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Thursday, June 30, 2016

411 Truman Avenue, Key West

San Francisco isn't the only place with Chic Chicks, Painted Ladies that is. Key West has its own Painted Ladies. They hold court nightly under the street lamps on Truman Avenue between Duval Street and Whitehead Street.
Alex Cammerer wrote about the four painted ladies in his book THE HOUSES OF KEY WEST. He said "...they differ only in window and door treatments. Most probably they were built by one of the cigar factories for rental to employees, the most common origin of shotgun houses in Key West. Some shotgun houses in Key West would call this a Classical Revival house, but the lack of classic proportions and the minimal pediment treatment place it in the shotgun camp. This example has been decorated by brackets and door and window surrounds. Since each of the group of four has different detailing, they were probably originally all quite plain and economically built."
June 2016
The listing Realtor describes 411 Truman Avenue (the Pink Lady above) this way"
"Location, location, location! One of the most photographed houses in Key West! This classic Conch cottage has appeared in the NY Times Travel Section and Fodor's travel guides. Located in Old Town on same block as Key West Lighthouse and the Hemingway House, and within walking distance of every great downtown restaurant, shop, gallery and museum. Off-street parking, sunny loft with treetop view, impact windows and central AC. HMDR zoning allows approved in-home business. Unique, charming and totally turnkey. Well cared for. Great neighborhood. Easy to love."
The mls listing shows this 800 square foot house has two bedrooms and one bath. There is an addition on the west side where one of the bedrooms is located. However, if you climb that ladder in the kitchen, you will a second floor air conditioned loft being uses as a third bedroom. That's a great place for your unemployed brother-in-law to stay when he loses his job up north and decides to move-in with you until he "finds" himself. Wait a minute, he'd have really quick access to sneak down at night and eat you out of house and home. All kidding aside, the loft adds a lot of usable living and storage space.
There is a nice private outdoor living area located on the backside of the off street parking. Let me remind readers that there are few homes in Old Town priced under one million dollars with off street parking. This house has most of the things second home buyers have on their must have needs when first starting to search for a house. This home is offered at just $549,000.

I searched the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps to determine the approximate time 411 Truman Avenue was built and found the house known as 411 Division Street first appeared on the 1889 Map. The earlier Sanborn Maps showed the Sideman Lachman Cigar Factory as occupying that spot. The building on the corner was simply identified as "Negro Sales". Division Street later became Truman Avenue.  While trying to find the date Division Street became Truman Avenue I found the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF STEPHEN MORENO WHALTON whereupon I learned that before Division Street got that name, it was previously known as Rocky Road. Mr. Whalton* further wrote:
"Another event in my life that I have never forgotten happened when I was about seven years old, at that time there were a very few houses on the Southeast side of our Truman Avenue, most of that part of the Island was a wilderness, my grandfather and my father raised quite a number of horses in the woods of Key West, and my grandfather gave me a horse and my father had him broken to harness and saddle, this was a stallion, and somewhat mean. The only time that I was put on his back, was on a Sunday morning, when one of my father’s hired men put me on him without a saddle, as soon as he got out of the yard, he started to run, and I was too small to stop him, there was a man coming up the street who stood with his arms open,but when my horse got near this man, he made a quick turn to go by him, and landed me on a flint rock, I recovered from that accident in about six weeks, but I never had a chance to get even with that horse, as my father sold him before I became old enough to handle him. This was the end of the events of my early childhood, which have remained fresh in my memory down through the years, due of course, to the fact, that they made a great impression on my mind at the time of happening."
The above photo was taken of 400 block of Truman Avenue from the Key West lighthouse in the 1920's. 411 Truman is in the bottom left corner. The old Newman Methodist Church sits across the street. The church is still there today and can be seen in the outdoor dining area above. This neighborhood is close to Duval, the Hemingway House, the Southernmost Point, South Beach, Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach, and is withing easy walking distance that brings so many people to our island city. 411 Truman Avenue would make a great home or second home for someone who appreciates life on a smaller scale.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.
 *There are two different streets in Key West named after Stephen Moreno Whalton. I happen to live on one at the corner of Whalton Street and Von Phister Street in the Casa Marina area. The other street is Whalton Lane which is accessed off Duval Street between Truman and Olivia Streets. Mr. Whalton's boyhood home was located there. And that house is located to the north rear of what is now 411 Truman Avenue.

CLICK HERE to read the  "Autobiography of Stephen Moreno Whalton". It's great reading if you love Key West. I promise.

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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.