Old Island Restoration Foundation Home Tour

February 16th & 17th, 2018, 10am – 4pm.

Washington Never Slept Here – Key West homes have more interesting tales to tell.

Our island – and the rest of Florida – did not become part of the United States until the administration of James Monroe, for whom our County is named.  But lack of early Presidential visits did no diminish the strategic importance of our port, for both military and trade purposes, which brought growth to this island outpost.  Little exists from the earliest decades, but OIRF is pleased to be able to open five private homesteads spanning 140 years to enthrall you with their stories of survival, renewal … and, yes, style!

 The tour is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17, from 10am to 4pm.  Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 on tour days.  Homes may be seen in any order and viewings may be split over two evenings.

For credit card purchase, buy tickets online at www.oirf.org or call 305-294-9501.  Tickets are also available for purchase at the Oldest House (322 Duval Street).  During tour hours, tickets will be sold at the featured houses – cash or check, please.

Featured Homes


Harry Truman did sleep nearby in “Truman Annex”.  This home, designed in the grand tradition and worthy of an Executive visit, dates just from 1990. It was inspired by historic structures that still stand in the enclave.   If conditions permit – and you dare – climb to the “widow’s walk” for a spectacular view.


Close to the fort named for Zachary Taylor, basic Conch cottages sprang up in the 1870’s.  This one has been totally modernized inside and expanded onto an adjacent vacant lot where a long-gone laborer’s cabin once stood.  Sunshine is the major design element used by those newcomers from up North.


Expansion to serve the housing needs brought by WWII was the second home renovation on this site.  The first changed a tiny cabin to a cigar maker cottage. The third iteration served the needs of a social activist, orchidist and long-time collector of local art.  Don’t miss the party-sized gallery, pool and garden… a taste of KW c. 1990.


Various small cabins near the cemetery sheltered laborers post- Civil War on this lot and along a lane that has disappeared.  Remnants of earlier homes of uncertain vintage on this site and a cistern have been rearranged and subsumed into this modern reinterpretation – with a Scandinavian accent.


Post-WWII housing boom in the Eisenhower era planted concrete-block “ramblers” where orchards had stood. Those basic “starter homes” grew and changed with the times.  This one’s aesthetic honors its mid-century origin while being totally contemporary.

Mark your calendar for these OIRF Events:

March House Tour:  Friday, 16th & Saturday, 17th 10am-4pm.

This 58th season is dedicated to the memory of Joan Cornell.  Joan and her husband “Woody” were invaluable organizers of the Home Tours and supporters of OIRF for many years.

Also:  Saturday, March 3rd at Noon:  Conch Shell Blowing Contest

OIRF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of architectural treasures in the City of Key West and the celebration, honor, and recognition of the historical achievements of the Island.  Funds raised from the tours will be used to maintain the Oldest House, for the Foundation’s grants program, scholarships and other endeavors furthering our preservation goals.

OIRF welcomes new volunteer docents and nomination of houses for our annual events.  Visit www.oirf.org to volunteer or for more information.

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