Who built the home at 313 W. Oak? According to the 1926 Arcadia city directory, Michael Schlossberg (1882-1942) lived there with his wife Ida (1884-1934) and son, Nathaniel, who was old enough to have a separate listing as a student. In 1924, he was photographed as a member of the DeSoto County High School football team.
Michael was the proprietor of Schlossberg’s, a variety store at 30 W. Oak St. He advertised his merchandise as “Five, Ten, Twenty-Five Cents and Up-to-$5.00 Specialities, Men’s and Women’s Wear, Everything for the Household Except Furniture.” In 1929, the store moved to 25 W. Oak St. After his father’s death in 1942, Nathaniel and his wife Thelma owned and operated the store. It was remodeled in 1950, and they celebrated the business’s 60th anniversary in 1972.
The Schlossbergs in Arcadia, according to the 1920 U.S. Census, owned and operated a “Ten-Cent Store” where his wife Ida worked as a clerk. They lived in the Graystone House at 21 W. Magnolia Ave. Born in Austria, Michael Schlossberg had immigrated to the U.S. in 1895 and was naturalized in 1901.
In the 1921 city directory, Michael Schlossberg is listed as owning a store selling “notions” (small, useful items). He and Ida lived at 122 S. Pasco Ave. That year he purchased a home for $10,000 from Robert E. Whidden, “joined by his wife Mamie M. Whidden,” and the 4-acre block bounded by Oak Street, Monroe Avenue, Magnolia Street and Orange Avenue. Schlossberg moved the Whidden home, featured on the front page of the June 13, 1907, Champion newspaper, to the corner of Oak and Orange and remodeled it into the Hibiscus Apartments. According to “Footprints and Landmarks: Arcadia and DeSoto County,” author Howard Melton and his wife Velma lived in one of the apartments in 1941. The structure burned in the 1970s.
In 1922, Schlossberg built a store at 201 W. Oak St., and to the west of that structure an arcade in 1923. Trinity Methodist Church had built a brick sanctuary at 304 W. Oak St. in 1921, and Schlossberg purchased the old wooden church to remodel into apartments. On May 6, the Enterprise newspaper reported: “When this building is completed, Arcadia will have eight more homes for the housing of the officers and soldiers of Carlstrom field close to the Hotel Gordon and within a block of the business district. We wish to congratulate Mr. Schlossberg on his up-to-date spirit in providing homes for our military men and making a much needed improvement in our housing facilities.”
The contractor, J. V. Haigler, who had supervised the Methodist church construction, had drawn the blueprints for the remodeling and prepared the old church to move across the street, when it mysteriously burned as reported in the June 3 newspaper. So Schlossberg constructed the Poinsettia Apartments—now known as the Veranda House at 305 W. Oak St.—on two of three lots he had purchased from Dr. Robert L. Cline (1872-1942). Howard Melton said that he and his wife lived in one of the apartments when they were first married.
Listed as single in the 1910 U.S. Census for Arcadia, Dr. Cline married Nilwon Nowlin Cline (1885-1985), and they had three sons, according to the 1920 census. In the early 1920s, they moved to Lakeland and are buried there.
The Veranda House has characteristics of the bungalow style—gabled or hipped lowpitched roof, deep eaves with exposed rafters and decorative knee braces, large porches with substantial columns, many doors and windows opening onto porches, plus shed, hipped, or gabled dormers. The Veranda House is unusual in adapting the bungalow style for an apartment building. Schlossberg’s home, 313 W. Oak St., also has bungalow-stye characteristics but is constructed of red brick—unlike the apartments or any nearby house.
Schlossberg achieved other milestones. In “More Footprints and Landmarks: Arcadia and DeSoto County, Florida,” Melton wrote, “Many regard the Plaza Hotel as Schlossberg’s finest achievement. [In 1926,] it was erected at a cost $100,000 and was a landmark building in Arcadia.” Located at 9 W. Magnolia St., it is the city’s only 1920s-era hotel still standing. It is at the corner of U.S. Highway 17 and today houses a restaurant and other businesses.