While looking for a place to take my visiting parents this past Sunday, I remembered an article I had read in a local newspaper about Lilian Place, a historical home in Daytona Beach that had recently been restored and opened to the public. Built in 1884, Lilian Place is the oldest house on Daytona’s beachside.
Its unique design is classified as Italianate High Victorian architecture. And that yellow and green paint? Apparently common colors during the Victorian age.
Here are a few interesting things about the house’s history:
- The house was built by Laurence and Mary Eliza Thompson, who moved to the area from Cincinnati, Ohio. Laurence was an early entrepreneur, first opening a General Store then later a real estate and insurance partnership. The Thompsons had three children, the youngest of which, Lilian, is the namesake of the property.
- In 2002, the new owners turned the house into a Bed and Breakfast. After the wife died, the husband returned to New York and left the house to deteriorate. The Heritage Preservation Trust took it over in December 2009 and is continuing to restore it to its 1880s glory.
- There have been several reports of ghostly encounters at Lilian Place, one concerning a young lady named Lucille. As far as anyone can tell, Lucille was a woman spurned by her fiancé, a former resident of Lilian Place.
- Perhaps the property’s biggest claim to fame is its literary significance. After his boat sank on December 31, 1896, Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, made it to shore and sought refuge for a few weeks at Lilian Place. As a result of his experience, he wrote his famous short story, The Open Boat.
If only I had known about this place when it was still a Bed and Breakfast! Old, quaint, and potentially haunted. What a great combination.