The Goodwood Museum celebrates the rebuilt water tower with a preservation party

Although Americans don’t have a history like the Egyptians, Romans or our British cousins, some devotees like to preserve what we have.

We have the core curators who administer the Goodwood Foundation and the Margaret E. Wilson Foundation. For nearly 25 years, the maintenance and continued physical integrity of the Goodwood Estate has been the mantra for sharing the property’s past glories with the community – a past dating back to 1824.

Goodwood may not be “ancient,” but it’s a connection to our state’s early days that’s treasured — a fact noted by the property’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Improvements to the water tower at the Goodwood Museum and Gardens, September 2022.

Goodwood Museum and Gardens and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation will celebrate a historic preservation victory with the restoration of one of Goodwood’s iconic architectural features. A “Preservation Party for the Old Water Tower” reception will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Thursday, September 22.

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In 2019, the Goodwood Museum’s water tower, built between 1910 and 1920, was in danger of collapsing. The century-old structure, once emblematic of North Florida’s wealthy patrons, was badly damaged in 1985 by Hurricane Kate. The tower was included in the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 to Save program, which recognizes and advocates for the rehabilitation of historic sites under threat.

The wooden water tower, a ‘modern necessity’, was built by then-owner Fanny Tiers after she purchased the property in 1911. Tiers was a wealthy widow who loved the 160 acres of hilly land in the North Florida that she used for entertainment. guests and escape the harsh winters.

Goodwood Museum & Gardens will host a symposium with Felder Rushing on March 11.

Tiers made numerous modifications to the original cotton plantation house – adding Georgian columns and giving it an archetypical “Mount Vernon” style. She also added a swimming pool, a carriage house, guest rooms – and apparently, to elegantly accommodate the plumbing needs of moving all that water around for guests, she built a water tower to house the well, the cistern and the water pump.

From the original United States gift to the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824 for his help in the Revolutionary War, to his sale of part of the 23,000 acres to North Carolinians Hardy and his brother Bryan Croom, the property where now finds Goodwood would begin an evolution to the current lookout on the busy Miccosukee Road.

The 10,000 square foot house we see today was completed in 1858 under the owner, Arvah Hopkins, with the help of slaves. Many of them will remain as sharecroppers after the civil war. Although the square footage varied through many new buyers, it appeared that each owner treated Goodwood with love.

Following its extensive renovations, Madame Tiers moved to Paris in 1925. State Senator William Hodges and his young wife purchased the property. Upon her death, she remarried Colonel Thomas Hood, who would ensure that Goodwood’s integrity remained. Hood lived in the house after his wife’s death until 1990. But rather than bequeath it to the state of Florida, Hood established the Margaret E. Wilson Foundation (her maiden name).

Today, thousands of annual visitors wander the grounds, tour the rooms of the house, and hold events ranging from weddings to dinner parties to musical events on the property. There are 20 pre-war shaped structures nestled together in Goodwood, built over the past 110 years. Every Tallahassee resident is precious. The water tower is one of them.

Construction phases of the Goodwood Museum water tower.

Everything you need to know about the water tower

1. Who carried out the rehabilitation of the tower?

The architect was Barnett, Fronczak, Barlow and Shuler. The general contractor is CSI.

2. Tower height?

Just over 50′ (50’1.5″)

3. Are there any interior pump mechanisms in there now?

The Paul deep well pump was removed for restoration. The work will be carried out at the State Archives Preservation Laboratory

4. How did the pump actually deliver water to the pool and for irrigation?

The 4th floor of the structure contained a 30,000 gallon wooden water tank. The mechanism for moving water from the reservoir to the buildings was gravity.

Construction phases of the Goodwood Museum water tower.

5. How many months did it take to restore the tower?

Demolition began last fall and removed all damaged materials down to the steel frame. We were surprised to find the CARNEGIE stamp embossed on it. The construction phase has been going on for about 6 months.

6. What was the final cost of the project?

Initial estimates were around $270,000 to complete the project. The majority of these funds came from the City of Tallahassee Historic Preservation Grants and Loans Program and the Culture and Arts Council’s Cultural Facilities Grant Program.

The pandemic led to cost increases that more than doubled the cost of the project. The Goodwood board embarked on a fundraising campaign to complete the project. With 100% board attendance and matching challenges from Nancy and Gene Phipps and Cindy G. Phipps, the exterior and main floor are nearly 100% complete.

Goodwood continues to seek funding to fully complete the interior and install simple landscaping around this historic landmark.

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Joseph K. Bennett