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Truman's Florida Home Auctioned for $17 Million

September 10, 1986|United Press International

KEY WEST, Fla. — The owner of a company that specializes in renovating historic buildings submitted the winning bid of $17.25 million today for President Harry Truman's old winter White House.

The bid on the 103-acre parcel was submitted by Pritam Singh, owner of the Great Bay Co., which operates out of Portland, Me., and Boston.

The property, which the government no longer needs, also was a Union outpost during the Civil War and a sick bay for former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It includes parts of the old Navy base called the Truman Annex, the old Coast Guard station and 55-acre Turk Island.

The bidding, in a cavernous brick playhouse on the grounds, opened at $5 million and ended 45 minutes later with Singh's final bid.

The Key West Redevelopment Agency had tried to buy the land for $13.7 million, but government auctioner Howard DeVane said he had expected the bidding to go as high as $20 million.

Singh is obligated to restore three buildings--the two-story white clapboard home that was Truman's "Little White House," the red brick Customs House at the port entry and the yellow brick building that was once Key West's Coast Guard office.

The white pillared "presidential gates," opened only for the nation's chief executive, must also stay.

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