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Arts & Culture

New Ownership Changes Future Of Ketchum’s Hemingway Home

Ted S. Warren
In this July 30, 2007, file photo, the house formerly owned by Ernest Hemingway sits in the wooded landscape outside Ketchum, Idaho.

Ernest Hemingway’s historic home in Ketchum has new ownership. The nonprofit and privately funded Community Library in Ketchum now owns Ernest Hemingway’s home along the Big Wood River.



Despite the new acquisition, Executive Director of the Community Library, Jenny Emery Davidson, intends to preserve the historical significance of Hemingway’s house.


“It has many layers of significance, from its connections to Sun Valley history to being an example of mid-century architecture and design, to being tied to a literary legend and iconic figure of the 20th century,” she says.


Hemingway and his wife Mary relocated from Cuba to Ketchum in 1959. Two years later, Hemingway shot himself in the entryway of the house. At the time of her death in 1986, Mary Hemingway left the house to the Nature Conservancy—stipulating that the conservation group maintain it as a Nature Reference Library.


“The Nature Conservancy maintained it very well, but it is outside of their mission, which is a conservation mission, to do historic preservation and interpretation,” Davidson says.


Both Davidson and the Nature Conservancy agreed it would be natural for the Community Library to acquire the house, since it aligns with the library’s mission of promoting history and literature within the community.


“It just became increasingly obvious that Hemingway’s Idaho story is really embedded in the DNA of the Community Library,” Davidson says.


The Community Library plans to move certain artifacts out of the house to preserve and share with the public through the Library and the Sun Valley Museum of History.


The house itself will not be open to the public, but will host a new residency program for writers, scholars and artists beginning in 2018.


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