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.
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.
In 1974, the advancement of certain technology closed the Key West Submarine Base, which put the Little White House through a twelve-year period of disuse. In January of 1987, the title to this presidential museum was transferred to the state of Florida for permanent protection. Since 1988, more than two million dollars have been privately raised and donated for the restoration and preservation of the Little White House.
Americans love fishing… in salt water, in fresh water. And American presidents are no exception to this pastime. Looking for more exotic fishing, presidents like Hoover and Carter traveled to the Florida Keys to get their fishing fix. Hoover visited Key Largo, soaking up some rays while casting his bait into the sea. Key Largo, received another presidential visit when Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought a respite in Tavernier from the hustle and bustle of Washington. One of the most famous visitors of Key West was Harry S. Truman. While he wasn’t the biggest fisherman, his wife, Bess, certainly was. Harry would bait her hook and sit back to read a book while his wife would pull in tropical fish. They greatly enjoyed their visit to the Dry Tortugas as well (no doubt, Bess did some major fishing there too!). Even the strict, military man “Ike” Eisenhower had some time to visit Key West to cast his line a couple of times into it’s beautiful waters. Marathon had its presidential visit when Jimmy Carter and his family visited the Hawk’s Cay Resort to interact with dolphins. George HW Bush traveled to Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada several times before and after his term in office to experience tropical fishing. Learn more about presidential fishing trips in the Keys at the Harry S. Truman Little White House!
It’s June, and that means Local’s Month at the Harry S. Truman Little White House and means free admission to all of the residents of Monroe County, FL. We have Locals Day every year in June to let the folks of Key West and the Florida Keys know how much we appreciate them all year long for their support and their recommendations to their family and visitors. In addition the the Little White House, our partners at the Conch Tour Train, Old Town Trolley, Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum, and the Key West Aquarium are all participating in Local’s Month with free admission to Monroe Country residents. All we ask is that you bring proof of residency.
See you at Florida’s only presidential museum!