Located at 610 Southard Street, the Benjamin Curry House is one of the few historic homes, still owned by the original family. This home was built by Benjamin Curry, Jr. the brother of Florida’s first millionaire, William Curry. He purchased an acre of land in 1855 to build the home. The home still has the original doors, floors, windows and framework from when it was originally constructed. In the backyard, you can still find the original cistern and a the double door, four seat outhouse.
Like many homes in Key West, it began as a simple one room cottage. As the Curry’s finances improved and the family grew, so did the house. They built the two story structure with a deep front porch facing the street. The one room cottage is now connected to the main house by a covered porch.
His grandson, Benjamin Curry Moreno was a city engineer and responsible for developing Key West’s modern roads and sidewalks.
Benjamin Curry Moreno’s daughter, Betty, married Toby Bruce. Toby was brought to Key West by Ernest Hemingway. Toby was often referred to as Hemingway’s “man Friday”. He and Betty were his friends and even helped him purchase his home in Cuba. Toby served as a pall bearer at Hemingway’s funeral.
Toby grew up in the same town as Hemingway’s wife, Pauline. Hemingway recruited Toby to come to Key West to help remodel his home. He not only built the brick wall around the home, but put in the first pool in Key West on the Hemingway property.
Toby was a man of many talents. He designed and drew the dust cover for For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Betty had a history with Hemingway as well. She had met him years before when he rented a house across the street from this family home. As a child she had played with Hemingway’s oldest son, Jack.
After 150 years, this home still remains in the family and is not available for public viewing, but is simply beautiful to walk by and admire.
(credit: KeyWestHistoricMarkerTour.org and “Hemingway’s Key West” by Stuart B. McIver)