Casa Antigua – Historic Walking Tour
This historic stop is located at 314 Simonton Street between Eaton and Caroline. Originally built as the Trev-Mor Hotel, it was one of Key West’s first hotels. When built it had a Ford dealership on the first floor and the second and third floors were the hotel.
Built in 1919 by Benjamin Trevor and George Morris it was advertised as the Island’s first “fireproof” hotels. It had 13 inch thick walls make from left over bricks from Fort Zach. The bricks dated back to 1845.
The hotel’s second and third floors had 46 rooms and in April 1928 its most famous resident showed up. Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Pauline, arrived in Key West by ocean liner. They were moving back from Paris, where they had lived for a while. The original plan was for them to pick up a wedding gift Pauline’s Uncle Gus had bought them, a brand new Ford Roadster, and drive up the Keys to the Mainland. The Trev-Mor Ford Agency unfortunately, didn’t have it in stock…. yet. So, Mr. Trevor and Mr. Morris offered to put up the Hemingways in the hotel until the car arrived. That was two weeks later.
During this two week period, Hemingway fell in love with Key West and remained at the Trev-Mor Hotel for another two years; until they bought their famous home at 907 Whitehead Street. During his stay at the Hotel, Hemingway was able to see the seaport from the hotel and stroll down to Mallory Square to find boats for deep sea fishing adventures. His nighttime antics at Sloppy Joe’s is legendary. He was able to finish “A Farewell to Arms” while staying at the hotel.
Over the years the hotel changed. It changed ownership several times and in the 1950’s the car dealership was converted into a jazz club. In 1975, the “fireproof” building was gutted by fire. In 1978 the home was converted into a private residence. It was renamed Casa Antigua, which means “old house” in Spanish.
It has been transformed into a very unusual home. It has an open-air three story interior atrium. The atrium is filled with tropical plants that overflow the pool; which was the original cistern.
In some of my research it was noted that Benjamin Trevor was the first Mayor of Key West. He served from 1903 until 1905. He married to Mary Fogerty and opened the first steam laundry in Key West.
(credit: KeyWestHistoricMarkerTour.org, TheKeyWester.com)