of Mallory Square and about half a mile north of Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. If you're arriving by car, you can pay to park at the nearby Westin Key West Resort & Marina or for free one block east on Whitehead Street.
Balmy Tropical Paradise
Presidents are well-known for their getaway locations, whether they choose to clear brush on a ranch in Texas, visit their childhood home in Hawaii or retreat to nearby Camp David. Less common in the modern era is the practice of building and maintaining one’s own official home-away-from-home that also acts as an office-away-from-office, but that was more common in Truman’s time, and he took full advantage. Thus the creation of what was known then as the “Little White House”, a compound obtained and maintained by the Truman administration in the balmy tropical paradise of Key West, Florida. Truman made his love for Key West no secret, as not only did he set up an official secondary location for conducting state business on the island, he also annexed several miles of its sandy southern shoreline and created a naval base there, which is maintained to this day. The building is now the Harry S. Truman Little White House museum. Complete with many of the original fixtures, amenities and objects of historic interest, the museum is a snapshot of a time when the presidency came with at least a bit more privacy, and keeping a sharp eye on Cuba came at a premium. Truman’s favor for the island did make sense. Key West has long been a location of strategic importance, whether it was an early warning location guarding against potential attacks by the Spanish navy, or a valuable outpost during the civil war. Bases such as Fort Zachary Taylor and Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas - both historic parks now - were built there more than a century ago. With Cuba just 90 miles away, it took on a whole new importance during the Cold War, one that Truman didn’t shy away from embracing. Particularly, one would think, after he saw that Caribbean water.

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