Little White House

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Apparently a strong-willed spectral house manager hasn’t retired just yet.

Other spirits of various ranks still have business to do.



Though six United States Presidents (Taft, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, & Clinton) have used this structure for a variety of purposes, it was President Harry Truman who fell in love with this place, and used it as his Winter White House and vacation spot, giving it the name, “THE LITTLE WHITE HOUSE.” The structure was renovated into a vacation home for President Truman. When the structure was turned into a museum, it was named, Truman’s Little White House State of Florida Presidential Museum.

In the middle of lovely gardens and fountains, the visitor finds this large, rectangular white clapboard structure that both accommodated Naval Officers and staff, 6 first families/Presidents, their guests, as well as had space for important meetings and office headquarters for working vacations and crisis situations, that pop up from time to time.

Truman’s Little White House Presidential Museum is considered to be a living museum, “not frozen to a single historic event”, and is still used for government functions, when the need arises. On display, one can see items from its interesting history and also get a peek at the living quarters and other rooms on the guided tour. Some think the price is a bit high, but the money goes to a great cause; support of the museum.

Truman’s Little White House generates its own revenue by offering various symposiums, seminars on various topics of interest, as they are responsible to raise the money needed to keep the museum and structure operational and in great shape, never to deteriorate again.

Private events, hosted by individuals and groups also take place in Truman’s Little White House Presidential Museum. Weddings and Receptions make good use of the gardens, the inside dining areas, such as the dining room, the south porch and the living room.


The need for a naval station became very much evident to the American government in the 1870s, when Spain and Cuba were in conflict. The Key West Naval Station was built to look after the United States interests in Cuba, becoming very important as a source of income for the local population of Key West as well.

The original structure was built in 1890, to house Naval Officers. It was a duplex, shared by the Naval Commandant and the Paymaster at one point, until 1911, when it was remodeled into a single home for the Commandant alone, with guest rooms, and offices/meeting spaces as well. When The U.S. Maine was sunk off the Florida coast in 1898, this small Key West Naval Base became of national importance and grew tremendously, becoming the headquarters of the Seventh Naval District. One of the first submarine stations was established at this base, as well as a Naval Air Station, as the weather was perfect for the training of Naval pilots.

During the War of 1918, Edison spent 6 months here at the Naval Commandant’s House while he set up/perfected 41 weapons for the U.S. war effort.

During World War 2, because German U Boats were sinking cargo and military ships in the Gulf Stream, off Key West, and around the coasts of Florida, a Fleet Sonar School, an Underwater Weapons Development Center, and an Underwater Swimmer’s School; (Scuba) was established on the Key West Naval Base.

During the “Cold War” of the 1950s-early 1970s, the Key West Naval Base was an active part of our defense, especially the anti-submarine units. The old Commandant’s House, now known as The Little White House, was used a lot by the government and sometimes by U.S presidents. Needless to say, many people were trained at this Key West Naval Base.

During the Bay of Pigs incident and the Missile Crisis in the 1960s, when Cuba had missiles from Russia aimed at our cities, the Key West Naval Base was front and center to these conflicts, a hub of activity.

However, in 1974, when nuclear submarines came into the picture as a vital defense tool, things drastically changed, as they were too big to dock at the existing Naval Submarine Station in Key West. The Key West Naval Base was disestablished and moved, leaving Truman’s Little White House abandoned for 12 years. Uh oh!

In a tropical weather environment, the dormant Truman’s Little White House didn’t fare very well. Luckily, the living wised up and decided to turn Key West into a spot for vacationers and tourists, and Truman’s Little White House was rescued from its fixer upper opportunity status by a private foundation that raised 1.7 million dollars for its 1949 restoration, in 1986. The structure was given to the state of Florida, to be the state’s Presidential Museum, and was rededicated in 1991.



People who were dedicated to their jobs, serving others while alive, often choose to continue to do so, in their after-life.

Many people served and worked in this structure over the years of its existence.

When a building is restored, it can draw entities back into this world, who loved the place while alive.

When people who have the responsibility to take care of a structure, and fail, the now fixer-upper opportunity building can act as an environmental trigger, that draws entities who loved the place while alive, back into this world. Some of these entities don’t trust the living to take care of things, even when it has been restored.

Perhaps, some entities are trying to continue on with protecting the building, perceiving that the living may need their help to meet the high standards of these protective entities.

As the Little White House is Florida’s presidential museum, perhaps some spirits have attached themselves to some of the mementos, or exhibits now seen on display in the museum itself.




Staff and security caretakers have reported seeing dark shadow people moving around the house, going about their business.

Possible candidates for the hauntings/visitations

Former residents: Naval Officers, guests, and vacationers who stayed here at one time.

Entity of a former maid /house manager – Keeping a close eye on the living, making sure that things are up to snuff! She probably put up with no nonsense while she was in charge, and the living need her help to supervise these staff members!

Staff have probably felt a strong unseen presence looking over their shoulder as they performed their duties, which can be unnerving, possibly causing some folks to quit.


Probably so. Many personal experiences have been reported, scaring some employees enough to quit. Some of the activity may be residual in nature, though shadow people are usually active, intelligent spirits. The female entity that was identified by the psychic investigations allowed must have been a strong personality when alive, and continues to be so, keeping a close eye on the living, perhaps trying to supervise the staff members.

No published paranormal investigations of Truman’s Little White House have been made available to the public.

No hard evidence can be found on-line.

However, it seems that psychics/mediums have conducted investigations and identified one of the entities as being a dedicated maid, who loved the place while she worked here and was angry that for a time the structure was allowed to deteriorate, and doesn’t quite trust the living to continue to take care of this structure. It sounds to me that she more likely was the house manager, who took care of a host of duties.


111 Front Street
Key West, Florida 33040

Truman’s Little White House, Florida’s Presidential Museum, can be found in the Truman Annex, a residential community that was built on the old Naval base land in 1988, and is located on Stock Island. The Truman Annex is west of Whitehead Street, with the exception of Bahama Village. Front Street connects most of the other attractions in the Annex, including Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage and Audubon House And Tropical Gardens.

Truman’s Little White House is right across from Tank Island, and south of the State Park and Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage.



  • Haunted Places: The National Directory
    by Dennis William Hauck
    Penguin Books
  • The Harry S. Truman Little White House Wikipedia page

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Florida