Did you know that the eleven trips of President Harry S. Truman to Key West were recorded in official trip logs? They were often regarded as just souvenirs for family and staff, but a more thorough reading reveals some aspects to the workings of President Truman while in Key West. There are many mentions of both political and military House Staff flying to KW to meet with Truman. However, the finer details of these meetings are currently considered classified information.
Did you know that Harry S. Truman was sworn in as the 33rd President of the United States less than three months of being vice president? On April 12, 1945, Truman became President after the tragic, unexpected death of Roosevelt.
In 1917, World War I was in full swing and Truman joined the army like a million others his age! He served in France, leaving the army as a captain in May of 1919. Very soon after he married Elizabeth “Bess” Wallace! The Truman couple was born!
Did you know that what we call the Harry S. Truman Little White House was originally waterfront when it was built in 1980? It was constructed as a first officer’s quarters on the submarine base naval station. The wooden duplex was made up of Quarters A for the base commandant and Quarters B for the paymaster. However, in 1911, the home was converted into a single-family dwelling.
As President, Harry S. Truman faced some of the most complex issues to ever face any world leader! These international decisions included the decision to drop the atomic bombs in Japan to end WWII, the task of helping to rebuild a bombed out Europe and Japan, and the tedious task of making changes in American foreign policy.
Among international issues created by WWII, Truman also was instrumental in the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council, the recognition of the State of Israel, America’s response to the Cold War, and America’s involvement in the Korean War.
During WWI, Thomas Edison resided in the Little White House while donating his services to the war effort by perfecting 41 weapons during his six-month stay in Key West. General Eisenhower held a series of meetings resulting in the creation of the Department of Defense and later returned to the Little White House to recuperate from a heart attack in 1956. British Prime Minister and John Kennedy held a one day summit at the Little White House in March of 1961; Kennedy later made a second visit in 1962 immediately following the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Like some American parents, Truman’s were unable to afford college for Harry and his eyesight prevented him from attending West Point. Following his high school graduation in 1901, Truman worked many different jobs like farming, oil drilling, and even banking!
Aside from the international issues Truman was handling, domestic issues proved just as challenging with issues of labor unrest, expansion of the GI bill for returning veterans, proposals for national health care, and the declaration of four civil rights executive orders. Issues like these made Truman not particularly popular during his terms in office. However, today, Truman is considered one of the best presidents in American history!
With help from the Key West Garden Club and Fran Ford, local Girl Scouts from the Lower Keys planted a pigeon plum tree at the Truman Little White House in celebration of 100 years of girl scouting in the USA. Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization strives to serve girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girls Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries.The Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida, Inc. is one of 112 councils nationwide chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA to deliver Girl Scout program within specific geographic boundaries. The local council serves more than 20,000 girls and 3,600 adult volunteers in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties and maintains five campsites each offering unique experiences for girls and adults. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (305) 253-4841 or visit www.girlscoutsfl.org.