Hallstrom House/Farmstead

Two hundred guests celebrated Hallstrom House/Farmstead’s 100-year anniversary on March 10th of this year. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places located at 1723 Old Dixie Highway SW in Vero Beach. Axel Hallstrom born in Sweden in 1870 and immigrated to the United States in the late 1890s. He moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota and became the master gardener for the estate of James J. Hill a railroad tycoon. Axel met his wife Emely while working for Mr. Hill. They moved to Florida and bought 40 acres in the town of Viking, which eventually became absorbed into the community of Indrio in St. Lucie County near Ft. Pierce. Named Viking because of the Scandinavian people who settled in the town.





After Emely’s death in 1908, Axel Hallstrom moved to Vero Beach. He bought the land, which consisted of 120 acres but construction of the house didn’t start until 1914. Completion of the house didn’t happen until 1918 because of scarce supplies during World War I. During construction of Hallstrom House, a temporary home built to house Axel and his daughter Ruth as well as a chicken house and a barn.

Solid oak floors laid over Southern Pine and original furnishings throughout the house. Storyboards in each room describing the house, the Hallstrom family and the crops they grew. Pineapples a favorite crop shipped to northern states. After the hard freeze in 1910, Axel switched to citrus.

The pamphlets created during the 100th anniversary describes in detail each numbered item throughout the house. The docent brings to life each room throughout the house and the Hallstrom family who lived there. An interesting fact on the tour about the fainting couch. Women wore corsettes even during the hot summer months therefore; they fainted due to the heat so they needed the fainting couch for rest and relaxation.

Many items throughout the house once popular in the first part of the twentieth century. I recommend touring the house. Free entrance to the house donations accepted. Hours of operation on the website.



Casa Feliz Historic House Museum

Casa Feliz Historic House Museum built in the style of a 100-year old Spanish farmhouse. Casa Feliz means “Happy House” listed on the National Register of Historic Places at 656 N. Park Avenue in Winter Park. Original roof tiles built by hand in Spain and recycled bricks bought from the Armory in downtown Orlando built in the mid-1880s.

Robert Bruce Barbour a manufacturer from Massachusetts who spent winters in Winter Park hired James Gamble Rogers, II a Winter Park Architect to design Casa Feliz. My museum guide gave me a detailed history of the rooms. The library, formerly the maid’s quarters. Photographs throughout the room of James Barber’s projects and family photographs. A carriage house and in the dining room an English Antique table 7 feet long made of walnut or mahogany. The kitchen and butler’s pantry remodeled to look like it did when the Barbour family lived in the house.

Every weekend the house rents space for weddings. Walk up the spiral staircase to the upstairs bedrooms. Mrs. Barbour’s bedroom is now the groom’s room. The bathroom design is Art Moderne popular in the 1930s and 1940s the original design when Mrs. Barbour lived in the house and still exists today. The room is dedicated to the Harper family who were involved in the Casa Feliz Foundation that was instrumental in moving the home from Lake Osceola to its present location.

The bride’s room formerly Mr. Barbour’s room. Used by brides to get ready for their wedding. The bathroom is not part of the original design. I opened the French doors and looked down into the courtyard that bridal parties use to take many photographs.

I recommend touring the house, a look inside the architectural design of a Spanish farmhouse. Hours of operation and venue contact information located on the website. After the tour, stay for Music at the Casa.

Grant Historical House

pict1707Grant Historical House often referred to as the Benson House a Florida Heritage Site at 5795 U.S. 1 in Grant. The docent took us on a tour of the house explaining the history and the inhabitants. Atley Benson built the 1,200 square foot Sears Catalog Home in 1916 that comprised the kitchen, living room, dining room and two bedrooms that cost $1,200 to build. The bathroom added in the 1940s included a claw foot bathtub, a pedestal sink and built-in shelves. Family photographs and keepsakes throughout the house.




The Grant House converted to a museum in the late 1980s included original furniture pieces, some donated or bought. The bed and cedar chest both original pieces. The cedar chest belonged to the Jorgensen family from Denmark early settlers to Grant in the late 1800s. The docent told us that when the Jorgensen family came to America all the belongings that they brought were in the chest.

pict1656pict1661Walk along the engraved boardwalk that surrounds the house stopping to read the inscriptions. Bring a picnic lunch and watch people launch their canoes on the Indian River Lagoon or walk out to the edge of the pier, sit on a bench and watch boats go by on the lagoon enjoying a lazy afternoon.

I recommend the Grant House, an early twentieth-century pre-fabricated house. Free entrance to the house, donations accepted.

The Mote-Morris House

604632880_cb42717fcb_zThe Mote-Morris House in Leesburg, late Victorian Revival Architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Edward Mote built the house in the early 1890s. He owned a livery business and built the Lake View Hotel in the mid-1880s. He served as mayor of Leesburg for eight terms.





He sold the house to Bishop Morrison in the early part of the 20th century. The Morrisons were the second family to occupy the house. Bishop Morrison and his wife bought the house as a retirement home. In the summer months Bishop Morrison slept in a hammock in a room at the top referred to as the tower. The tower had no mosquitoes and was cooler. Walk the winding staircase to the top and view the hammock. Halfway to the top is a secretary desk and chair. A great place to read in solitude.





The Morris family bought the house in 1918 and several generations lived in the house. A storyboard depicts the many photographs and articles of the Morris family over a period of 70 years. Donated furniture and a fireplace in each room.






Situated on the well-manicured lawn are benches and a gazebo popular in the 1880s and 1890s.

The tour guide acted disinterested and rushed me through the tour. Entrance to the house is free and hours and location are on the website.

The Pritchard House

The First Bank in Titusville, a hardware store and a generator plant that eventually became Florida Power and Light. All were businesses owned and operated by James Pritchard, early settler.

Pritchard House 594Pritchard House 599Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Florida Heritage Site The Pritchard House a Queen Anne style Architecture with wraparound porches. Our tour made more enjoyable by the guide dressing in period clothing. Members of the Pritchard family lived in the house until 2005 when Brevard County bought the house.

Our guide described in detail every room from the foyer to the upstairs bedrooms. The house consisted of five bedrooms and four fireplaces. The parlor only used for special occasions. One family member remembered as a child the only time she went into the parlor was on Christmas Day. In the parlor picture rails used to hang pictures. The dining room used as a gathering room for socializing and playing games. They would also write letters. A framed 1891 newspaper on the dining room wall found behind the fireplace mantel.

Pritchard House 597

Walk around the gardens on the red brick path that surrounds the house. The Briggs, Carpenter, Pritchard-Boye Gardens, these are just a few of the fifteen family gardens listed. A written account of each family on a plaque in front of each garden. Special events, prices and hours of operation are on the website.

Henry A. Deland House

0523151338-01The Henry A. Deland House located on 137 W. Michigan Avenue in Deland. The Conrad family lived in the home and bequeathed the home to the city. The house, a wooden vernacular farmhouse built in the late 19th century has a second entrance that we entered was added on later. The entranceway has a dual fireplace and paintings of John D. Stetson and Henry A. Deland both benefactors.

0523151251-02The tour guide gave an in-depth history of the house. The formal parlor has a pedal organ built in 1872 and a secretary, a first of its kind with a lock. A tri-crested settee is also in the parlor. As the story goes when the couple was courting, the young woman’s mother sat in the middle. In the dining room, a table built by the Remington Arms Company in Connecticut. The kitchen has Hoosier antique kitchen cabinets popular in the early part of the 20th century installed; ice chests that held 25 to 50 lb. blocks of ice had to be special ordered.

Upstairs are the master bedroom, sitting room, sewing room and children’s bedroom. The bathroom with a claw foot tub was added in the 1920s or 30s. The Master bedroom has transoms above the door for ventilation before air conditioning and double hung windows that in the summer kept the bedroom cooler and in the winter warmer. The mattress was made of horsehair. The sitting room has a settee and family photos on the wall. The children’s bedroom with their toys displayed. The sewing room has party dresses and everyday dresses that the women wore.

20150525055843A lithograph of Deland in the mid-1880s as well as photos of a steamboat and early pioneers. A photo of Brock House and Dock around 1860 in the town of Enterprise.

0523151347-01Relax in the Gazebo and admire the sculpture of Leu Gim Gong, the Citrus Wizard. Born in China he immigrated to the United States. A horticulturist remembered for his contributions to the citrus industry. Entrance fees; hours of operation on the website.

Eldora State House

Eldora State House-1The Eldora State House a historic home listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the Canaveral National Seashore. Between 1877 and 1900, Eldora originally called Fairview had a population of 100 people. The town had a post office and a small school. After the citrus freeze in the late 19th century, people left and later it became a winter retreat. 

The people of Eldora raised corn, potatoes and arrowroot. Fishing and hunting were abundant. Two sisters Ellen and Dora Pitzer had citrus and honey crops. Bounty of the Islands, Life on the River and A Heritage of Valor are some of the depictions of family life displayed on storyboards as well as photographs displayed throughout the house.

Park your car and walk the 2-lane dirt road to the house. Friends of Canaveral renovated the house in the late 1980s. Sit in the rocking chair and enjoy the view of the Indian River. Call the Visitor Center for hours of operation.


The Casements


The Casements located at 25 Riverside Drive in Ormond Beach. A casement window is a window that pushes out not up and down and is prevalent in Europe and the western part of the United States. The Casements a three story house with an elevator that was unusual for the time. A minister built the house in the early part of the twentieth century for his wife who was wealthy and related to the Pullman family that built sleeping cars. John D. Rockefeller bought the house in 1918 after his retirement. There is a dispute about how the house was paid for – $75,000 or Standard Oil Stock. Mr. Rockefeller spent winters in the house and after his wife died, lived in the house year-round. His wife founded Spelman College that is a college for African American Women.

After Mr. Rockefeller died, the house became a college for young women but closed after ten years of operation. The house vacant for a long time and gutted by vandals. The house listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 70s. The City of Ormond Beach bought the home, had it fully restored and is run by the Guild.


There are photographs throughout the house showing how it used to look. A Gazebo in the yard where you can sit and across the street is a park. Free entrance to the house; donations accepted.