Mysterious and abandoned for years, Howey Mansion was completed in 1927 for its owner, citrus magnate William Howey who founded the small town of Howey-in-the-Hills just north of Orlando, Florida. He was also the town mayor from 1925 to 1936 and twice ran unsuccessfully for Florida governor. The Mediterranean Revival-style house was one of the most opulent homes in the state of Florida and to celebrate its completion, Howey engaged the New York Civic Opera Company; 15,000 people came to hear them perform. Even President Calvin Coolidge was a guest in the early years when Howey hosted many dignitaries and the rich and famous.
Measuring in at 8,832 square feet, the mansion has eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and is sited on 3.63 acres. But it is not a ruin. Of course the red-tile roof needs thousands of dollars of repairs and the marble that was stripped from the tall foyer walls needs to be replaced, but the exquisite stained glass and wrought-iron banisters, sun room, giant pecky cypress front door and ballroom with its romantic upper terrace are intact, though the ceilings need a redo. The mansion has had only one other owner, an heiress who died in 2015. The house foreclosed and has been sitting abandoned until April when the mortgage company put it on the market for $480,000. Bids started pouring in and it sold right away for an undisclosed amount considerably higher than the asking price. It is estimated that it will take another $3 million to restore it to its full glory.
The listing real estate agent said that the mansion was very creepy unless filled with potential buyers looking around, and that she would only feel secure with an entire football team as co-inhabitants. The new owner may occasionally think he’s hearing music when the house should be quiet. Will he know about the New York Civic Opera Company performing there so very long ago?
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