Audubon House and Gardens

The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens of Key West are a beautiful home and garden to see and visit in Key West. The house is furnished with antiques that were purchased from estate sales in Europe to give that classic home feel to it. The reason it is called the Audubon House is that the home has 28 first editions of famous John Hames Audubon.

John James Audubon is a well-known ornithologist, most notably known for his works of drawings of birds. He first came to the Keys and the Dry Tortugas for a visit in 1832, and created 18 new drawings and sighted of new birds for his better known, “Birds of America”. Although it is not certain, we believe that many of those 18 drawings were produced in the garden of the Audubon house.

In 1958, Key West came very close to losing the Audubon House, but was saved by the nonprofit institution, the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation. The Audubon House was the first of many restoration projects to keep that ultimate Key West feel.

The home officially became the Audubon House Museum and Tropical Gardens in 1960, when Key West Native Colonel Mitchell Wolfson and his wife Frances invested $250,000, who recruited the Evans sons, sons to notable architect and developer Alfred Milton Evans. Harry, John, and Alfred Evans used their father’s ship-building technique to create curved and circular archways and stairways, which can be seen throughout Key West’s houses that they worked on. The Evans brothers did most of the landmark homes of Key West, lived in a 3 story home on Olivia (a couple of blocks away from the Hemingway House), and is said that this family is what inspired their neighbor, Ernest Hemingway, to write Old Man in the Sea.

The Audubon House was originally home to Captain John Huling Geiger in the mid-1800’s, who is also the first harbor pilot. He built the house, raised many children there, and planted lush and beautiful tropical garden here. Audubon was attracted to the house because of the gardens on his visit to Key West in 1832, and even took some sample cuttings from the garden grounds to be backgrounds of his work.

Today there is the Audubon House Gallery, which is a separate house from the main house that is dedicated to the original works of John James Audubon, and have photographs and images of the artist.

Visitors who would love to see the beauty of the architecture, artwork, antiques or gardens can take a look at our Audubon House and Tropical Gardens tour.