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History & Restoration of the
Florida Trust House


Built in 1910 by Jesse and Sarah Hays, the house was one of the first homes in the Magnolia Heights area of Tallahassee. Mr. Hays chose the design from an architectural plan catalog of designs by George F. Barber & Co. Specializing in serving a mail-order clientele, Barber’s company produced catalogs “giving floor plans of a convenient and practical character, and exterior designs of artistic merit in the various prevailing styles.” Mr. Hays slightly adapted the design to better suit the southern setting and oversaw the construction.

Original historic fabric remains in the home, with much of it purchased through Sears & Roebuck Builders Catalog. Listed by the Florida Master Site File as the finest structure in Magnolia Heights, the home is one-and-a-half story.

Typically referred to as Queen Anne style, it is actually a variant of the style called American Free Classic Queen Anne. The home features a veranda with paired columns, a turret with an ogee dome and finial, and both a bay and Palladian window.

During the 1930s, the home was converted into apartments. The Hays’ children Harold and Mary acquired the home in 1945. In 1949, Mr. and Mrs. D.L. “Buck” Hood purchased the property. After her husband’s death, Rebecca Hood continued to live in the home until it was sold to the Florida Trust in 2005.


In September of 2005, stabilization work began, and exactly two years later the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation completed the project and moved into its new headquarters. The restoration totaled more than $745,000, with the majority of funds awarded through the Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, Special Category Grants, as well as through private donations.

Phase I included stabilization and selective demolition, interior protection, removal and re-sheathing of the roof framing, interior stripping of interior drywall and paneling, removal of insulation, demolition of existing electrical and upgrades to existing mechanical systems. In addition, interior electrical rewiring, HVAC on first floor, installation of fire/sprinkler/monitoring systems, and non-period ceiling finishes were removed and restored, existing handicapped ramp was removed, the upstairs hallway closet for the mechanical systems was created and interior paint stripping began.

Phase II included insulating the exterior walls, roof and under the floor, mechanical and electrical rough-ins, installation of drywall, plaster, trim, ceramic tile, priming and first coats of paint, installation of cabinets and specialties, finishing paint application and staining, refinishing floors, installation of doors and hardware, mechanical and electrical trimming, final inspections, handicapped parking and landscape and irrigation systems.

The Florida Trust House is an excellent living showcase of the positive impact historic preservation has not only on an individual property but also for the surrounding neighborhood and community. Especially noteworthy is the careful craftsmanship that restored the ceiling, floor, staircase, fireplace, and the unique carpentry found throughout the home.

Today, we continue the work of maintaining and protecting this important historic home. If you would like to be a part of the continued preservation of this important historic home, we accept donations specifically for the care of the Florida Trust House.

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