The magic of Marrero’s Guest Mansion can be felt the minute you pass through its double front doors. This is a house that was truly built for love. In 1889, Francisco Marrero hoped to entice his young love, Enriquetta, to settle in Key West to continue their life together.
Apparently, his strategy worked, as they were said to be happy and their union produced eight children. At that time, Key West was South 81 a center for the cigar industry, and Francisco was a very successful cigar producer. Originally from Cuba, he often made trips there on business. On one ill-fated trip, he died under what some felt were suspicious circumstances. Soon after receiving this tragic news, Enriquetta was dealt another blow. It seemed that Francisco had a wife, Maria, in Cuba that he never divorced. She arrived in Key West and laid claim to his estate in court where she won that claim. Enriquetta and her eight children suddenly found themselves homeless and penniless. As she left her home for the last time, Enriquetta was said to have made the promise that she would always remain in spirit in the home she loved.
To many of us who have been guests in this charming house, now Marrero’s Guest Mansion on Fleming Street, Enriquetta appears to have kept the pledge she made that day more than a hundred years ago. Her presence is pervasive yet benevolent, and numerous guests have experienced it over the years. Owner and innkeeper John Diebold said that guests staying in rooms 17 and 23 have reported hearing the sound of babies crying at night. Marrero’s is an adults-only establishment, so there are no children on the premises. Neighbors have no children either. Interestingly, the rooms in which the sounds occurred were once the Marrero children’s nursery. John added that,
“My experiences involve doors and locks. Doors get locked from the inside with the secondary lock, which can only be locked from the inside… but nobody is in the room. This usually happens when people have been talking about Enriquetta in a skeptical way.”
Guests have also reported seeing the spirit of Enriquetta in what was once her bedroom—room 18. She has been seen passing through the door that connected her room to the nursery.
Today, Marrero’s is a welcoming getaway that gives its guests a true taste of Key West. The ample front porch welcomes you to sit back and enjoy the warm, tropical air as you sip a cocktail each evening. Several of the graciously appointed rooms open to verandas while some open to a secluded pool area. Care is taken to make each guest feel welcome with attention to detail and an emphasis on hospitality. As Enriquetta continues her vigil over the house she loved in life, she must be pleased that it continues to be a place of which she can be proud.
Written by — Kathy Conder Lead Investigator, Encounters Paranormal Research and Investigation
MARRERO’S GUEST MANSION
410 FLEMING STREET
KEY WEST, FLORIDA 33040
TEL: 1 (305) 294-6977
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