Hemingway's Last Haunt: Ketchum, ID

When researching what we shouldn't miss, while in this spectacular ski town, Ernest Hemingway was on the top of the list. Ketchum is the place where, on July 2, 1961, Papa ended his illustrious life.

Hemingway first came here in 1939.  At that time, he was at work on For Whom the Bell Tolls, his epic about the Spanish Civil War, and the hills here reminded him of the countryside in Spain. Over the decades he would return and finally bought a home here. This was a place he could just be.
To know more, we picked up the guide Ernest Hemingway in Idaho: A tour of Ketchum & Sun Valley and began our discovery. It was here, at the Christiania that Hemingway ate his last meal.

Almost in the heart of town is his finally resting place, next to his widow, a son and some of his grandchildren. It is a peaceful place, under the trees his family planted for him.

A few miles away, in a small alcove on a bent stream, is the Hemingway Monument. It’s a bronze bust, facing the mountain and surrounded by lush foliage. Friends and family put it up five years after his death, a modest way for a town to honor a man who could escape here. Inscribed beneath the bust are words he wrote on that first trip to Sun Valley, for a friend's eulogy:
Best of all he loved the fall. The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods. Leaves floating on the trout streams. And above the hills the high blue windless skies..."Now he will be a part of them forever.”
Steve and I pondered "Why did Hemingway give up here?" Then we looked at all the benefit he still gives his much loved town, with tourism/pilgrimages and special Hemingway events. I believe it was his final gift. While incredibly sad, it is still a lasting legacy given by an incredible, albeit broken, man.

There is more here than Hemingway and a must was Ketchum's Community Library. Wow!
In 1955, seventeen visionary Ketchum and Sun Valley women founded the Community Library Association (CLA) as a privately funded, privately governed, non-profit cultural organization. By the intention of their founders, the Library is not dependent on any local, state, or federal tax funding.  These founders each contributed one dollar to the treasury and opened the Gold Mine Thrift Store in a one-room log cabin to earn funds to build and operate a library.
Impressively, today, the landmark Community Library building encompasses 27,635 square feet, covering almost one entire city block. It holds more than 127,000 items in its collection, serves a base of 140,000 individuals, offers nine dynamic program areas, boasts nearly 15,000 library cardholders worldwide, and features a regional history department and museum. AND has a really awesome Seed Library. Yes, it is like a Little Free Library... take some seeds, leave some seeds. So dang cool. I love this library!


Ketchum is a darling town with so much to offer. We will definitely return for a much more thorough explore!
"You see, I am trying in all my stories
to get the feeling of the actual life across-
not to just depict life or criticize it-
but to actually make it alive."
-Ernest Hemingway

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2 comments:

Nesbit Library rocks! said...

Did you get a library card?

Cyndy Brown said...

What a great idea...a seed library!

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