Florida Guide > Other Florida
A day out in Winter Park is always rewarding but you could easily miss this little gem so I want to encourage you to take a couple of hours to tour this interesting house.
Cas Feliz (Happy House) was the brainchild of James Gamble Rogers the second. It was built for Robert Barbour whose main claim to fame was as a manufacturer of blue bags. This will mean little to anyone under the age of 50 but was once the staple of the laundry room to make whites look brighter.
Robert gave James a free reign to design this home to be built on Lake Osceola. This eclectic home owes its character to several different spanish influences and has been the centre for many community events both then and now.
The home cost $28, 000 in all and was not viewed by Robert until it was complete.
The most interesting thing about the home is that it has been moved back from its original site overlooking the lake. Since the house weighs 1, 500, 000 pounds this was some feat. This was achieved at with a 50 ton winch and 20 dollies.
Progress was made at a very cautious 75 feet an hour and a 90 degree turn had to made before it found its new home on the ninth fairway of the golf course.
Then started a massive restoration job that enables this interesting home to be seen much as it would have been almost a century before.
Look out for the random width wood floors in the library and the painting of the home by Don Sandog.
We especially liked the spanish influenced courtyard area with its majolican tile fountain and hand painted wainscoting.
From here you can ascend the staircase to inspect the 4 bedrooms each with its own bathroom. There is a room dedicated to Gamble Rogers and his work on the design of the home. Gamble Rogers lived from 1901 to 1990 and although he did design public buildings, his forte was family dwellings; however, you may well have seen his work at The Florida State Supreme Court Building and The Olin Library at the Rollins Campus. The latter was produced by him at the age of 85.
The full address is 656 Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789 and the website is csafeliz. us
At the time of our visit there was no entrance charge and the home was staffed by helpful and knowledgable volunteers.
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