Queen Anne House – Snohomish, WA

After writing a post about the Southernmost House in the United States, I began to pay a little bit more attention to the architectural styles of the homes I was seeing on my travels.

Front of home, with tower and ornamented gable.
Front of home, with tower and ornamented gable.

I have always found the “Queen Anne House” in Snohomish to be beautiful, but it has no signage (it is a private residence, after all), and if there’s no Wikipedia page on it, I’m clueless! That is, until now. I did some research on Queen Anne Style victorian buildings in the United States, and I ran across the book Beautiful America’s Northwest Victorians, which mentions this home. It says it was built in 1887 (which fits for the neighborhood), and “has a shingle-clad, centrally-placed tower, faux quoins, and an explosion of cut-out ornament in the front gable.” I would say that is a fairly accurate description of this home!

For those of you wondering what a “quoin” is, I googled it, and vocabulary.com says: Some quoins are decorative features, providing variety and pattern to the corner where two exterior walls meet. Others have an important structural job, strengthening buildings by reinforcing the corners. Quoin was originally an alternative way to spell coin, and was used to mean “cornerstone” or “wedge.”

It is also pictured on the front of the visitors brochure for Snohomish, but the woman at the Visitor’s Bureau knew nothing about it when my dad asked her. P.S. The Visitor’s Bureau is only several blocks from this home.

Rear of home.
Rear of home.

P.P.S. Apparently, there is a photo of the house on Wikipedia, I just never saw it until now. Opps! It’s on the page for Snohomish, Washington, a page which lists 19 ‘notable people’ to come out of Snohomish. Only one of those 19 is a woman. Hmmm…

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.

Southernmost House in the United States

Casa Cayo Hueso – The Southernmost House in the United States, is located in Key West, FL (along with all of the other southernmosts). Historic Southernmost HouseOn the right is a historic photo of the house from the Historic Markers Tour website. Here is the house history in a nutshell, copied from a sign inside of the hotel.

The Southernmost House was built in 1897 by Judge Vinning Harris. Harris’s wife was the youngest daughter (Florida Curry) of Florida’s first millionaire William Curry. The house was designed as a one bedroom mansion, to only accommodate the couple themselves. The style of the house projects one of the best examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture, making it the second most reproduced image of any house in America, behind the White House. Many historical figures and celebrities have enjoyed the mansion’s elegance as well as the beautiful oceanfront setting.

Mrs. Harris engaged Thomas Edison to oversee the electrical design and installation of the house. The Harrises had invested in the Overseas Railroad to Key West, which was developed by Henry Flagler, who was a visitor to the house during the early period.

During the Prohibition period from 1919-1933, the mansion served as a “speakeasy” club. The first floor served as the restaurant, the second floor for casino gambling, and the third floor for “socializing.”

Southernmost House gate
Casa Cayo Hueso front gate

During this period, the mansion was visited by many celebrities and notorious gangsters en route to Havana. A little known secret of the house is the bullet hole in the front window of the reception salon, was said to be meant for Al Capone. The house was purchased in 1939 by the Ramos family who continued to operate it as a cafe/night club called “Cafe Cayo Hueso,” which hosted such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote, Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Louis Armstrong, Charles Lindbergh and Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor of the radio-telegraph system. Then, in 1949, the Ramos family completely renovated the mansion for use as their private residence.

The Ramos family, originally from Spain, was one of Florida’s oldest merchant families, who settled in Spanish Colonial Florida (in St. Augustine) and moved to Key West in 1819. Because of their ties to the Spanish Royal family they hosted King Juan Carlos of Spain on several occasions. In fact, a landing pad was added to the oceanfront deck to accommodate his private helicopter.

Five presidents of the United States were hosted at the Southernmost House. They were Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and James E. Carter, Jr.

The house served as the Ramos-Lopez family residence until 1996 when the mansion was completely renovated and converted into the luxury guest house as it remains today…a uniquely beautiful piece of Florida’s colonial history.

Now for the interesting stuff-Casa Cayo Hueso SignThere is a sign posted outside of the building, and it reads as follows:

Casa Cayo Hueso
The Southernmost House
in the Continental United States
Key West, Florida
-Facts-

1. Owned by: Ramos-Lopez Family 1939-present
Owned by: Harris Family 1900-1939
2. Judge Jeptha Harris was beloved and respected jurist.
Definitely not a party animal. A circuit judge, not a salvage judge!
3. No ballroom on second floor – never was and never will be.

Ramos-Lopez Family – One of Florida’s oldest merchant families. Established in Spanish Colonial Florida at St. Augustine and moved to Key West in 1819.

I find this to be a very intriguing sign, because if I were to list facts outside of my establishment, I would list some from the previously quoted history of the home, not the fact that there is no ballroom on the second floor. There must be more to this story…

Southernmost House side view

And by the way, do you think that Florida Curry caught any grief growing up about her name? She was born & raised in Florida, after all.

I have been in the field of Early Childhood Education since 1995. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Professional Child Development. In my free time, I love LEGO, ballet, ballroom dancing, eating out, traveling, history, architecture, genealogy, and people.