Built in Lake County Florida, this impressive 7,200 square-foot home was the result of William J. Howey's hard work and vision, but today sits empty and entangled in an on-going legal struggle.
Mr. Howey was born in Illinois in 1876 and started his career selling insurance before trying his hand at various enterprises, including car manufacturing and pineapple farming. By the early 1900's, he had made his way to Florida where he began his most successful endeavors in citrus and real estate development.
As a result of his success, Howey was able to build this Mediterranean style mansion in 1925, complete with a ballroom with handpainted 30 foot ceilings. The home was fit for entertaining high society, and to celebrate its completion, that is exactly what Howey did. 15,000 people would attend his free concert, hosted on his lawn, with the entire 100-artist New York Civic Opera Company to perform. The 4,000 cars that delivered the attendants were parked on this very site.
Howey would live in his beloved home until 1938, when he passed away at the age of 62. His widow, Mary Grace, also lived here until her passing in 1981. They are both interred at the family mausoleum on site, along with their daughter Lois.
The home now sits in stable but concerning condition. It is presently wrapped up in legal woes that have prevented anyone from taking on the task of preserving the place appropriately. In the meantime, the house has a caretaker who has been work to protect the place for a few years now. You can follow the project on Facebook here.
If you would like to see interior photographs of this building, or to learn more about its story, please check out our friend Abandoned Florida's post about the Howey Mansion.
[**This building is privately owned, not accessible to the public, and patrolled by local police**]
[Lake County, FL c. 1925]
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