Monday, November 21, 2011

The poor old Catle Hill

Castle Hill, this landmark built in 1927 on Lake Sherman, was so prominent at one point that a spot on the map was named for it.  Now, unfortunately waiting to be demolished, or perhaps waiting to be restored and turned into a swank clubhouse for the subdivision that will no doubt be built on this big beautiful lakefront property. These are becoming so rare in central Florida.

The first owner of this house was Louise Bovingdon. Mrs. Louise Bovingdon was the daughter of George A. Thorne, a vice president of Montgomery-Ward, Chicago. At the time, this was the world's largest mail order house (1926-27). She became a leader in cultural affairs and remained active here for about ten years. She and her daughters traveled extensively and lived in France some of the time. She was often hostess for musicals and other gatherings and helped with benefit performances for local organizations. She herself entertained with her interpretive dancing. Her brother, Mike Thorne, was a member of Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition, 1928-30. Her estate here was sold to Kimball Marshall of Chicago in 1938.

The estate's last owner was Joseph Autin, a master gardener. He had extensive greenhouses on the property with many varieties of exotic plants. At some point his greenhouses burned and he sold the property to someone who just obviously doesn't care at all.  The water tower, (converted into an apartment,) was built to match the style of the house. It can be seen from S.R. Highway 50.

Most of the workmen and supplies of the Bovingdon house came from Clermont. A.G. Moore was contractor, E.B. Cashwell did the stucco and plaster work, the hardware came from Clermont Hardware. The landscaping around this home was one of its most impressive features. Ten acres surrounding the home was extensively landscaped. Around this was 150 acres of woods.  

I’m sure it's worth a fortune. I think it's owned by developers probably; waiting for the market to turn around. It’s just a shame it's been vandalized to such a pitiful state, you can tell it had beautiful big ornate windows that someone actually tried to Plexiglas over to protect at one point, but still have been managed to been busted out. Not like the well preserved Howey mansion, another in lake county fl.

The little old lady that owned that place was tricked out of her estate by a con artist; such shameful behavior.  I hope to post some pics of it soon.  (Much of this info on Castle Hill is courtesy "Clermont Gem of the Hills, A History of Clermont, Florida and Neighboring Communities, Miriam W. Johnson & Rosemary Y. Young".)  


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