The Clouser Cottage is the oldest house established in the heart of Longwood Florida in 1881. This house still stands, but there is a strange theory that people have. They believe that the house still stands, thanks to the fleas in 1881.
The history of Clouser Cottage
It is important to note the fact that the Clouser Cottage was built in Longwood because many people think it is still in New England. Firstly, the Clouser Cottage was known as the Inside-Outside House when it was first built. It got its name due to the odd construction. The house had support studs installed on the outside while the panels were bolted in like a ship-lap. It was the idea of a former sailing captain who took the responsibility of building this house.
His fleet was taken apart, and he finally settled in Sanford FL, where he decided to establish a few cottages near the Snow Station. This place later became the Boston Avenue site, which most people now know as Altamonte Springs. Apart from the fleas, the Central Florida Society for Historic Preservation was also responsible for saving the Clouser Cottage. It didn’t allow bulldozers to take down the house located in the historic district of Longwood. This place now has a Culinary Cottage on 141 W. Church Avenue.
What were the fleas about?
The fleas story goes back to the time when Josiah B. Clouser, the master carpenter, came to Florida. E.W. Henck hired Clouser to supervise the construction of the famous Longwood Hotel. According to historians, Clouser was stationed in Longwood for a significant time when he oversaw the southern section. It was during the time of the Civil War and some of the members of the Northern troops also stayed in the same areas. However, he didn’t stay in Longwood until the Civil War was over.
Clouser came back, thus escaping the first sea of fleas. He, along with his daughter, teenage son, and wife Elizabeth, came to Sanford in November 1881 and stayed at the St. Johns River steamer. There was hardly any food around. All they could gather was a blanket and a bale of hay. That night, the entire family had to share their quarters with wild hogs and a lot of fleas living under the building and in the sand.
It was one of the most horrific nights ever. The next morning, Clouser went looking for a more suitable house for his family. The house that now stands at 218 W. Church Ave. is the one he first built. It had a big kitchen, front and back porches, and a big central room with a loft. He and his family lived there for the next two years. During that time, he built a bigger house.
Both of his constructions still stand and are testaments to the skills of the great master carpenter, Josiah B. Clouser. His biting inspiration of the fleas from Florida is remarkable.
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It was his ambition and hard work that led him to have two of the most iconic houses in the city of Longwood.