Martin Hellings House/ Key West Woman's Club

The Martin Hellings House, constructed c.1892 by Captain Martin L. Hellings, is one of only a few historic houses in Key West not built of wood. Hellings was a native of Pennsylvania and a Union soldier in the Civil War. In 1881, Hellings married Eleanor Curry, daughter of a prominent Key West merchant family. In 1888, he became cable manager of the International Ocean Telegraph Company in Key West, an important position at the time, as telegraphs were the only means of rapid long distance communication. Before and during the Spanish American War, he operated an intelligence service for the U.S. Government and provided the White House War Room with the latest news from Cuba. After Martin Hellings’ death in 1908, the house was converted into professional offices, and for many years housed the offices of Judge W. Hunt Harris. The Key West Woman's Club (KWWC), established in 1915, purchased the building in 1940. The KWWC founded and maintained Key West’s first public library in this building. The KWWC continues its mission of volunteer service and financial support to local non-profits while preserving this Queen Anne style brick mansion for future generations.