Truman's Winter Getaway

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by RoBoNC on July 28, 2009

For someone such as myself who loves to visit presidential sites, the Truman Little White House was one that I was not going to miss. Located in the "Old Town" of Key West near Mallory Square sits an average looking white house which became famous due to one man, Harry S Truman. The house was originally built as the home of the base commandant since it was built on the Key West Naval Station. Truman first visited the house in 1946 and he used it as an escape from the winter of Washington D.C. It was commonly called the winter White House until he spent so much time here, it became known as the Little White House.

Tours of the house are guided and most of the original furnishings are still there. The tour takes you to the bedrooms of Harry and Bess Truman as well as the office where Truman wrote many official letters and those to Bess when she wasn’t there. Downstairs, the living room contains probably the most famous newspaper in all of history. On display is the famous Chicago Tribune newspaper with the bold headlines, "Dewey Defeats Truman." Truman won the election and the paper became one of the biggest gaffes in media history and the most sought after newspaper among collectors. This house was the site of the formation of the Department of Defense. It is where Truman formulated his Marshall Plan for Europe and issued an executive order declaring a two-week cease fire in Korea which ultimately led to General Douglas MacArthur’s dismissal by Truman.

Tours are offered every twenty minutes from 9am to 4:30pm every day of the year including holidays. The Little White House is considered a living history museum and government officials continue to use the residence to this day for government functions. Very little notice is given and it is the only time that the Little White House is closed. In 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell used the residence to open up peace talks between the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Those countries’ flags are still flown outside the residence to recognize that. It is also used a vacation retreat as the Clintons stayed here in 2005 and the Carters in 2007.

There is no photography allowed inside the Little White House. There is a gift shop located on the premises which is where you buy tour tickets. A tip is to grab visitor’s guides which can be found all over Key West. Those guides contain coupons which offer discounted rates at the Little White House and numerous other attractions.

Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum
111 Front St.
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-9911

© LP 2000-2009