How does it feel to take apart the house you grew up in? Ask Keith Keene. Piece by piece over the past few months, he has deconstructed the house at 618 N. Orange St. because the termites and other damage had rendered the rehabilitation of the structure cost prohibitive. “There were days I couldn’t get anything done because people came by,” he said. They were old friends, acquaintances, and strangers who wanted to talk about the project. “No one offered to help me,” he noted with a wry smile. “When I was taking it down, I found so many neat things,” he said. Inside a bathroom wall, he found a bottle of Shinola Shoe Polish that recalled the old jab about one’s ignorance: “You don’t know sfrom Shinola.” One brick from the chimney is marked Harry and another with the date May 14-11 — possibly dating it to 1911. A Tampa Daily Times from July 5, 1916, cemented to the underside of a concrete mantel suggested a construction date, but the house was probably built before that when its classic board-and-batten siding was popular. The house was located on Lots 1 and 2 of Block 3 in Gibson and Smith’s Addition to Arcadia, platted in 1889 by James S. Gibson and his wife Laura Gibson joined by Dr. Luby Smith and his wife, Minnie L. Smith, according to Plat Book 1, p. 64. They named the northernmost street Gibson and the southernmost Smith although it was later changed to Whidden St. In 1903, William H. Kelly, a 48-year-old carpenter, purchased for $100 — and the payment of the 1903 property taxes — Lots 1-6, Block 3, at the corner of Gibson St. and N. Orange Ave., according to Deed Book 48, p. 224. In the 1900 U.S. Census, the widower lived with his daughter, Hughie Weaver, age 24; son-in-law Byron, age 32, a day laborer; and their son, Forrest, age 1. Perhaps Kelly hoped to build houses on the lots. However, on Nov. 2, 1905, he sold the lots for $250 to Bartlett M. Bean, as recorded in DB 56, p. 66. Bean served as the first superintendent — and his wife Jennie as the first matron — of the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, known locally as the orphanage, across Gibson St. from the property. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Rev. Bean, age 64, and his wife, age 54, lived at FBCH along with his sisters Fannie Bean, age 62, and Mary Caloway, age 66, both employed as teachers. The Rev. Bean died in 1911. According to Howard Melton in Footprints and Landmarks: Arcadia and DeSoto County, Florida, FBCH eventually operated a dairy, canning plant, print shop and laundry. Eight buildings were located on 80 acres. The children learned academic subjects as well as skills such as stenography, sewing, mechanics and telegraphy. The institution moved to Lakeland in 1948. Keene remembered when he was a teenager camping with his friends in the old dairy barn. On March 23, 1906, Mr. and Mrs. Bean sold lots 1 and 2 to Joseph Edmund McIntosh (1860-1945) for $130, according to DB 60, p. 22. The March 30, 1906, DeSoto County News reported that “Rev. J. E. McIntosh of Tampa who has been spending some time in our city has decided to locate here and has purchased two lots from Rev. B. M. Bean, located near the Orphan’s Home, and will build at an early date.” The June 21, 1906 issue of The Champion announced the marriage of “Miss Edith Nash to Rev. J. E. McIntosh, of Arcadia. The newly wed pair have already arrived in Arcadia, where the Reverend gentleman has completed a cosy home, out near the orphanage.” The deed from the Beans was not filed until Feb. 9, 1907, five days before the Rev. McIntosh sold the two lots to William E. Leitner and Albert J. Dozier for $1,000 as recorded in DB 60, p. 48. The purchase price suggests that the home had been built. Indeed, Keene found boards with “J. E. McIntosh written on them in very fancy cursive writing.” With degrees from Stetson and Mercer universities, Attorney Leitner (1874-1945) arrived in Arcadia in 1899. His younger brothers George and Sumter later joined him, and they formed the Leitner and Leitner law firm. In 1911, William married Jessie Edmondson of Tallahassee. They lived at 520 W. Oak St. across from 521, owned by his cousin A. J. Dozier (1877-1949). Dozier first invested in — and managed — the Arcadia Mercantile Company. Then in 1907, he sold out and opened A. J. Dozier, Inc. He employed his two brothers — J.B. “Doc,” who kept the books, and Sullivan, who served as a clerk of the men’s department — plus his wife, Lizzie Mae (1892-1967), in clothing for ladies. An unusual feature of 618 N. Orange Ave. was a brick fireplace, covered in concrete and topped with a concrete mantel. Although Joseph Aspdin patented Portland Cement in 1824, it was used primarily for industrial buildings because it was “considered socially unacceptable as a building material for aesthetic reasons.” Keene always believed the “concrete fireplace” belied his family’s modest means. However, in 1916-1917, the American Steel and Wire Company of Pittsburgh, PA, built concrete homes for workers that became known as “Cement City.” This well-publicized event may have been the inspiration for covering the red-brick fireplace with cement and casting a concrete mantel that holds the Tampa newspaper dated 1916. Perhaps the concrete fireplace was made by Gabriel B. Russell, a photographer, who lived with his wife Margaret E. Russell in the home according to the 1915 and 1917 Arcadia City directories. They must have rented before they purchased it for $1,500 on July 3, 1917, as recorded in DB 119, p. 72. Next week: Part 2 — Russell sells the house to A. P. Hollingsworth.

How does it feel to take apart the house you grew up in? Ask Keith Keene. Piece by piece over the past few months, he has deconstructed the house at 618 N. Orange St. because the termites and other damage had rendered the rehabilitation of the structure cost prohibitive.

“There were days I couldn’t get anything done because people came by,” he said. They were old friends, acquaintances, and strangers who wanted to talk about the project. “No one offered to help me,” he noted with a wry smile.

“When I was taking it down, I found so many neat things,” he said. Inside a bathroom wall, he found a bottle of Shinola Shoe Polish that recalled the old jab about one’s ignorance: “You don’t know sfrom Shinola.”

One brick from the chimney is marked Harry and another with the date May 14-11 — possibly dating it to 1911. A Tampa Daily Times from July 5, 1916, cemented to the underside of a concrete mantel suggested a construction date, but the house was probably built before that when its classic board-and-batten siding was popular.

The house was located on Lots 1 and 2 of Block 3 in Gibson and Smith’s Addition to Arcadia, platted in 1889 by James S. Gibson and his wife Laura Gibson joined by Dr. Luby Smith and his wife, Minnie L. Smith, according to Plat Book 1, p. 64. They named the northernmost street Gibson and the southernmost Smith although it was later changed to Whidden St.

In 1903, William H. Kelly, a 48-year-old carpenter, purchased for $100 — and the payment of the 1903 property taxes — Lots 1-6, Block 3, at the corner of Gibson St. and N. Orange Ave., according to Deed Book 48, p. 224. In the 1900 U.S. Census, the widower lived with his daughter, Hughie Weaver, age 24; son-in-law Byron, age 32, a day laborer; and their son, Forrest, age 1. Perhaps Kelly hoped to build houses on the lots.

However, on Nov. 2, 1905, he sold the lots for $250 to Bartlett M. Bean, as recorded in DB 56, p. 66. Bean served as the first superintendent — and his wife Jennie as the first matron — of the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, known locally as the orphanage, across Gibson St. from the property. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Rev. Bean, age 64, and his wife, age 54, lived at FBCH along with his sisters Fannie Bean, age 62, and Mary Caloway, age 66, both employed as teachers. The Rev. Bean died in 1911.

According to Howard Melton in Footprints and Landmarks: Arcadia and DeSoto County, Florida, FBCH eventually operated a dairy, canning plant, print shop and laundry. Eight buildings were located on 80 acres. The children learned academic subjects as well as skills such as stenography, sewing, mechanics and telegraphy. The institution moved to Lakeland in 1948. Keene remembered when he was a teenager camping with his friends in the old dairy barn.

On March 23, 1906, Mr. and Mrs. Bean sold lots 1 and 2 to Joseph Edmund McIntosh (1860-1945) for $130, according to DB 60, p. 22. The March 30, 1906, DeSoto County News reported that “Rev. J. E. McIntosh of Tampa who has been spending some time in our city has decided to locate here and has purchased two lots from Rev. B. M. Bean, located near the Orphan’s Home, and will build at an early date.”

The June 21, 1906 issue of The Champion announced the marriage of “Miss Edith Nash to Rev. J. E. McIntosh, of Arcadia. The newly wed pair have already arrived in Arcadia, where the Reverend gentleman has completed a cosy home, out near the orphanage.”

The deed from the Beans was not filed until Feb. 9, 1907, five days before the Rev. McIntosh sold the two lots to William E. Leitner and Albert J. Dozier for $1,000 as recorded in DB 60, p. 48. The purchase price suggests that the home had been built. Indeed, Keene found boards with “J. E. McIntosh written on them in very fancy cursive writing.”

With degrees from Stetson and Mercer universities, Attorney Leitner (1874-1945) arrived in Arcadia in 1899. His younger brothers George and Sumter later joined him, and they formed the Leitner and Leitner law firm. In 1911, William married Jessie Edmondson of Tallahassee. They lived at 520 W. Oak St. across from 521, owned by his cousin A. J. Dozier (1877-1949).

Dozier first invested in — and managed — the Arcadia Mercantile Company. Then in 1907, he sold out and opened A. J. Dozier, Inc. He employed his two brothers — J.B. “Doc,” who kept the books, and Sullivan, who served as a clerk of the men’s department — plus his wife, Lizzie Mae (1892-1967), in clothing for ladies.

An unusual feature of 618 N. Orange Ave. was a brick fireplace, covered in concrete and topped with a concrete mantel. Although Joseph Aspdin patented Portland Cement in 1824, it was used primarily for industrial buildings because it was “considered socially unacceptable as a building material for aesthetic reasons.” Keene always believed the “concrete fireplace” belied his family’s modest means.

However, in 1916-1917, the American Steel and Wire Company of Pittsburgh, PA, built concrete homes for workers that became known as “Cement City.” This well-publicized event may have been the inspiration for covering the red-brick fireplace with cement and casting a concrete mantel that holds the Tampa newspaper dated 1916.

Perhaps the concrete fireplace was made by Gabriel B. Russell, a photographer, who lived with his wife Margaret E. Russell in the home according to the 1915 and 1917 Arcadia City directories. They must have rented before they purchased it for $1,500 on July 3, 1917, as recorded in DB 119, p. 72.

Next week: Part 2 — Russell sells the house to A. P. Hollingsworth.

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