The Stetson Mansion, Florida’s Most Historic Home in West Volusia, is a private High Victorian residence that invites guests to tour its timeless grounds and refurbished architecture.
Built by famed hat maker, John B. Stetson, and designed by popular Philadelphia architect George T. Pearson in 1886, the Stetson Mansion stands as Florida’s only Gilded Age mansion, and the largest, grandest, most innovative home ever built in Florida before 1900. It also stands today as the first Florida home designed and constructed with steam heat, indoor plumbing, a call bell system, and electricity, installed by Thomas Edison himself.
Its current grandeur belies the fact that for many years, the Mansion was left at the mercy of the elements soon after the snowbird and famous hat baron died in 1906. It wouldn’t be until 2008 that the Stetson Mansion would be extensively renovated at great expense by current owners JT Thompson and Michael Solari who were able to give it some much needed TLC.
Although the mansion remains a private residence nowadays, the owners graciously open their doors several times a week for scheduled tours. Knowledgeable and friendly tour guides lead visitors from far and wide through the beautiful mansion and schoolhouse, which has been masterfully converted into a Zen guest house featuring an original soaring Polynesian ceiling.
Inside the mansion, Guests will see the country’s most beautiful and elaborate inlaid parquet floors (16 different patterns) and antique windows with over 10,000 panes of antique glass. This is an all-access tour where nothing is marked “private”, so the tour includes the private owners’ quarters as well!
Visitors can view the magnificently embellished and appointed rooms, hallways, and niches of the mansion. The Mansion is currently offering the “Grand Tour”, which includes access to the third floor where guests will see three designer-decorated bedrooms, four bathrooms, the boardroom, and the balcony in the tower room. A deeper history lesson about the Stetson Hat and its legacy will also be offered in the Stetson memorabilia room.
Although it will not be taking place this year due to COVID-19, the mansion’s usual “Christmas Spectacular!” is perhaps one of the most impressive spectacles in the entire state.
Next year, from Nov 15, 2021, to Jan 16, 2022, The Stetson Mansion will embelish 10 rooms in the mansion with elaborate Christmas designer decorations and 24 nativities from around the world. Decorations vary from year to year but none ever disappoint. Past guests who have experienced the tour rant and rave about the elegance and charm of each room. If you’re a lover of history and architecture, it is guaranteed you will walk away astonished by the level of detail that is exhibited throughout the mansion. The owners spent over two years restoring the mansion, and their painstaking work does not go unnoticed.
This enchanting tour includes all the rooms on the ground floor and the 3 bedrooms on the second floor (including the owner’s bedroom, bathroom, and closet.) Guides will detail the inspiration and meaning of the Christmas decorations and share a few historic highlights of the mansion and the current owners who saved and restored the estate.
Tripadvisor has named the Stetson Mansion the top-rated landmark attraction in all of Florida. Check out the mansion’s Grand Tour this fall season and see for yourself this magical home that has been brought back to life! Tours can be scheduled on the Stetson Mansion website www.stetsonmansion.com
For more information about West Volusia County, Florida, please visit www.visitwestvolusia.com.