Deep in the heart of Florida sits a Neoclassical Greek Revival mansion known as the Money Pit. Built in 1908 by a Georgia lumber tycoon, the enormous 11,000 square foot mansion is made entirely of mahogany wood. It took 3 years to complete at a cost of $25,000. The Money Pit was one of the most ornate mansions in the county and quickly became “the talk of the town.”The porches are two-tiered with front and side supports held by 4 Corinthian columns.
The porch extends around 3 sides of the mansion. The enormous 3-story mansion had plenty of room for the lumber tycoon’s wife and 7 kids. The ornate columns and plaster work extended throughout the downstairs.
A right angle staircase is one of the unique features of the Money Pit.
The 90 degree bend in the upstairs railing.
With the plaster removed you can get an idea of the craftsmanship that went in to building the Money Pit.Historic interior photo showing the fireplace and columns.
The living and parlor rooms in 2016.
In 1924, the lumber tycoon and his family moved out. The family traded homes with the vice president of a local bank. The Money Pit was sold in the 1940s and converted into a funeral parlor. It remained a funeral home for about 20 years before being converted into a meeting hall. Soon after it was sold and turned into apartments.
Numbers and door knockers remain on some interior doors.
Left empty to decay for a number of years, the Money Pit fell into a state of disrepair and became bank owned. In 1989, a fight over demolition began with the city. A local couple stepped up and purchased the Money Pit in 1992 for $90,000 saving it from the wrecking ball. The extensive termite damage would require $225,000 or more in renovations.
This Civil War era Chas M. Stieff square grand piano sits in the parlor. I have never seen a piano like this before. A quick search suggests these pianos are worth between $25,000 and $30,000.
A stripped wall and fuse box with glass fuses.
Materials stored upstairs for the pending renovation.
The couple planned on opening a non-profit to aid in the renovations. They secured enough funds to repair the outside of the structure to reduce further interior damage. They hoped within 5 years they could have it open to the public as a historic library or a wedding venue. Unfortunately, donations slowed and the house sits idle.
The third floor attic area.
The Money Pit in 2016.
Some locals say the house is haunted. Paranormal investigators who have explored the home say they have heard noises, seen orbs, and felt cold spots. No concrete proof has ever been found that the Money Pit is haunted. On my visit I never felt anything out of the ordinary. The house is one of central Florida’s most ornamented 20th century mansions. After WWII many of the early mansions in Florida were destroyed to build commercial buildings and condominiums. The Money Pit is indeed an architectural treasure.