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Truman's Little White House

CIRCA 1890

Historic Marker number 59 is located at 111 Front Street in Truman Annex.Built in 1890 on the waterfront as a two-family dwelling for the base commandant and paymaster, this building was known as Quarters A and B. It was converted into a single-family residence in 1911. It had a few famous early visitors in President William Howard Taft who visited in 1912 and Thomas Edison, who stayed for six months during World War I. However, it was President Harry S. Truman's visits the spurred the moniker "Little White House."During his administration (1946-1953) President Truman spent eleven working vacations (a total of 175 days) at the Little White House. A number of significant discussions occurred here including: the merging of the Department of War and Department of the Navy to create the Department of Defense; the Marshal Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II; the development of the Truman Doctrine which sought to reduce the spread of communism; and the recognition of the State of Israel. While here, he wrote his fourth Civil Rights Executive order requiring federal contractors to hire minorities and drafted a letter that called for a cease fire in Korea.President Truman made five post-presidential visits to Key West between 1957 and 1969, each time visiting the Little White House, but staying in a private residence in town.Presidents after Truman used the Little White House as well. President Dwight Eisenhower used the house for meetings in 1955 while he recovered from a heart attack, President John F. Kennedy used the site for a summit meeting with British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan in March 1961, Former President Jimmy Carter visited in 1996, and Former President Bill Clinton used the house as a weekend retreat in 2005. In total seven Presidents have used the Little White House for personal relaxation and as a presidential retreat.The house and grounds are a museum and are open to the public daily.