A Brief History of the Little White House

January 29th, 2018

In 1890, what is now the Little White House, Quarters A and B were built for the Navy Commandant and Paymaster.

Quarters A and B was a two-family residence that was used by the Navy until 1911 when the house was turned into a single-family dwelling that would soon be used by President Truman.

This house served many purposes: in 1912 President Taft made a stop to the Little White House on his way to inspect the progress of the Panama Canal. From 1912-1915, Scientist Edward Hayden stayed here while conducting Hurricane research. In 1918 Thomas Edison lived in the house for 6 months while inventing new weapons for the war efforts. In 1948, Joint Chiefs of Staff met here and merged the Departments of War and the Navy creating the Key West Accord. The Little White House was Command Headquarters during the Spanish-American War. During World War II, the Naval Base of the Little White House was used in protecting allied ships in the Florida Straits (several German U-boats sank during combat off of Key West). During the Cold War the Little White House was the headquarters for the East Coast Anti-Submarine Warfare School.

President Truman’s first visit to the Little White House was in 1946. He spent a total of 11 working vacations in Key West during his presidency, and returned 5 more times after his presidency.

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is the only Presidential Museum in the State of Florida and is in the process of being fully restored to it’s original 1949 furnishings.

For a more detailed history of the House and Truman’s time spent here, you can take a tour of the premises Every day from 9 AM – 5 PM.

Post World War II Presidency

March 14th, 2016

Truman became convinced that Stalin meant to extend Communist influence throughout Europe. By early 1947, the president had a new foreign policy in the making. In its later stages it was called “Containment” and was aimed at blocking Communist expansion anywhere in the world. Under Truman, the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were the major manifestations of containment and committed the United States to a role of world leadership it had never before been willing to assume. The war years had brought America out of its isolationism. Read the rest of this entry »

A Florida Heritage Landmark

February 29th, 2016

Built in 1890 as quarters for Navy officers, the Little White House later was used by American Presidents William Howard Taft, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Truman used the facility as a vacation home and functioning White House between 1946 and 1952. National Legislation was drafted and official government business was conducted daily from the site. Perhaps the most important of these actions occurred on December 5, 1951, when Truman enacted a Civil Rights Executive Order requiring federal contractors to hire minorities. The house is considered the birthplace of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force as a result of the Key West Accords of 1948. President Eisenhower used the siteĀ  in 1956 while recuperating form a heart attack. In 1961, the house was the venue for a summit between President Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan during the Bay of Pigs incident. Kennedy returned in 1962 after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and foreign leaders held an international summit here in 2001. The Little White House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Our 33rd President

February 22nd, 2016

Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8, 1884. He was the son of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen (Young) Truman, and had a brother, Vivian, and sister, Mary Jane. In 1887, the Truman’s moved to a farm near Grandview, in 1890, to Independence, and finally, in 1902, to Kansas City. Harry attended public schools in Independence, graduating from high school in 1901. After leaving school, he worked briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks. In 1906 he returned to Grandview to help his father run the family farm. He continued working as a farmer for more than ten years. Read the rest of this entry »

The 2015 White House Christmas Ornament Honors Calvin Coolidge

November 30th, 2015

Each year the White House presents an ornament honoring a president or event in our country’s history. This year Mr. Calvin Coolidge is being honored. Read the rest of this entry »

The Daily Schedule

October 26th, 2015

Harry Truman was an early morning riser, up at 7:30 am, some two hours later than his Washington routine. On the advice of his physician, President Truman started his morning with a shot of bourbon, followed by a large glass of orange juice. Read the rest of this entry »

Presidential Seal and Flag

September 28th, 2015

President Truman was the first President to establish by Executive Order a legal definition of the President’s Coat of Arms and Seal. Up to 1945 there was a no known basis in law for the coat of arms which had been used by Presidents since 1880 and which were reproduced on the flag. The seal had been originated during the Rutherford B. Hayes administration and was an erroneous rendering of the Great Seal of the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

The Key West Uniform

September 21st, 2015

“Loud shirts” as we call them soon became Truman’s Key West uniform by his fifth vacation to Key West. At first, Harry Truman would still dress in slacks and dress shirts- even when fishing. He soon caught up with the locals and found how much more comfortable it is to wear light weight sport shirts. Read the rest of this entry »

Truman’s “Ten Year Plan”

February 25th, 2014

Did you know that Harry Truman served as a presiding judge in the 1920s? Using his profession as judge, he aided in creating the “Ten Year Plan,” which coordinated public works projects for the Jackson County and Kansas City skyscrapers, roadways, court buildings, and monuments that served as tributes to America’s pioneer women. Read the rest of this entry »

Harry Truman and George Patton?

February 15th, 2014

In 1918, Truman gave General George S. Patton’s tank brigade military support during the conflicts in the Meuse-Argonne Allied offense. In fact, Patton and Truman’s forces fired some of the last shots in WWI towards German forces just before the armistice took place in November. Specifically, under Truman’s leadership, his battery never lost a single man! Incredible! Read the rest of this entry »