Inside Truman Annex: A Presidential Legacy In Key West

April 26, 2023 0 Comments

Truman Annex in Key West is a historic neighborhood that is a must-visit destination for history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and anyone interested in American presidential history. This enclave, located at the island’s western end, was once home to the naval base and submarine station the US Navy used during World War II. Today, it is a residential neighborhood that features some of the most beautiful homes in Key West, including the Little White House, the vacation home of former President Harry S. Truman.

In this article, we will explore the history of the Truman annex in Key West and the legacy of its most famous resident, President Truman. We will also take a closer look at some of the key features of this unique neighborhood, including its architecture, landmarks, and attractions.

History Of The Truman Annex

Truman Annex was established in 1947 as a naval base and submarine station. The base was named after President Harry S. Truman, who had been instrumental in ending World War II by ordering the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The US Navy used the base for several decades until it was closed in the 1970s. The land was then sold to the city of Key West, which developed it into a residential neighborhood.

Today, Truman Annex is home to some of the most beautiful and historic homes in Key West. The neighborhood is known for its distinctive architecture, which blends Caribbean and Victorian styles. Many homes were built in the early 1900s and have been restored to their original grandeur.

Presidential Legacy

One of the most famous residents of the Truman Annex was President Harry S. Truman. Truman visited Key West for the first time in 1946, shortly after the end of World War II. He was looking for a place to escape the pressures of Washington, DC, and found that Key West provided the perfect retreat.

Truman fell in love with the island and frequently visited during his presidency. He stayed at the Little White House, a modest, one-story cottage built in 1890 as the quarters for the naval base’s commandant. The cottage had been converted into a vacation home for the President, who spent 175 days there during his presidency.

During his visits, Truman would work on important presidential business, including the Marshall Plan and the creation of the United Nations. He also enjoyed fishing, swimming, and playing poker with his friends. Truman’s visits helped put Key West on the map as a vacation destination and helped boost the local economy.


Truman Annex is known for its distinctive architecture, which blends Caribbean and Victorian styles. Many of the homes in the neighborhood were built in the early 1900s and have been restored to their original grandeur.

The most famous home in the Truman Annex is the Little White House, where President Truman stayed during his visits to Key West. The cottage features a simple, one-story design with a wraparound porch and large windows that provide plenty of natural light. The interior is decorated in a simple, rustic style, with wooden floors, exposed beams, and vintage furnishings.

Other notable homes in Truman Annex include the Shipyard Condominiums, built in the 1990s and featuring a blend of Victorian and Caribbean styles. The condominiums are located in the former naval shipyard and offer stunning views of the water and the sunset.


Truman Annex is home to several attractions that are worth visiting. One of the most popular attractions is the Little White House, which has been restored to its original condition and is now a museum showcasing President Truman’s life and times. The museum features exhibits on Truman’s presidency, his visits to Key West, and the history of the naval base.

Another popular attraction in Truman Annex is Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, located at the neighborhood’s southern end. The park features a historic fort that dates back to the mid-1800s, as well as beautiful beaches, nature trails, and picnic areas. The fort is open for guided tours, and visitors can explore the underground tunnels and artillery rooms used during the Civil War.

Truman Annex is also home to the Key West Lighthouse Museum, a restored lighthouse from 1847. The museum features exhibits on the history of the lighthouse, as well as the maritime history of Key West. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and the surrounding waters.

Finally, Truman Annex has several excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars, including Blue Heaven, a popular spot for breakfast and brunch, and the Green Parrot. This legendary dive bar has been a fixture in Key West since the 19th century.