Page 1


James Gamble Rogers

Casa Feliz is available to rent for weddings, parties, business meetings and events. Its unique features provide the perfect backdrop for a truly memorable

James Gamble Rogers II (1901-1990) was one of the defining architects of Winter Park, helping to lend the community its distinctive character. Born in Winnetka, Illinois and educated at Dartmouth College, Rogers trained at his father's Daytona Beach architectural firm until James Gamble Rogers II

1928, when he opened a practice in

Winter Park. Over the next seventy years, his name would become synonymous with traditional residential architecture in the growing community. His style flowed effortlessly from French Provincial to Spanish Colonial. As his firm grew, Rogers' work expanded to commercial and government projects, although his true passion was the human scale of residential dwellings. Some of his best-known buildings include the Florida State Supreme Court Building (1949) in Tallahassee and the Olin Library on the Rollins Campus, which he drew with a still-steady hand at age 85. Other Winter Park landmarks designed by Rogers include the Greeneda Court shopping area on Park Avenue and the Holt and Mizener homes. Rogers was the recipient of the 1984 Hamilton Holt Medal presented by Rollins College in recognition of "a neighbor and friend, whose talents have given shape and character to our campus for nearly four decades." An excellent synopsis of his life and work is the 2004 biography “The Architecture of James Gamble Rogers II in Winter Park, Florida,” by Patrick and Debra McClane.

event. The main house can accommodate groups of up to 120. The garden room, which is detached from the main house, is available for smaller functions. Rates vary depending on the day and length of rental. For pricing and availability, please contact Event Designer, Melissa Burtram at or 407.628.0230.

Casa Feliz Historic

Home Museum

656 Park Avenue North Winter Park, Florida

Open to the Public

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am - 12 noon “Music at the Casa” Sunday Open House 12 noon - 3 pm

Friends of

Casa Feliz The Friends of Casa Feliz is the non-profit organization which funded the move and restoration of this historic home, and which currently operates and maintains the facility. No municipal funds go to support Casa Feliz–the house is funded solely through rental income and generous contributions from individuals and corporate patrons. Further, the group is committed to hosting programs and special events which support the maintenance and preservation of the community’s rich architectural and historic resources. If you are interested in joining the Friends please contact Betsy Owens at 407.628.8200, ext 1 or mailing address: P.O. Box 591 Winter Park, FL 32790 phone: 407.628.8200 email: web:

“Preservationists are the only people in the world who

are invariably confirmed in their wisdom after the fact.”

- John Kenneth Galbraith





2001 - 2005

In 2001, in order to save the

Casa Feliz, or “Happy House” in Spanish, is the signature residential work of noted architect James Gamble Rogers II. Initially known as the Robert Bruce Barbour


Barbour Estate, this Andalusian-style

masonry farmhouse has significantly influenced the architectural and cultural aspects of its community over the past 75 years. In 1915, Robert Bruce Barbour moved to Winter Park from Massachusetts. A chemical engineer, he acquired the rights to manufacture and distribute bluing, an additive used in laundry detergents. In 1932, when he commissioned Rogers to design a home on Lake Osceola, the young architect described it as “a dream come true.” Barbour told Rogers, “Design it any way you like. If I don’t like it, I’ll sell it.” He traveled around the world while Rogers led the team of craftsmen in the construction. Rogers set up his drawing board at the site, rolling up his shirtsleeves to help with the carpentry and masonry. The house cost $28,000 to build. The resulting home was cherished not only


Barbour, but by the community as well. Throughout its history, it has hosted garden club tours, symphony orchestra concerts, poetry social meetings and a dinner for author Sinclair Lewis. Today, it is widely regarded as the finest



Spanish eclectic style.


As with a Spanish cortijo, the organization of the house is a

house from demolition, Casa

series of rectangular spaces centered around an interior


courtyard, invisible from the exterior of the house.The bricks used







across to on

its Park

Avenue. The house weighs 750 tons (that's 1,500,000 pounds!) and its move was one of the most dramatic events in Winter Park's modern history. Casa Feliz rode on 20 pneumatically leveled dollies, each with eight tires and a separate steering axle. A 50 ton winch, mounted on the bed of a World War II work truck and driven by a 1200 horsepower diesel, was anchored by a frontloader with its blade buried in the ground. An elaborate pulley system moved the house about 75 feet per hour on a leveled path of gravel, plywood, and heavy wooden timbers. The 100 foot long structure was turned 90 degrees for the 300 yard trip to its final location, next to the ninth fairway of the golf course and near the city’s croquet lawn. Once the house was positioned in its new location, restoration began. Highly skilled craftsmen and artisans worked to return it to its original 1933 condition. Copies of the original plans by James Gamble Rogers II and interior photographs taken by Harold Haliday Costain in 1934 were used to ensure authenticity.

to build the house were originally part of the Orlando Armory, which was razed shortly before Casa Feliz was constructed. The roof tiles, arguably the crowning glory of the house, were handmade by peasants in Barcelona in the early 1920s. Laborers would form the clay over their thighs, giving the resulting tiles the proper contour, and providing a rich variation in size and shape. Gamble Rogers wanted the finished house to look several hundred years old, a goal he accomplished in several ways. A perceptible 6-inch sag was incorporated in the Casa’s roofline, simulating the settling of a roof over time. To the side of the loggia, Rogers carefully added ‘crumbling’ arches, constructed of bricks, which resemble the deteriorating features of ancient ruins. Legend has it that as the house neared completion, Mr. Barbour stopped Rogers in the midst of chipping away plaster from the pointed archway on the port cocher. Rogers assured Barbour that he was simply aging the house, trying to create the look of a passageway that had been damaged by carriages too tall to pass underneath. Moving inside, the house boasts a large entrance hall, which the Barbours would use to receive guests at their frequent soirees. Random-width oak flooring was installed throughout the house, along with thick, plaster walls, both of which remain in good shape today. The vaulted ceilings in the main room and dining room feature hand-hewn heart pine, anchored with wooden pegs. The human scale of Rogers’ design lends the feeling of hominess to a structure that approaches 6,000 square feet. Opened in 2009, the James Gamble Rogers II Studio tells the story of Rogers’ life and work. The four upstairs bedrooms each feature a private bath and walk-in closet, unusual for a house built in the 1930s. Two bedrooms lead to an L-shaped balcony overlooking the interior courtyard, perhaps the most romantic detail of a house which feels like it sprung from the pages of a storybook. We hope you enjoy your visit to Casa Feliz, and return again and again!

Casa Feliz History Brochure  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you