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Saturday, August 23, 2014

616 Eaton Street - A Key West Landmark - SOLD

616 Eaton Street in Old Town Key West may be the most photographed house in town. It sits far back on the lot behind a relic of a rusty iron fence on Eaton Street, a main thoroughfare where Conch Trains, Trolley Cars, taxicabs, bikes, scooters, and pedestrians pass every day. The house looks like it hasn't been painted in decades and sometimes looks like it might even be haunted.
The United Methodist Church (also known as the Old Stone Church) sits to the west. The gracious mansion at 620 Eaton Street sits to the east. Tourists from around the world and locals pass by this old house daily. I doubt there's a person who has said something like "someday somebody is going to buy that old place and fix it up".  That's exactly what happened this week when Frank Kirwin of Preferred Properties Key West sold 616 Eaton Street for $1,850,000 - cash.  Frank reports the new owner is going to restore the old girl and add onto the property at the rear.
I got to show this property several times over the past few years. Frank Kirwin sold the same property a in 2012 to the owner of neighboring property who sliced off part of the rear lot to add onto the other property. A small cottage was added to that parcel. The remaining lot, while a bit smaller, is still huge by Key West standards - 19,018 sq ft.  The irregular shaped lot runs about 267 ft to the south and jots about 86 ft to the west behind the rear of the Old Stone Church. The lot is enormous. And that is part of the attraction of this property. There is nothing else like it.
I first showed showed this house was several years ago when a former owner had a for sale by owner sign post out front. Back then that owner wanted $5.5 million.  The price eventually came down. It sold for much less, $1,700,000, in 2012.  I remember the first time I walked inside the house. I was expecting a mansion. Instead, I entered a Plain Jane room with a sofa sitting in the middle of the room facing an old color television which was turned on. As I recall there was a bare light bulb fixture hanging from the ceiling that illuminated the room. The room at the very front (viewed in the black and white photo above) was a spartan bedroom. The kitchen was at the rear. A bank of 80 windows offered views of the enormous back yard obscured by years of grime.
A child's old playhouse can be seen it the photo above. There is room for a real house, a pool, and maybe a tennis court on this huge lot. Who knows what will be built here. In the meantime, please look at photos I have collected off the internet and some that I took that show how this old house looks before it gets restored. Let's remember the past as we look forward to the future.

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.