Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Grisso Mansion

I wonder why we are enamored with famous or wealthy relatives. I imagine we have as many horse thieves or convicts as we do rich and famous. Horse thieves might be fun to discover when they are from a hundred years ago, but recent day felons are not a topic for a genealogy blog. So, we stick with the rich and famous.

We learned many interesting tidbits while touring the mansion with the general manager. She told us she had dreamed of working in this house since she was a young girl. The Grisso Mansion was the talk and envy of several generations of Seminole citizens.

The backside of the mansion with the greenhouse on the right side of the photo.

The front side of this Italian designed mansion.

After returning home, I checked the pages of The Grisso Family book and found an article written in 1977 by someone named Mayme Moore. I do not know from which newspaper this was taken.  I will be using information (that in italics) from this article to describe this elegant 26 room house which was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites by the Department of the Interior in 1976.

Its 26 rooms, built around a courtyard-solarium, include 11,000 square feet of floor space.  Downstairs rooms include the entry hall with its cathedral ceiling, minstrel balconies and a grand staircase; living room, music room, a dining room 30 feet long and 20  feet wide, a breakfast room twice as large as an average kitchen, utility and storage.

One of our favorite stories told by the guide was about breakfast with the Grisso family.  The two youngest children were still at home when the family moved into the mansion.  At breakfast, the children were expected to be seated at the table by 7:00 a.m., completely groomed for the day, and ready to discuss the information in the daily newspaper which they would have already been expected to read.

Such details as marble window sills-except for those of ceramic tile in the bathrooms and kitchen- elaborate plumbing fixtures, an early type shower and heated towel rods give an idea of the quality of plannings.

Furnishings were personally chosen in New York City by Mrs. Grisso with guidance from her decorator.  Woods are dark and polished, the general style massive and elaborate, fabrics exquisite.  The living room carpet was hand-loomed in England.

This house tour is far from over.  We will continue in the next post.  Our guide told us that over the years, they are able to hear great stories from locals who have come to tour the home since it opened to the public. One fellow said he had worked for the Grisso's as one of the many groundskeepers for 20 years, yet he had never been in the house. 

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