Hemingway's birthplace is a good place to begin to explore the roots of the author's life and work. Here Ernest was born in a second floor bedroom on July 21, 1899. This Queen Anne house, built by his maternal grandparents in 1890 and restored in the 1990s, looks as it did when Ernest and his family lived there. Young Ernest spent his first six years in these grand rooms rich with Victorian decor.
On the first floor, Hemingway joined his family in Grandfather Abba's Bible readings and prayers. His mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, gave music lessons in the parlor. The top floor of the home was virtually a mini-museum of the outdoors, where Ernest's father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, kept his wildlife specimens. Grace's uncle, Tyley Hancock, roomed on the second floor in between business trips. Ernest listened avidly to his colorful tales about the cities he visited. He also enjoyed visiting the family’s library and acting out poems and stories from the books he read.
In 1905, when Grandfather Abba died, so too did Ernest's powerful link to the Victorian Age. Soon after, the Hemingway family left the Oak Park Avenue home. Grace, along with architect Henry G. Fiddelke, designed and built a new family Prairie-style home at 600 North Kenilworth Avenue. Known as the boyhood home, this is where Ernest spent his high school years. The boyhood home still stands today as a privately-owned single family residence.
Tours of the Birthplace Home, led by our very knowledgable docents, reflect upon the influence and impact that the family and Oak Park community had on the early life of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author. The guided tour of the birthplace takes approximately 45 minutes. Written tour translations are available in many languages.