Ernest Hemingway in Sun Valley

Posted on July 27, 2016 by Martin Oaks under Community
2 Comments

The last home of Ernest Hemingway is located in Ketchum, Idaho, a small town in Sun Valley. The house was built in 1951 and the Hemingway’s purchased it in 1959: even though it appears to be made of wood, the home is actually cinder block. The cinder block feature particularity appealed to Hemingway, as he maintained a lot of papers and wanted them kept in a dry atmosphere. The style of the home is very similar to the style of the Sun Valley Lodge. Very unfortunately, he died by his own hand in the foyer of this home at approximately 7:30 am on July 2, 1961. He was 61 years old.

ernest miller hemingway

I first saw the house in the summer of 1970, while Mary Hemingway was still alive: it is simply an idyllic setting, very close to the Big Wood River.

When Mary passed away she gave the house (and all 18 acres of property) to The Nature Conservancy Idaho Chapter. The Nature Conservancy has done an outstanding job of maintaining the home. Throughout the years there have been movements to open the home to the public (the Hemingway houses in Key West, Florida and in Oak Park, Illinois are open to the public).

Ernest Hemingway residency

By a stroke of pure luck, my family and I were able to tour this home several years ago. While the furniture is dated, it was a remarkably warm and welcoming place. Of special interest was the spot in which Hemingway wrote: it was on a stand in the guest bedroom on the second floor with a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. I would like to give a strong shout out of support to the Nature Conservancy for the work they do in general, but especially their maintenance of the Hemingway house.

Also pictured is Ernest Hemingway’s grave in the Sun Valley cemetery: you will note people have placed pennies on the marker.

2 Responses to Ernest Hemingway in Sun Valley

  1. Avatar Mary mikesell says:

    You are a writer Pete..always have been..keep doing it..I love this piece

  2. Avatar caren w says:

    Pete and I have reminded each other of being in Sun Valley on two, very different, memorable occasions…one summer we just happened to be visiting on the remembrance of what would have been hemingway’s 100th birthday. The town’s library was filled with friends sharing personal stories and treasured memories of this the life of Ernest hemingway. It was quite a tribute.
    On another visit, we witnessed the critical work of firefighters coming from across the area to fight a threatening fire just over the ridge. Watching these heroes was awe-inspiring and I will never forget their bravery.

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