KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – When American literary master Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West in the 1930s, a wrought-iron gate hung at the side entrance to his Whitehead Street property.

Today that original gate, once used by Hemingway and friends, including author John Dos Passos, is being auctioned on eBay to benefit a Florida Keys charity.

Though Hemingway left Key West in December 1939, he owned the Whitehead Street home until his death in 1961. In 1964 it became a museum honoring his literary accomplishments and Key West legacy.

“That gate opened and closed for some of the most notable characters that have ever visited Key West,” said Bob Smith, 12-year tour guide at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

The gate is believed to have been installed 1935, when a brick privacy wall was built around the home the author occupied with his wife and sons.

Hemingway wrote many of his best-known novels and short stories in the property’s small second-story studio. Among them were “Death in the Afternoon,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Green Hills of Africa,” “The Fifth Column,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “To Have and Have Not,” which is set in Depression-era Key West.

The gate was replaced in 2011 with one better suited to protect the nearly 50 cats that live on the property. The original was donated to Helpline, a non-profit Keys crisis, information and referral telephone assistance service, to be auctioned for fundraising.

The eBay auction is to end Feb. 8.


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