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1887 mansion can be yours

By JERRY W. JACKSON
Sentinel staff writer

Interested in buying a slice of downtown Orlando history?
The Victorian-era home on lake Cherokee known as the O’Neal House will be auctioned off next month to the highest bidder. Built in 1887 and updated through the decades, the Queen Anne-style home and its contents will be sold Oct.7.

And to ensure lots of interest, no minimum bid is required, said auctioneer Alan Frenkel, with Karlin Daniel & Associates in Orlando.
“That makes it exciting,” Frenkel said. “It sends a message to the public that it’s a fair-market value sale. That motivates the market.”

Polished wood floors in the old home whispered softly of the past as Frenkel made a walk-through Wednesday preparing for the auction. in one room, a dark fireplace mantel with ornate carvings of birds and woodland creatures hints at the rural roots of the home, which is depicted in one Orlando postcard dated 1909. A skeleton key said to be an original for the property is framed and hanging on a hallway wall.

The five bedroom, 4 1/2 bath house is one of two surviving homes from six mansions once known collectively as “Honeymoon Row” because prominent young newlyweds lived there along the shores of what used to be called Lake Minnie but now is Lake Cherokee.

The house, at 614 Lake Ave., was listed for sale at one point last year for more than $1.5 million. It is one of about a dozen homes on the city of Orlando’s list of historic landmarks and is in the Lake Cherokee Historic District. As a result, the property comes with deed restrictions that require the owner to seek city permission to make any changes.
“It’s an important home, particularly because of the location – “Honeymoon Row,” said Richard Forbes, the city’s historic preservation officer.

Four of the six original homes on the row were torn down through the years, he said, but city regulations now require the homes to be preserved as much as possible.