The historic home was built in 1885 and saved from demolition by cutting it into two pieces and floating it across Lake Osceola to its new home on the grounds of the museum. The ambitious move was recognized by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation with an Organizational Achievement Award in 2014 and by the City of Winter Park with a Historic Preservation Award for Excellence in Commercial Renovation in 2016.
The first resident of the home was early Winter Park civic leader James Seymour Capen and his family, for whom Capen Avenue in downtown Winter Park is named. The Capen House was originally located on Interlachen Drive about two blocks from Park Avenue before it was threatened with demolition in July 2013 to make way for a private development.
The Winter Park History Museum, the Friends of Casa Feliz, and the Albin Polasek Museum worked together to save and move the house. After two years of moving and renovations, the house was officially opened to the public in October 2015.
Polasek, the namesake of the museum, was close friends with descendants of James Seymour Capen when he lived in Chicago and created sculptures of them, many of which are now on display in the house.
In the past five years, nearly 20,000 people have enjoyed the historic charm of Capen House. It has hosted weddings, showers, birthdays, and more. The Capen House is currently closed for public tours due to COVID-19, but a video tour is available on the Polasek Museum’s YouTube channel or at the bottom of this post.
Capen House is accepting inquiries for small rental events following COVID-19 safety protocols and is located at 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park [GMap].