Letter to the Editor / KW Woman’s Club is Grateful for the TDC

We would like to shine a bright light on outstanding work performed by the Tourist Development Council. The TDC is funded by bed tax from our local hotels. In addition to marketing the Florida Keys, the TDC makes important contributions to our local community.
The Key West Woman’s Club (KWWC) would like to express its gratitude to the TDC for it’s award of a second generous grant to assist in Phase II of the renovation/restoration of the historic Hellings House Museum located at 319 Duval Street. 
The Hellings House Museum at 319 Duval Street, which is open to the public for tours free of charge, was built in 1892 by Capt. Martin Hellings and his wife Eleanor Curry Hellings.  Capt. Hellings was the cable manager of the International Ocean Telegraph Company in Key West. Prior to and during the Spanish American War, he operated an intelligence service for the U.S. government  from his Key West cable office providing the White House War Room with the latest news from Cuba. Eleanor Curry Hellings founded the Christian Science church locally and was the daughter of William Curry, foremost merchant of his time who became Florida’s first millionaire. You can will learn more exciting stories about the Martin and Eleanor Curry Hellings family and the history of Key West on guided tours of the Museum by KWWC members. 
Thanks to the TDC, Monroe County Commissioners and generous community members, we are in the process of bringing this historic house back to its original splendor.
The Key West Woman’s Club began in 1915 in concert with clubs across the country to help women obtain the right to vote. In 1920 the Key West Woman’s Club went to work creating a permanent home and operational base for Florida’s first public library and did so for 44 years. Originally managing operations from a local church, in 1940 we purchased the Hellings-Curry home for only $10,000 to house the library. In 1959 the KWWC spearheaded a fundraiser to build our current library on Fleming Street. 
Currently, we are involved with countless activities which lift Key West and the lower keys. In addition to our mission of maintaining the Historic Hellings-Curry House for future generations we also on average through the past decade have annually donated in excess of $100,000 to local charities (thanks to all the members of the community who buy our restaurant cards, purchase tickets to fundraisers and donate in cash or in-kind services). One of our annual projects is providing teddy bears we dress to area police and fire fighters to help children in traumatic situations who they encounter everyday and another is sponsoring participants in Wesley House’s Healthy Families program with a baby shower every spring. 
With the award of 2022-23 funding from the TDC the Key West Woman’s Club-Hellings House Museum will be more fully able to continue our charitable donations and activities for local non-profits. 
Susan Mitchell
Key West Woman’s Club
319 Duval Street
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