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Historic Hernando Preservation Society

Field Trip to the Stetson Mansion

Members of Historic Hernando Preservation Society traveled to Stetson Mansion in DeLand Florida. The weather on Friday, December 18 was comfortable, providing just the right formula for a perfect outing.

Arriving at the mansion, members were treated to the beauty of the 1886 gilded age winter home of philanthropist, John B. Stetson. Stetson, of course, was the producer and manufacturer of the iconic Stetson hat. HHPS President Don Moses sported his personal Stetson while attending the tour.

The home boasts 16 patterns of the nations most rare and intricate parquet wood floors. There are over 10,000 panes of original leaded glass windows. Every room was beautifully decorated for the Christmas season. Each detail was hand placed by J.T. Thompson, one of the home owners. The entry way was captivating and celebrated the 200 year anniversary of the beloved Christmas Carol “Silent Night.” Sheets of antique music seemed to float in the air between the 12 foot Christmas tree and grand piano. Architect George T. Pearson created the home with a blend of cottage, Gothic, Tudor, Moorish and Polynesian influence, thus creating a high style Victorian home. 

Attention to detail was the key to this wonderful presentation, and one had to be present to appreciate the beauty and splendor of this magnificent home. The home is neither a Victorian Museum, nor a Stetson Museum, but the beautifully restored home of its owners. The Stetsons sold everything in the 1920’s, and nothing was left save the fabulous architectural detail.

The Stetson family entertained such guests as the Astors, Mellons, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies. President Grover Cleveland and King Edward VII were also on the guest list, along with many others. Because the mansion is not a museum, many wonderful parties are still hosted here.

The extensive restoration was accomplished with love and such a positive energy that fortunate guests become a part of. The tour includes the rich history and inspiring restoration story that guests become immersed in. Owner J.T. popped into the tour to express his gratitude for being able to be a part of this rich restoration, and to wish guests a “Merry Christmas.”

Historic Hernando Preservation Society sent the home owners a “thank you” letter for their active role in the preservation of a historic gem, that would have otherwise been slated for demolition.

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