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Will Hemingway Retreat Become an Open House?

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Will Hemingway Retreat Become an Open House?

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Will Hemingway Retreat Become an Open House?

Will Hemingway Retreat Become an Open House?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4725409/4727506" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Hemingway artifacts are preserved in the Ketchum house, including a classic portrait of Papa himself. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson hide caption

toggle caption Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

Hemingway artifacts are preserved in the Ketchum house, including a classic portrait of Papa himself.

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

Hemingway didn't do much writing about his life in Idaho, but his typewriter was at the ready, along with binoculars to capture his view of Sun Valley. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson hide caption

toggle caption Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

Hemingway didn't do much writing about his life in Idaho, but his typewriter was at the ready, along with binoculars to capture his view of Sun Valley.

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

An exterior view of the Ketchum house. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson hide caption

toggle caption Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

An exterior view of the Ketchum house.

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

A bottle of Jack Daniels marks Hemingway's modest grave. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson hide caption

toggle caption Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

A bottle of Jack Daniels marks Hemingway's modest grave.

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson

Ernest Hemingway's last home was in Ketchum, Idaho, near Sun Valley. That's where the literary and cultural icon took his own life with a shotgun 44 years ago. Today, the house is the object of a dispute over whether it should be open to the public.

The house, still full of Hemingway memorabilia, is owned by The Nature Conservancy, which is considering making it available for tours and literary events. And, as Elizabeth Wynne Johnson reports, many in the local community think it's a good idea.

But the house sits on a private road with few neighbors, each of whom spent millions to live there. They've offered millions more to buy the Hemingway house for fair market value and move it to another location nearby.

Still a legal fight remains a distinct possibility, as some argue that privileged neighbors should not be able to prevent the public from seeing the house as Hemingway saw it.

Hemingway kept his own life in Idaho private. Unlike his Cuban finca, he didn't make it a character in his novels. But he was known for his parties there, and for enjoying a drink with the locals. And he's buried there in Ketchum, his grave marked by a plain granite slab and, Johnson notes, a carefully placed bottle of Jack Daniels.

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