My Home is the Oldest House in Orlando
I live in the oldest home in Orlando, Florida. It is a Victorian style house with gables, dormers, and a large wrap-around porch. The "Princeton House" was built in 1882. It remains its original color: pink. Another Hubber made a request of me to write a Hub about my home.
John P. Erricsson, a veteran of the American Civil War who had served directly under General-in-Chief of the Union Army, Ulysses S. Grant, was rewarded with a federal land grant of 500 acres on Lake Ivanhoe in 1875 by then President Grant. On this land he built the Princeton House at a cost of $1300. This parcel of land was close to the South Florida Railroad line. A small village named Formosa was 1/4 mile away and featured a train depot, a post office, and a saloon or two.
It was built as a farmhouse out of timbers of heart pine, and the land was used for orange and grapefruit groves. It still has the original wide, pine plank floors and two fireplaces. Situated as it is in Orange County, Erricsson was well positioned to take advantage of the citrus boom that exploded in those days. After Mr. Erricsson died the home was sold at public auction for $1,853.28 on December 9, 1884.
The next year the new owner, Charles Joy, subdivided the land, leaving this house sitting on 14 acres. The "big freeze" of 1895 ruined the orange crop and the owner of the orange grove, resulting in the property being foreclosed. There are records of several other foreclosures of the property for the same reason, making it appear that farming oranges was a risky business.
ORLANDO REAL ESTATE
The land was further subdivided in 1923 by then owners, J. C. & Martha Johnson, and the Princeton House made due with 4 or 5 acres—and no orange groves. In 1927, the Johnson's daughter, Jessie Cone, inherited the property and successfully sued the City of Orlando to pave the street and install a sewer line. She then installed indoor plumbing in the house for the first time, and also renovated and remodeled. It was sold in again in 1949 and since has had numerous owners.
A few years ago my wife and I decided to build an addition onto the home, doubling its size. The rooms in the old section are small; she uses the house for her business; and in the midst of the real estate boom it seemed like a wise investment. Our neighborhood is in the midst of gentrification. This addition precludes the house from historical designation.
I have included a photograph of the house from 1927; and a picture from 2000, prior to the construction of the addition; and a number of pics from 2005 just prior to moving into the addition. The addition was made to duplicate the exterior while making the interior rooms large, including a great room where now hangs our art that I have reviewed in three previous Hubs: "Beauty is the purpose of Art" "Rembrandt is my favorite Artist" " and "Art in my Home."
This proved to be a complicated engineering project and we were blessed that it was designed and the construction managed by Scott Raymond and Joyce Phipps with their firm Architectural Dynamics of Orlando. Scott is known as ArchDynamics in the Hub Pages Community. The work was completed in 2005 by General Contractor Mike Vecchio.