BACKSTORY: Built in 1851 by Asa Tift, a marine architect and salvage wrecker, it became Ernest Hemingway's home in 1931. The house still contains the furniture that he and his family used. The cats about the home and grounds are descendants of the cats he kept while he lived in the house, including many extra-toed (polydactyls), like the one Papa Hemingway loved. Bernice Dixon, owner of the Beachcomber Jewelry Store, formerly on Duval St. bought the estate at a silent auction for $80,000. She resided in the home as her private residence until 1964 when she was humble enough to move into the rear guest quarters (book store) and opened the main home (only) as a museum and considered it a memorial to the life and times of Ernest Hemingway. In 1968 Bernice moved to a home in the lower keys and the Hemingway guest quarters then became the Bookstore where it remains today. Bernice passed away in the late 80’s and left the estate to her family and they operate it as the museum that you visit today.