Cook House

Outdoor Cooking

In mid-19th century Key West, outdoor kitchens were common to avoid the heat and fire hazards created by open hearth cooking. The Geiger family always made use of an outdoor cook house, with meals served in the home’s first floor dining room.

The last surviving cook house on the property was demolished in 1958 due to its state of disrepair. In 2012, with a matching grant from the Tourist Development Council, the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation constructed a historically-accurate representation of an 1850s cook house on the grounds. The replica cook house was designed using photographs of the former cook house and of other cook houses throughout the state of Florida and was constructed with rough cut Florida Cypress.

The cook house is furnished with antiques of the period typically found in an outdoor kitchen along with examples of the types of food eaten in Key West during the time. Next to the cook house is a representation of an 1850s medicinal and herb garden. Most of the cooking for the Geiger household would have been done by the slaves on the property, and the cook house provides insight into their daily lives.

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