The Wonder House
Construction began in 1926 by Conrad Schuck , a building contractor, who was told by doctors in Pittsburg that he was dying. They told him if he moved to a warmer climate he could possibly increase his life expectancy by a couple years. So he moved him and his 9 (yes 9!) children to Bartow, Florida and began to build The Wonder House. Him and his five sons worked on the home for over 10 years!
This home is an architectural dream. The home itself is built on the land it sat on! No seriously. When he broke ground he realized he was digging into bedrock. Wood was hard to come by in the 1920’s so he found a local railway company to sell him scrap metal. Between the bedrock and the scrap metal, he built his home entirely of concrete and stone, reinforced with steel from the railway.
The home’s floor plan is built like a cross, with each room having at least four doors. Every side of the home has porch balconies, so each room opens up to at least 2 porches. When the doors of the rooms are open, it creates an incredible cross breeze that keeps the home super cool (AC before AC existed!) The porches were built with hallow columns to collect rainwater from the roof. It gets a little too engineer-y here for me, but basically this acted as an air conditioning system for the entire home when the rain water would run through the column, it cooled the house off- and watered the plants!
The home features 10,000 square feet of living space on 4 floors with a total of 24 rooms. There are even two additional floors below ground. The doors in each room are handcrafted, each with crystal doorknobs that are turning lavender with age.
Once the home was (mostly) completed, Schuck opened the doors for tours, popular with post-depression era travelers from 1934-1963. Schuck passed away in 1971, living to be 94 years old. So much for one year to live! The most ironic thing of all? Schuck and his family never lived in the home! He never thought the home was complete enough for his family to move in.
The home was purchased in 1964 by the DuCharme family. They continued to work on the home, finally completing construction and even installing central air. The DuCharme family opened the home for tours in the 80’s and 90’s during Christmastime. In 2011, it fell into foreclosure and sat vacant for 5 years. In 2015, the property was purchased by a couple for just $162,000 at the Florida property auction. Since then, they’ve been working tirelessly to renovate the entire home, bringing it back to its former glory.
The coolest part? This home is available for tours! All the tour proceeds go to renovating the home. What can you expect? An in depth, 2 hour tour with the owners themselves full of oddities and curiosities abound. Like Condrad Schuck himself, the owners are avid collectors of preserved bugs, taxidermy animals, and various other spooky bits and bobs. They are extremely passionate about their home! Please note: This is their permanent, private residence. Click here for details.
So why is it rumored to be haunted? Anything abandoned tends to have rumors of hauntings. The owner herself actually said, there’s no “permanent” residents, but they do have visitors that pass through from time to time.
Would I stay the night here? Absolutely!
Would I live here? In an nanosecond- where do I sign the contract and how quickly can we close? (I am entirely obsessed with this place