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Fire destroys Hemingway watering hole

JAN. 18 — An early morning fire destroyed the Ernest Hemingway museum and the Compleat Angler bar and inn Friday on the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.

The fire began sometime before 4 a.m., according to news reports. Police were looking for the caretaker of the inn, Julian Brown, who was last seen trying to put out the flames. He is presumed dead.

Hundreds of photographs and Hemingway memorabilia were destroyed. The Nobel prize-winning author stopped at the Compleat Angler for drinks between fishing trips on his 1938 Wheeler Playmate, Pilar. Hemingway is said to have worked on his novel “To Have and Have Not” in Room No. 1 at the Angler, the Miami Herald reported. “The Old Man and the Sea” is said to have been inspired by his fishing expeditions in the Bahamas and Cuba.

The Compleat Angler was also the place where 1988 presidential candidate and Colorado Sen. Gary Hart was photographed with a woman who wasn’t his wife sitting on his lap. Hart subsequently withdrew his candidacy.

Authorities did not immediately know the cause of the blaze. For more on this story see the April issue of Soundings.

— Jason Fell