Finca Vigia Museum or Ernest Hemingway´s House

The Finca Vigia Museum
The Finca Vigia Museum

At Finca Vigia Museum, in Havana, lived most of his life the Nobel Prize for Literature Ernest Hemingway

The Finca Vigia Museum is located on a hill where was located a lookout of the Spanish army (hence its name Watch Farm) until nineteenth century had advanced a lot. In 1887 it became private property and home of Miguel Pascual Baguer, master builder and architect. In this area he built a spacious and airy family home, where he lived until 1903. Shortly after the French, Joseph D’Orn Duchamp bought it in order to rent it as a place of recreation.
In 1939 Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway’s third wife, found Finca Vigia in a Havana newspaper classified ads and convinced her husband to leave the Hotel Ambos Mundos, where they were staying. On December 28, 1940 Hemingway bought Finca Vigia for the price of 18 thousand 500 pesos. But it was his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, who dealt with the condition of the house and made it more comfortable with furniture designed by her neighbors and built by carpenters of San Francisco de Paula.
Finca Vigia was the most stable residence of Ernest Hemingway. He lived there until 1960, when he traveled to Spain to attend bullfights. Feeling very sick went to the United States where he was hospitalized and on July 2, 1961he committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho.

Finca Vigia Museum was donated by Ernest Hemingway for the cultural enjoyment of the Cuban people

Hemingway spent at Finca Vigia almost half of his working years as a writer and was where he wrote his greatest works: he ended For Whom the Bell Tolls and wrote Across the River and Into the Trees, The Old Man and the Sea, A Moveable Feast and Islands in the Gulf, and many newspaper articles. Residing there he was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, which he dedicated and gave the Cuban people.
A few weeks after Hemingway’s death, his widow, Mary Welsh, arranged, fulfilling the last wish of her husband, the transfer to the Cuban government of Finca Vigia and personal belongings of the writer. On August 1961 he returned to Finca Vigia and in his meeting with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, donated the property to the cultural enjoyment of the Cuban people. It turned into a museum on July 21st, 1962, it is the first institution created in the world to spread the life and work of the Nobel Prize for Literature of 1954.

The Main Room of the Finca Vigia Museum House

On its walls hang, as in writer’s life, the paintings with bullfighting scenes carried out by the Spanish painter Roberto Domingo. Among the most attractive pieces are preserved Hemingway’s favorite armchair next to a small bar; furniture with its collection of more than 900 discs and a phonograph equipment that still works. Several hunting trophies, most hunted by Hemingway, adorn the walls of the house.

Parts of the Finca Vigia Museum House

The Library
The library was originally the guest room, but due to the accumulation of books, Mary Welsh designed the furniture and made it a library. There all important papers were of Finca Vigia were kept.
The Dining Room
In the cabinets a collection of jars of different restaurants that Hemingway was a regular, dishes, glasses and Venetian ornaments and crockery and glassware with the emblem of Finca Vigia are preserved.
The Studio
Ernest Hemingway did not use this place for the function it had, in fact the big desk served to accumulate objects that make it virtually a small museum about his travels around the world.
The Guests’ Room
The room was refurbished for guests by Mary Welsh, but previously worked as a shelter for cats.
Mary Welsh Room
It was actually the master bedroom, but the books and other objects mostly belonged to Mrs. Hemingway.
The Workroom
In this room, usually in the early morning, Ernest Hemingway wrote. During this time there must be total silence at Finca Vigia. He used to work directly on his typewriter or using a graphite pencil. Hemingway worked standing in shorts, shirtless, often barefoot on the skin of a hunted Kudu in 1953.
The Bath
In the bathroom, Hemingway kept a well-stocked bookcase and magazine publications with topics of interest. Also he used to measure their weight daily, a figure scoring in one of the walls.
The Tower
The tower is an additional building in 1947, by Mary Walsh idea, on the left side of the back of the house. It has three floors and its height is 12 meters. The first floor belonged to the more than fifty cats that lived on the farm. The second floor was used as a warehouse where travel trunks, fishing and hunting instruments, among other objects. Mary Welsh thought of the third floor as a workplace for her husband, but Hemingway did not write there. He used it preferably to review the evidence of galleys of his books or other matters that were not literary creation.
The Bungalow
Site designed primarily to their children when they came to visit Finca Vigia.

Yacht and Pool of the Finca Vigia Museum

Pool: Ernest Hemingway used it to swim half a when finished working.
Pilar Yacht: El Pilar became one of his favorite sites. Strait bow and spacious stern, it was built with American black oak. It reached a speed of 8 knots and had gasoline engines.

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