Stetson Mansion ~ “The House That Hats Built” c1886
Florida’s Most Historic Home - Hidden and Unknown for 100 Years
Tripadvisor has named the Stetson Mansion, the top rated landmark attraction in all of Florida. Florida's First Luxury Estate, is the largest, grandest, and most historic home ever built in Florida before the 20th century. This Gilded Age estate is not a museum or a home frozen in time, although it predates all other grand mansion museums in Florida. This is still a private estate. The home of Florida’s first snow bird and famous hat baron was hidden and lost for 100 years. It has recently been rescued, restored and updated in a timeless fashion. Guided Past and Present tours are offered of the mansion on a limited schedule Tues, Fri, Sat, until Sept 14th. “Christmas Spectacular!” tours are offered 3-5 times daily Nov 15th-Jan 15th.
Built in 1886 for famed hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson, this winter retreat is Florida’s only richly detailed mansion actually built in the “Gilded Age” which ended in 1899. The eclectic and unusual “High Victorian” architectural design not only had the most advanced technology of its day, it also includes a variety of complicated interior carvings, 16 patterns of the nation's most rare and intricate parquet wood floors and 10,000 panes of original leaded glass windows. Even if the house was empty, the details are captivating.
What makes this house so rare and interesting isn’t the rich decor but how comfortable you feel when you are here. Unlike any other historic mansion on display you can sit on our furniture and witness how an old private residence can have all the desired modern conveniences instead of being torn down. You can see for yourself that it is possible to seamlessly blend the ages without being obvious and keep the best qualities of the home’s original character. This home has been renewed as if the original wealthy family still owned it: protecting every original opulent detail, saving some family heirlooms, upgrading living conditions with new bathrooms and kitchens and discarding out dating pot bellied stoves no one knows how to use and uncomfortable old furnishings no longer fashionable.