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Captain George Carey House

CIRCA 1834

Historic Marker number One is located at 410 Caroline Street between Duval and Whitehead Streets in the Historic District. This house was built in 1834 by Captain George Carey, a wealthy Englishman who ran a seaport bar and wholesale liquor business. The original house, which is likely the second oldest structure in Key West, was quite small, consisting of two rooms and a separate cookhouse at the rear of the property. In 1844, Captain Carey enlarged the house to its current size for his bride, a German woman who, along with her four sisters, was rescued from a shipwreck off the coast of the island. Carey's bride and her sisters all married men from Key West and the shipwreck has come to be known as the "Wreck of the German Brides. " Over the years, the house changed hands a number of times. In 1934 it was purchased and restored by Jesse Porter, a fifth-generation Key Wester. Miss Jesse, as she was known to her friends, was instrumental in saving many historic structures of Key West and in creating our historic district. She lived in the house from 1934 until her death in 1979. Her home became the gathering place for many of Key West's famous visitors and residents including Gloria Swanson, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Ernest and Pauline Hemingway, John Dos Passos and Wallace Stevens. The small single story cottage located to the right of the house opening onto the backyard, is named for the poet Robert Frost who spent sixteen winters there as a guest of Miss Jesse. The Oldest House in Key West is located around the corner at 322 Duval Street.