Dave's Wendy's Lake House!
After years of working for Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken where he got his start in the restaurant field, Dave Thomas and the Colonel parted ways over a disagreement on the best way to drain the grease from freshly fried chicken. Sanders wanted it handpicked from the deep fryer and Dave wanted it dumped all at one time. The Colonel wouldn’t waver and Dave left, selling his franchise shares and stock, which totaled a little over $1 million. He opened his first restaurant in Columbus, Ohio in 1969, across the street from a popular children’s science museum, cooking the food he loved the most - hamburgers. The restaurant, named Wendy’s after his daughter, began making a profit in only six weeks, and since Dave was familiar with franchise operations that he learned at Kentucky Fried Chicken, he started selling franchises for his Wendy’s restaurants and ended up with 6,000 stores by 2002.
During the years of building the business, Dave was rarely at home to bond or interact with his family during his children's formative years which put somewhat of a wedge between them. His lack of ability to bond with his family might have been a result of a complicated childhood. His unwed mother gave Dave up for adoption but Dave’s new mother died when he was just 5 years old. His adoptive father was frequently out of work during the Depression and left Dave in Fort Wayne, Indiana at age 15.
By 1995 Dave slowed down enough to realize it was time to do something to repair family relations. He bought Round Island in lovely Buckeye Lake just a short drive east on I-70 out of Columbus. It seemed the perfect place to enjoy his children and grandchildren. There was a 1920’s cottage on the island which he restored and made larger, adding a playground and swimming pool. Water came from a well, sewage into a septic tank and electric was run above ground from island to island. Enthusiastic about having the chance to get to know and enjoy his five children and sixteen grandchildren, he named the island Bonding Island. Unfortunately, his dream of spending time with them didn’t come to fruition as Dave’s children and grandchildren rarely visited.
Five years later Dave was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died from the disease in 2002 at his main home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After his death, his wife sold the island with everything just as they had left it. The family who bought the home rarely used it due to professional obligations and travel distance. Today, the estate is being sold almost exactly as it was when Dave owned the island.
The 4,176 square foot house has 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a 3-bay boat house, 5 docks (4 boats are included in the sale), a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, cabana and bath house, fenced playground and swimming pool. There is plenty of island privacy with beautiful views in every direction.
Wendy's Hamburger founder Dave Thomas started his restaurant chain in Columbus, Ohio in 1969. His former Buckeye Lake home is for sale at $1.3M.