Built in 1897, the iconic Mansion on the Sea, was originally home to Judge Vinning Harris and his wife Florida Curry. Florida Curry was the youngest daughter of the state's first millionaire, William Curry. Wanting only the best for his youngest daughter, Curry commissioned Thomas Edison to install the electricity in the one-bedroom home. As a parting gift, Edison left his personal phonograph, one of the first 3 originally patented, as a present for the family. The phonograph remains in the lobby of the Mansion to this day.
Over the years, the Mansion evolved and took on many different purposes. During Prohibition (1919-1933) the Mansion served as a "Speakeasy", where many notorious gangsters and other famous travelers were known to visit, often en-route to Havana Cuba. Folklore has it that an attempt on Al Capone's life resulted in a bullet hole in the front window of the Mansion. The shooter missed, but the bullet hole remains for visitors to see today.
In 1939 the Ramos family purchased the home. For the next ten years, the Mansion was operated as a nightclub, called the Cafe Cayo Hueso. During that decade, the Mansion hosted such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, and Truman Capote, as well as, celebrities such as Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Louis Armstrong, and Charles Lindberg. There was a period of two years during the late 1940's when Leonard Bernstein actually resided on the 2nd floor of the house. It was while he lived in the Mansion that he wrote the music for West Side Story.
In 1949, the Ramos Family, one of Florida's oldest merchant families, and with ties to the Spanish Royal Family, renovated the Mansion and made it their private residence. King Juan Carlos of Spain was often a guest at the Mansion. In fact, a landing pad was added to the Mansion's oceanfront deck so as to accommodate his private helicopter on his frequent visits.
During the next forty years, the Ramos Family residence welcomed five US Presidents, including, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and James E. Carter, Jr..
In 1996, The Southernmost House was established. The property boasted 9 rooms in the main house, plus a Dining Room and Lobby area, 3 bungalows, 1 cottage, 4 rooms and a full-sized apartment in the annex, known as the Lopez House. The iconic 18-room guesthouse, formerly known as The Southernmost House, officially changed its name on July 1, 2023, and is now known as The Mansion on the Sea.