In the gardens of Hemingway’s beautiful home in Key West lies his glistening, cerulean swimming pool.
Amidst the palm trees and dozens of six-toed cats, it appears to be the perfect oasis for a cooling afternoon swim, but this pool has a lover’s tale to tell. Embedded in the concrete at the foot of the pool is a 1934 penny that gives a glimpse into the romantic entanglements of Ernest Hemingway.
Before the pool, the garden was home to Hemingway’s own personal boxing ring, where he would train and spar with local boxers. Legend has it that whilst Hemingway was away working as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, he met and fell in love with wife number three, fellow war journalist, Martha Gellhorn. Back in Key West, second wife Pauline Pfeiffer heard about the affair, and replaced the author’s beloved boxing ring with the pool out of spite.
The swimming pool was exorbitantly expensive for its time, costing over $20,000 in 1938. When Hemingway returned and found out about the costs, he supposedly flung the penny on the ground, saying “Pauline, you’ve spent all but my last penny, so you might as well have that!”