House of the Week: Historic Spot in Florida

Erika Riggs
June 26, 2013

8 South St, Titusville FL
For sale: $899,000

Historic properties are a dime a dozen along the upper East Coast, says agent Mike Franklin of Select Sotheby’s International Realty, but in Florida, “they’re a novelty.”

The current novelty on the market is an 1880s home in Titusville, FL. In the 1870s Perry Ellis Wager and his son Ellis Wager settled in a tiny, riverfront community. Seeing a possibility to capture the travelers coming in by steamboat, the Wagers created a steamboat stop with general store.

After serving as a store and rest stop, the Wagers transformed the home into a printing press and began publishing the region’s first newspaper, The Florida Star, until the paper was sold in 1912. The Florida Star is still published today.

The Wagers owned the home until the 1950s when it was sold to another family. From there it passed through a few hands until the current owners picked up the property in 1990.

At the time, the house was neglected and stripped to the studs in places. The owners completed a full remodel — doing their best to keep the home “as is,” while adding modern features.

They added a wrap-around porch and expanded the kitchen but kept the corner office — which once held the newspaper office — largely in its original state.

In agent Franklin’s opinion, it’s the water-facing, wrap-around porch that is the best addition. Situated across the water from Cape Canaveral, the home provides a prime viewing spot for NASA activity.

“You can watch the satellites and space shuttle launch,” Franklin said. “Sit on the widow’s walk and have yourself a drink; it’s pretty cool.”

Measuring 4,500 square feet, the home has 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, an office, expanded living spaces and detached garages.

The listing is held by Joe Janson of Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty.


Erika Riggsa real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here