A BEGUILING HISTORY…..THE SOUTHERNMOST HOUSE

Big trees from little acorns grow.

The story of Key West. A tiny island 4 x 2.5 miles. A huge history. Whatever the eye can see, a story anxious to be told.

The Southernmost House. 1400 Duval Street. The corner of Duval and South Streets.  An historic mansion sitting on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Southernmost was built in 1897 by Judge Jeptha Vining Harris. The cost $250,000. An extremely huge sum in those days.

The Judge’s wife was Florida Curry. Florida was the youngest daughter of William Curry, Florida’s first millionaire.

A three story structure. Queen Anne Victorian in design. Open water views. Public rooms, two story balconies, and large glass stained windows to catch the ocean breezes.

Elegant.

The new Curry home had one oddity. Only one bedroom.

Electricity was a novelty at the time. Florida retained the services of Thomas Edison to oversee the design and installation of an electrical system.

Socialization and entertainment on a humongous scale took place during the years the Judge and Florida resided in the House.

Soon came the prohibition years 1919-33. An air conditioning system was installed. Air conditioning as new as electricity was when installed.

The use of the mansion changed. It became a speakeasy. The first floor was turned into a restaurant. The second was utilized for casino gambling. The third for “socializing.”

The Southernmost was visited during the prohibition years by celebrities and gamblers. The House was a stop over on the way to Havana.

The 1940’s found the House being turned into a night club. The Cafe Cayo Hueso. A gathering place for the rich and famous. Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Tallulah Bankhead, Louis Armstrong, and Charles Lindberg.

The Southernmost was completely renovated in 1949 for use once again as a private residence. Many dignitaries visited. Spain’s King Juan Carlos, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.

Today, the Southernmost House has acquired a new dignity and elegance. One bedroom when constructed in 1897. Now a class 18 room bed and breakfast.

Spent yesterday afternoon at Hot Dog Church with Donna, Terri and friends. A weekly lesbian gathering. Good food and company. A few males are welcome. I am one of them.

The event is held at Aqua’s Back Bar. Lauri in charge.

Later in the evening, I enjoyed a light dinner with Donna and Terri at their home.

Bear is getting big. Only 18 weeks old. Looks full grown already. Well trained. I am still his buddy. He lay next to me with his leg on mine.

Terri singing tonight! She is the featured performer at Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. The place will be packed with those wanting to hear Terri sing.

I am doing the blog late this morning. I had to be at the hospital early this morning for a barium swallow test. Suspect I will be in Miami in June for surgery.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

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