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Sydonie Mansion  Follow Sydonie to keep up with events and the restoration process!


The boathouse stairs. Post Irma. The good news is that we really needed the palms trimmed. This will take awhile. #irma #sydoniemansion #cleanup

Well, we didn't sustain any horrid damage, but Sydonie sure was a mess after Irma's unwanted visit. The Clozers, Sydonie's son-in-law's Softball Team were brave enough to fly into Orlando days after Irma to prehistoric conditions. They suffered through unbearable heat and no electricity, limited water, and spent the better part of two days giving Sydonie back her dignity along with Sydonie Staff and restorians. Thank you so much to all who helped in this cause!! We hope Clozers win Worlds!! #restorical #sydoniemansion #irma #cleanup #clozers #winclozers #thankyou #forevergrateful #blazinghot

Irma is on the way. All week I've been wondering how far the recorded records go back for weather data. They say Irma is set to be the biggest, but has Sydonie experienced one bigger? If she did, she always had her shutters on key windows. This is the first major one since the shutters were sold and we have hundreds of windows not boarded up. We'd wipe out Lowes trying. The first building was here from about 1880 so she's had lots of hurricanes. We are about to find out how she fares. Sydonie acted like a Cat 3 was nothing last year. You could hardly hear the storm outside if you were in the first floor. However, sideways rain does come through the roof. It gets under the tile if it doesn't fall straight down. We don't have any big trees near the building so hopefully that won't be a problem. I think the building would win over the ones that are left. I'm happy to report that 14 lovely souls who live in trailers will be hunkering down in Sydonie to stay safe. With three cellars and foot thick walls, you can't go wrong with that decision. We are praying hard! I have lots of amazing trees I'm worried about. Especially this limb. #irmaontheway #sydoniemansion #pleasespareus #liveoaks #safehaven #historicalmansion #idontneedthisstress #florida #floridatreasure

I'm pretty certain I never posted pictures of hanging out on top of the plunge, painting. The only requirements are, you can't be scared of heights, you have to be able to swim, and you should like books that refer to walking the plank. Incidentally the only wall plunge side not painted is the one I'm facing. I still don't know what to paint there so I left one plank! #walktheplank #sydoniemansion #restorical #painting

Morning light on the east wing. Someone find the person with our shutters! One day we might have shutters and window boxes. They would look amazing! #missingshutters #sydoniemansion #restorical

The hunter gatherer in me combines with the part of me that likes to create a canvas and when I find just the right thing, I have to have it on the canvas. This is one of those finds and I never regret the purchase. There's one pillar that has a gap of vine and it looks perfect. This totally matches the wrought iron work above it and it looks like it was made to live at Sydonie. Welcome home. #candles #wroughtiron #sydoniemansion #restorical #bringingtheoldgirlback

I love it when artists contact us to paint at Sydonie. It's my dream to one day find the time to pull up an easel next to them! Morgan was kind enough to paint the water flowing over this fountain. It's time to get it working! She's fantastic! #morgansamuelprice #sydoniemansion #pleinair #pleinairpainting #bringingtheoldgirlback #artist

Sydonie's second owner and husband to the Laughlin's daughter Martha, was Edgar Viguer Seeler. He was also Sydonie's on site architect for the 1903 renovation. Edgar and Martha were Sydonie's first wedding. This interesting letter written by FDR is a thank you to Edgar for helping out with a donation of spy glasses or binoculars to the war effort. They plan to return them. #fdr #franklindelanoroosevelt #edgarviguerseeler #sydoniemansion #history #oldletter #wasauctioned #sydoniehistory #ww1letters #fdrletter #april6,1918 #assistantsecretaryofthenavy #eyesforthenavy

It's been super rewarding to pull Sydonie's history together. This letter belonged to Sydonie's second owner and one of Sydonie's architects, Edgar Viguer Seeler. Sadly, if we had been discovered a few years earlier, we may have been able to have the original for Sydonie's history, but this was sold at auction. Sydonie's first owners, the Laughlin's were responsible for paving all the best roads in Orange County and paying for all the churches and many public buildings including schools. They also paid for the colored wing of the hospital in Orlando. It's sad there used to exist such a division, but I'm happy to report that the Laughlin's cared enough to pay for such a wing so that proper care could be given to those in need. In this letter, you will find Booker T. Washington asking Sydonie's second owner for help with putting some colored children through school and help with a scholarship fund. Edgar was happy to come to the rescue. I'm happy to say Sydonie's former owners were very eager to help the community. This letter brought me to tears.
#sydoniemansion #bookertwashington #edgarviguerseeler #helpforafricanamericanchildren #oldletter #friends #tuskegee #tuskegeeinstitute #normalandindustrialinstituteforthetrainingofcoloredyoungmenandwomen #helpforagoodcause #october1,1913

On the scrap book page this is listed as Laughlin's Coal House, March 1893. Honestly, I think it's where the current boathouse sits on Lake Minore. I think I can make out chimneys of the first house in the background. Rumor states that the Laughlin's and Hugharts brought the railroad to Zellwood. Laughlin was making rails and Hughart was laying them. They were brothers-in-law with neighboring homes on this lake. Coal would certainly have been easy to transport by rail from the North, then via boat to the plantation. The Laughlin's ran this entire plantation by coal. Their power house, rumored to have been built by Thomas Edison, was coal burning. If this is indeed Lake Minore then we are left to wonder if there was a canal or road from the Zellwood Train Station to Lake Maggiore, the lake that connected to Lake Minore historically. #mtdora #zellwood #coalhouse #lakeminore #laughlin #sydoniemansion #orangecounty #centralflorida #florida #floridahistory #oldflorida #oldphotos

In 1942, the second owner of Sydonie, a man by the name of Eugene M. Speer, found a buyer to purchase the Sydonie Plantation from him. He only owned Sydonie for a year. It was just long enough to dig up the rare plants and cut down this fifty acre pine forest. With those moves Mr. Speer made back the same price he paid for the entire plantation, just in selling the vegetation! The sale of the land then let him walk away with twice the profit. This 50 acre pine grove was Mr. Laughlin's favorite place on the property according to the writings of his children and it was cut down by Speer in 1942 when wood was a premium to aid in the war effort. This image of the Laughlin's in their pine grove was taken in March of 1893. #march1893 #1893 #floridahistory #sydoniemansion #laughlin #jamesandsydneylaughlin #centralfloridahistory #horseandcarriage #oldphotos #florida #oldflorida #mtdora

Today Sydonie had a miracle. A real friend to Sydonie and former resident found a scrap book in a remote location in Florida that contains about 10 of the earliest images of Sydonie. Don't recognize this building? It's because it's the building that is under Sydonie. This is the building that underwent a remodel and revision in 1903-04 by the famous Grosvenor Atterbury. Sydonie is factually now one of the earliest buildings still standing in the State of Florida as much of the interior of this building is still part of Sydonie. My best guess for the small building to the far right is that it was a watchtower for the guards. They circled the house all day and all night. #earlysydonieimage #sydoniemansion #zellwood #history #centralfloridahistory #centralflorida #laughlin #J&;LSteel #Steeltycoonresidence #historyreturns #restorical #March1893 #1893

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