After the secession of Florida in January 1861, Capt. Benjamin Powell recruited enough local Florida men to form three companies in the Confederate States Army. After the Civil War ended, Powell returned to Florida, where he built a home in a small, inland town now known as Micanopy.
“The really unique thing about this home is that the heart pine that was used to build it is still standing,” says listing agent Trey Anderson. “This wood is over 150 years old, and you won’t have to worry about it rotting.”
Heart pine was extremely popular because of its strength and ability to withstand the elements. Its popularity nearly drove the trees used for the wood to extinction. Today, the only way to acquire the rare wood is by reclaiming it from old homes and factories, or scouring rivers for sunken logs.
“Many of the doors and the fixtures are original,” says Anderson of the Powell house. The walls have shiplap design, which was popular with the shipbuilders who were early settlers in the area. The style of the home is called “Victorian/Cracker,” which has raised a few questions.
“Crackers are what early Florida settlers are called,” Anderson explains. “Their homes were pretty simple and functional, but this home has a bit of Victorian influence as well. It’s not as fancy as a traditional Victorian, but it kept some of those quintessential Victorian elements.”
Fancy or not, the home had some ingenious planning behind it. Florida is hot most of the year, stiflingly so. But unlike new developments, which razed trees willy-nilly to make space, older homes were strategically planned to be shielded from the sun’s blistering heat, which was essential before the existence of air conditioning.
“Powell house was built under a canopy of trees so that it stays cool, even in the summer months,” says Anderson.
The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The kitchen and two bathrooms have been carefully updated to maintain the style of the home, and the rest of the house is in beautiful condition as well. Built-in bookcases adorn the main living space, and gorgeous hardwood flooring runs throughout the home. In the backyard, there’s a cottage with its own kitchen and bedroom.
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