Ernest Hemingway is known as one of the greatest authors in American literature. His literary works are highly regarded, and his novel The Old Man and the Sea earned him a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 and 1954. Traveling around the world during his lifetime and living in many different places, there was always just one spot that he referred to as “home,” Windemere. Windemere is the small cottage that Hemingway’s family has and still owns to this day.
Located on the shores of Walloon Lake in northern Michigan, Windemere is a small cottage that was built by Hemingway’s father, Clarence. Clarence and his wife Grace purchased four lots of land (one acre) in 1898 and began constructing a 20 x 40-foot cottage. Costing the family $400 to build, Windemere’s construction was finalized in 1900. From 1900 to 1920 Ernest Hemingway spent every summer, except for the summer of 1918, at his family’s cottage.
Although he spent his formative years in Oak Park, Illinois, Hemingway learned a lot while summering at Windemere. It was here where he learned to hunt, fish, and swim. In 1921, Hemingway married Hadley Richardson, and the two honeymooned at the cottage. This was the second to last time that Hemingway would visit Windemere. His final visit occurred sometime in the early 1950s just after his mother willed to him the cottage following her death. Windemere’s ownership remained with Hemingway until his death in 1961, where he then gave ownership to his sister Madelaine.
Despite not returning Up North later in life, he always held a part of Windemere and Northern Michigan in his heart. In fact, the area and the cottage itself are used as the setting in a number of his works, “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife,” “Ten Indians,” “The Indians Moved Away,” “The Last Good Country,” and “Wedding Day.”
In 1968 Windemere was declared a National Historic Landmark even though it remains a private residence to Hemingway’s nephew. According to Mark Alpert, renovations and upgrades have been made to the home throughout the years, but the original structure still stands on the same foundation which it was built on over 100 years ago.