Sandwiched between two very popular and consequential presidents -- Franklin Roosevelt and war hero Dwight Eisenhower -- Harry Truman's presidency and important political accomplishments are often overshadowed. We'll briefly discuss these, but what is not often known about this man from Independence, Missouri, is he how much he loved visiting Key West.
There is a lovely home in Key West you can visit dubbed the "Little White House", where Truman spent a significant amount of his time as President. The home was built in 1890 as a naval officers residence and much of the original construction remains. President Truman began using the home in November 1946 as his winter White House. Besides the pleasant winter weather and small town atmosphere of Key West, the setting was quiet and fairly private and gave him a chance to rest and regenerate. Truman spent 11 working vacations here (totally 175 days) during his presidency, and visited Key West 5 more times after his term of office had ended.
The top photo of the building provided last weekend's One Clue Mystery Photo. Congratulations to George G, who recognized where we were.
Our visit was cut short because of a wedding and reception being held on the grounds. We'd hope to conduct a full tour of the site, but because of the special event the tours ended early (before we'd arrived at the Little White House). Still, we had a chance to browse the displays documenting what life was like here during the Truman Presidency, but could not tour the individual rooms.
Some very historic events occurred during the Truman Presidency, including the end of World War II, the Marshal Plan, and the beginning of the Cold War. The President formulated important domestic agenda items here as well, including Civil Rights executive orders.
Six American presidents have used this building as their functioning White House and as a retreat. The building is now owned by the State of Florida and is open daily as a historic museum. Most of the furnishings are original to the 1949 remodeling for President Truman.