The envious location of this charming southern house is the main reason Audubon House and Tropical Gardens was constructed at this Key West spot over 150 years ago. Discover that back then it didn’t have today’s name and was the home of Captain John Huling Geiger, a harbor pilot and master wrecker. The captain was in a profitable business and wanted citizens to know of his position in society by building this grandiose house in a highly visible area.
The house remained in the family’s possession until 1956, with the last occupant being a recluse. The structure was slated for demolition in 1958 but the Mitchell Wolfson family of Miami purchased it for restoration.
Tour this magnificent building that reconstructs the living conditions of a wealthy historical family in southern Florida. The property’s tropical gardens are meticulously maintained and now are the site of many weddings.
The gardens are also believed to have been where naturalist John James Audubon used specimens of the bird population for some of his famous drawings. At the time he visited there was another house on the site.
Wander through the current house to learn about some of its features. The floors are made from Dade County pine, which is now an extinct species and is almost completely impervious to termites.
Visit the cookhouse, separate from the main building as a fire precaution and modeled after the original that fell into disrepair.
The building’s construction is unique, with the use of mortise and tenon joints. The only part missing from the original is a cupola on top that looked out to sea. Imagine Captain Geiger on the roof scanning the horizon for shipwrecks to claim as his own.
Various investigators have reported that the house has a paranormal presence. Late-night passersby have documented seeing shadowy figures on the porch.
Visit Audubon House and Tropical Gardens any day. The site also has a gallery and gift shop. Children under age 6 have free admission. Look for an online coupon for discounted entrance.