Harry P. Leu, the namesake of Leu Botanical Gardens in Audubon Park, is one of Orlando’s most memorable residents.

In 1926 Leu purchased four acres of land next to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Garland Street and converted an old plant into his base of operations; a hardware and mill building supply shop.

There are reports of Leu being kidnapped in 1939 while exiting his shop. Three armed men, made off with his cash and his car, the latter of which was found in Tallahassee. He made it through unscathed, although the men were thrown in jail.

Leu, along with his wife Mary Jane, purchased sixty acres on Lake Rowena, and filled them with exotic plants from their trips around the world; Leu Gardens.

The Harry P. Leu building has served as the home of Orlando Weekly, H20 Church, and the Edge. Now it is home to the first American location of the Ace Cafe, which opens on May 19.

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Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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