Hemingway lived at Finca Vigía from 1939 to 1960, where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. The author’s 15-acre estate, overlooking the Straits of Florida and the lights of Havana, was left to the Cuban people after his death in 1961. Now a national monument in Cuba, Finca Vigía has been operated as a museum since 1961 by Cuba’s Consejo Nacional de Patrimonio (CNPC). The building houses more than 2,000 of Hemingway’s letters, manuscripts and drafts, along with thousands of photographs, hunting rifles, wild game trophies, bullfight posters, original furniture, and his personal library of 9,000 books.
In 2005, the National Trust for Historical Preservation put Finca Vigía on its list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. Through the Hemingway Preservation Foundation, the U.S. Government awarded Bruner/Cott and the National Trust permission to visit the site and begin preservation — making Bruner/Cott the first U.S. architect to work legally in Cuba since 1960.
The team, working with local experts, completed a Preservation Study in 2007. The report describes the current condition of the building and site, and outlines scheduled preservation work. The first phase of the work was completed in 2008.