Historic Hotels of America program has now got two newest members. Two hotels in Key West are the latest additions. These hotels are renowned for their heritage, beautiful architecture and famous celebrities as guests. The hotels have now become a part of national preservation group, which primarily came into being for celebrating historic lodging establishments. These hotels include The Southernmost House and La Concha Hotel.
The Southernmost House was constructed in 1896. The property was a private residence of a local judge. The La Concha Hotel was built in 1926. It was the first luxury hotel to come up in Key West Island. The Historic Hotels of America program, under which these two hotels have joined recently, functions as an arm of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Historic Hotels of America program initially started in 1989. There were 32 charter hotels which first became the members. Presently, around 260 properties have been designated as Historic Hotels of America. These properties are spread across the United States and Puerto Rico. The hotels are required to be at least 50 years old to become eligible for this distinction. Moreover, the hotels should either be on the list or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The hotels should also have been recognized as being of historical significance. Both the hotels in Key West were eligible and thus included as members of the Historic Hotels of America program.
The Southernmost House was constructed in the late 1800s for an estimated cost of $250,000. It was built as a private residence of Judge Vining Harris. Later on, it functioned as a Cuban nightclub and also an illegal speakeasy during Prohibition. Once again this scenic pink and peach property became a private residence of Matilde Ramos and her brother Hilario “Charlie” Ramos, from 1949 till 1996. The 18-room boutique hotel situated at 1400 Duval St. has now become a proud member of the program. The hotel has so far hosted five presidents of the United States, and also internationally acclaimed, Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway, who was a frequent guest at The Southernmost House.
Even, La Concha Hotel, situated at the corner of Fleming and Duval streets, boasts of the Hemingway legacy and is therefore of immense historical significance. Ernest Hemingway had stayed for long in one of the guest rooms of the hotel, and it was here he started writing his novel “To Have and Have Not”, which was set in Key West during The Great Depression.