Many American presidents have selected a place that becomes important to them outside of Washington DC, where they can relax and feel like an everyday citizen. For Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it was Warm Springs, Georgia, but for Harry Truman, it was Key West, Florida.
Credit: Roger Wallstadt
It was built in 1890 as housing for naval officers. Thomas Edison stayed here, as did six other American presidents, including William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, but it was Truman’s time here that left the biggest impression.
Credit: Florida Keys Public Libraries
Truman notably stayed here after the decision to drop the atomic bomb in 1946 left him emotionally and physically drained. His life here was casual, as he wore tropical shirts, pictured above, rather than the more formal attire expected of him in Washington. He was known to meet with dignitaries on the lawn, where the Key West chickens would run around. The Truman family continued to visit the house until the 1970s. You can see the original furnishings inside the house.
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If You Go
The Truman Little White House is located at 111 Front Street, Key West, Florida 33040. Tours are available daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm and run every 15-20 minutes. They last 45 minutes to one hour and cost $21 for adults, $10 for youth ages 5-12, $19 for seniors and free for children under 5 and locals with ID. Tickets are cheaper if purchased in advance online rather than at the house. Get your Harry S. Truman Little White House Admission before you go. No photos are allowed inside the house.
My visit to the Truman Little White House was hosted by the Florida Keys Tourism Council, but all opinions are my own.