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Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Ernest Hemingway started his relationship with Florida thanks to John Dos Passos, a friend of Hemingway who encouraged him to visit Key West on his way to Cuba.
After that visit in 1929, Hemingway's second wife received a house on the island as a wedding present.
Built in 1851, the house still conserves its Spanish-Colonial style.
"It sort of reminds you of the homes from New Orleans," said Linda Mendez, event director of the Hemingway Museum. During his days in Key West, the novelist wrote some of his best-known books, including "A Farewell To Arms".
In 1952, Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Old Man and the Sea. Two years later he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for the same book.
The novelist committed suicide on July 2, 1961.
Information Provided by the Hemingway Home & Museum
History of Key West
The island became official U.S. territory in 1821, when Spain sold it to a U.S. businessman for $2,000.
Key West remained part of the Union during the American Civil War, mainly because it was the home of Fort Zachary Taylor, a Naval base.
In recent years, Key West has been the destination of Cubans seeking asylum in the United States. There are only 90 miles between the two islands.
In 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol established checkpoints on U.S. 1 to search for drugs and illegal aliens. To protest the checkpoints, Key West seceded from the United States and created the Conch Republic. The United States never recognized the symbolic secession, but removed the U.S. 1 checkpoints. Conchs still celebrate their mock independence every April 23.