Money Pit

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Money Pit, the early 1900s.

Deep in the heart of Florida sits a Neo-Classical mansion known as the Money Pit. The enormous home was built by a Georgia native, who made his fortune owning naval stores and lumber. His business empire controlled much of the turpentine harvest at the turn of the 20th century when citrus, turpentine, and lumber were Central Florida’s primary industries.

Money Pit
Money Pit, 2019.

The house was completed in 1911 at a cost of $25,000. It took three years to build and is considered one of the most ornate mansions in the area. At 11,000 square feet, the enormous mansion had plenty of room for the owner’s wife and their seven kids.

Money Pit
Ornate mahogany columns greeted guests in the foyer along with elaborate plasterwork throughout the downstairs.

Money Pit

Money Pit
After serving as a residence, the house was converted into a retirement home, a funeral home, and apartments before falling into disrepair.
Money Pit
The entire home was constructed using mahogany.

In 1924, the naval store owner and his family traded homes with the vice president of a local bank. The house sold in the 1940s and was converted into a funeral parlor. It remained a funeral home for almost 20 years before being converted into a meeting hall. Soon after it was sold and renovated into apartments. In 1990, the property fell into foreclosure. The property was listed for sale for $129,000. Without a buyer, the bank asked the city for a demolition permit.

Money Pit
The downstairs parlor room, 2019
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An early photo of the parlor room

In 1992, the house was saved from impending demolition after a couple offered the bank $90,000. The house suffered from extensive termite damage and would require $225,000 or more in renovations. The new owners estimated the restoration to take five years and created a nonprofit organization to help restore the house. The goal was to return the house to its original charm and allow opening it to the public as a museum or wedding venue. Unfortunately, the new owner fell ill and asked the city to take over the restoration effort. The city felt the project was better suited for an established nonprofit organization. A few years later, in 1995, a nonprofit was established. A board was able to apply for and awarded several state grants which allowed repairs to continue.

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Money Pit, 2016

Over time the board diminished, and in 2005 a new board was created. This board was awarded several state grants, but because of the recession in 2008, no funds were allocated by the state that year, or for the following three years. Now, almost twenty-five years since the restoration began, the house remained unfinished. The nonprofit organization is actively seeking funds but has not been successful so far.

Money Pit
A Civil War-era Stieff square grand piano
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Money Pit, 2016
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A right-angle staircase, one of the many unique features inside the home.
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The attic space on the third floor.

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Materials for a pending renovation were stored inside the home.
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The two-story porch is supported by four plaster columns capped by elaborate Corinthian designs.

 

17 Replies to “Money Pit”

  1. Amazing photos. I teach history, not U.S., world.
    I met you in the Community Pool where you indicated you are a new blogger. I help new bloggers at my site. Tips for engaging readers, improving content, and increasing traffic are waiting for you. I brought you the link to my About page, so you can read more about my blog. I also have regular networking opportunities and offer free incentives for subscribing.
    http://mostlyblogging.com/about/
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s where I met you too – the Community Pool on Janice Wald’s blog! So you were a new blogger back then – well congratulations for still being here – a few I tried from that list have since gone. This house is really beautiful but I find it quite eerie and brooding to look at. Like it is waiting for something just like in a horror film!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder if the couple would be open to selling this home for a low price so someone else could take on renovations? It’s actually in fantastic shape for a house that old. Termite, electrical, and plumbing repairs alone would be in the 1 million dollar range. Restoration in total probably about 2 million if you were going to fill the home with some furniture and trinkets from that era. Add in the paint and wood repairs plus more modern amenities. I can’t imagine what the kitchen and grounds look like. Probably another $20,000 to fix any landscaping or pools.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey there! Is there any shot of renting this space for a film shoot? I’m trying to find some more info on this and if anyone could help I’d greatly appreciate it. I’m looking for an abandoned-looking interior space similar to this that would allow filming.

    Thanks!

    Like

  5. Not bashing but just curious. Are you also trespassing to take these photos for your blog? Or do you get in contact with the city and like get a permit to go on the grounds?

    Like

  6. Wow, another really cool article, not just a photo dump like so many other urbex sites.
    About this one I have a question though:
    “No concrete proof has ever been found that the Money Pit is haunted.”
    Has there ever been concrete proof (scientific proof) that any place is haunted?

    Like

  7. I am a photographer from Tampa, I found this location online but can’t seem to find the town or information on who owns it. I’d like to contact the owners to see about getting permission to do a photo shoot there that will be getting published. Can you help me out with that information?

    Like

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