Built in the late 1800's by Emilio Aymerich, the ground floor of the house was used as a school house for Cuban boys. A historical account "Jose Marti and the emigree colony in Key West" by C. Neale Ronning, places the founding of the "Cuban Convention", a secret revolutionary Cuban Club in the house in December of 1889. The book also notes Jose Marti's visit to the school of Emilio Aymerich at this same address, where he lectured to the students. The house was subsequently established as the original Cuban Club and is listed as the Cuban Club Hotel on the Key West map of 1899. The map also shows a gymnasium attached to the hotel, where monthly Dances took place.
In the early 1900's the property was purchased by a famous Cuban physician, Nilo Conrado Pintado, and On December 23rd 1917 opened its doors as the St. Joseph Hospital. At that time the only hospital in Key West other than the military hospital. Newspaper articles of that date describe the dedication ceremony attended by all the local dignitary of the time, with the hoisting of three Flags during the speeches, the American Flag, the Flag of Cuba, and the hospital flag. The hospital remained affiliated with the Cuban Club, which moved down the street. Membership to the Cuban Club was twenty-five cents per week and included doctors fees, medicine, and a dentist, with an additional twenty-five cents a week for women to cover childbirth.
From 1926 the house enjoyed life as the elegant Ocean View Hotel and Ocean View Apartments. Our sign boasting hot and cold water is a tribute to the original Ocean View Hotel sign. It closed in the late 1940's and reopened in 1952 as the Casa Blanca Boarding House. During Key West's depression era it gradually declined until closure in the late 1980's.
It has since been lovingly renovated and restored by the present owner to become the Key West Florida Bed and Breakfast you see today, while maintaining the old world charm and elegance that is fitting its history, including the addition of a small pool for those warm summer days. Photographs of the house in its earlier life decorate the lobby.
We are continually learning about the homes history, so if you have a story to tell or a family connection we would love for you to share it with us.