In 2005 the Florida Trust rescued the 1910 Hays-Hood House, renamed the Florida Trust House recognizing its role as headquarters for the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Listed in the Florida Master Site File as the finest structure in the Magnolia Heights National Register Historic District, the residence is a one-and-a-half story American Free Classic Queen Anne style. The building features a veranda with paired columns, a turret with an ogee dome and finial, and both a bay and Palladian window. The interior features elaborate fretwork, tiled fireplaces and oak floors and woodwork.
The house was built in 1910 by Jesse and Sarah Hays based on a house in Chicago. Mr. Hays adapted the pattern book design to better suit the South and oversaw the construction. During the 1930s the house was converted into apartments. In 1945 the Hays’s children, Harold and Mary acquired the property and four years later sold it to D. L. “Buck” and Rebecca Hood. Mrs. Hood lived in the house for 55 years, until she offered it to the Florida Trust for preservation.
In September of 2005, stabilization work began, and exactly two years later the Florida Trust completed the project and moved into its new state headquarters. The financial investment totaled more than $745,000, most of which was provided through two back-to-back Special Category grants from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, with assistance from the Florida Historical Commission.
The Florida Trust House is an excellent living showcase of the positive role historic preservation can play for an individual property and for the surrounding neighborhood and community. The project halted demolitions of nearby historic properties and their replacement with new multi-family housing.