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Snively Mansion Historical by Ed2012-04-05 09:39:11

Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
The State has the right to let LL do what they want on the so-called "protected land" and the County will not object. Even the most ardent fan of CG would have to admit that the Plantation Gardens have no historical value. The State has already let "protected" land be used for part of Miniland - no difference.

The Plantation Gardens are no longer gardens and have not been for a long time. The Snively Mansion is not used and the need for such a large scenic background escapes me even if it is eventually used for something. If LL had hundreds of acres available - wasting land on large scenic backgrounds may be a consideration but it doesn't.

LL already has ice cream stands and the LL park plus the actual historic gardens already give a massive area with scenic backgrounds and to take a stroll. They would even have a bigger area if they opened the rest of the historic gardens they have closed off.

As always different views and opinions. The reality is LL, the State and County will do what they deem is "best" and what they can get away with. If the Miniland area proved anything it was "protected land" is subject to change.

re: Snively Mansion Historical by Sean2012-04-06 21:14:02


Is there anything in the Law Blog about not being allowed to build habitable buildings or somesuch?
Here's what the blog had to say about the conservation easement on the protected parcel:
The Protected Parcel must be operated to maintain its “conservation values.” The term “conservation values” is not well defined from a legal perspective, but the concept is discussed at length in the document. It basically means all those things that make Cypress Gardens culturally significant. The owner has some leeway to modify and improve as long as these “conservation values” are protected. This portion of the agreement is where both the State and Merlin would have some room to maneuver as future plans are considered.
Miniland covers a small portion of land that was originally used for the Gardens of the World (GOTW) exhibit. In addition to plantings, the area contained structures reminiscent of other countries such as a Dutch windmill, a Grecian Stage, and Italian Fountains. Other elements added to this area at one time included a giant sundial and a large horse statue.

Most of the GOTW displays disappeared over time and were replaced with topiary sculptures that consisted of flowers planted on a wire frame work. This area was never really a botanical garden but more of a showcase of artistic work--both floral and architectural. I believe Miniland was allowed in this area since it continues the tradition of having an artistic attraction created for its viewing pleasure versus one built for thrills or commerce.

The backyard of the Snively Mansion is another matter. Building hotel structures, retail buidings, rides, etc. in the backyard would totally destroy the iconic look of a Southern mansion with a beautiful lakefront view. This area can be landscaped with some lego touches in a way that is pleasing to adults as well as children. Ed obviously doesn't think the southern charm is worth preserving...I hope the State and County think otherwise.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Ed2012-04-09 09:35:00

Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
Snively Mansion is not a historical building and it is not a historical Southern Mansion. It is not even remotely related to Florida Southern charm and adds no value to LL or the historic Cypress Gardens. To me if LL can make bettter use of the building and the no longer existing "plantation gardens" for a resort, another attraction or LL expansion - makes perfect sense to me. We just disagree and our opinions are really worthless. It is up to the State, County and LL what will happen in the future and what "forever protected" conversation easements will be changed.

If one wants to worry about something with actual historical significants - worry about the parts of the actual historic original gardens that still have sections closed.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Sean2012-04-09 18:42:59


Too bad Ed wasn't around back in the early 1970s to tell Dick Pope he was wasting his money renovating the Snively Mansion to look like an authentic Southern mansion. Ed would have tutored Mr. Pope that he failed to create anything that remotely conveyed the look of the old South and that it would have been better to build new attractions in the backyard.

The Plantation Gardens was a landscaping exhibit that Busch built in the early 90s. Prior to that, the area was simply called the Great Lawn. Whatever landscaping term you want to use, the main thing was the area was maintained in a way that complemented the mansion. Ed's suggestions would completely ruin the old South look. Right now this area is used for school group lunches and special events. Better to leave it that way than to destroy the southern charm that was associated with Cypress Gardens.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Ed2012-04-10 11:45:45

Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
It is not 1970, it is now LL and not CG, Pope is long gone and the family sold CG so even they weren't into preserving anything, it is not a historical building or a historical manison, a "great lawn" is not historical, and Florida was never part of the "Old South" that "Gone With the Wind" was portraying. The building and lawn was a nice prop in it's day but that day is long gone and there is no historical value - charm is not historical value. There is nothing historical to save in a 1970 made to look alike on the outside only mansion or lawn.

Sean I realize you loved everything about the 1970 expansion of the old historic CG gardens so you will never agree with me, I just honestly believe that LL should be allowed (if they wish to) to make much better use of that land then to preserve some artificial and non-historical "charm". Especially since that charm has no value to what LL is all about or has anything to do with the original old historical gardens (decades before 1970). Obviously we argee to not agree.

In my opinion (as I have mentioned before) if one wants to get fired up about historical - concentrate on the original old gardens which are the only thing that is truely historical and still needs work.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Sean2012-04-10 18:11:29


Florida was never part of the "Old South" that "Gone With the Wind" was portraying.
I wish you wouldn't make statements like this before at least doing some minimal research. Florida had several plantations that were part of the antebellum South. Southwood Plantation is just one example...I could provide several others:

Your arguments about the mansion having no historical value can be applied to the gardens as well. You could easily say, "I just honestly believe that LL should be allowed to make much better use of the botanical gardens then to preserve some artificial and non-historical "charm". I hope the State and County resist such arguments if they should ever arise from LL lobyists.

The original gardens have almost always been associated with the old South...why do you think girls dressed in antebellum dresses have become synonymous with Cypress Gardens? The Southern Mansion was designed to complement the image the park was always associated with. The State understood this which is why it decided to place easement restrictions on the mansion--restrictions LL was well aware of when it leased the property.

I know Ed will never agree which is why I won't debate this subject any futher with him. Unless I let him have the last word, we'll be debating this issue forever...or until Greg locks the thread.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Ed2012-04-11 08:50:24

Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
There is nothing to debate. You have your opinion which I understand and I have my opinion which appears to get you upset. There is no right or wrong - just opinion about something that 90% of the guests going to LL couldn't care less about either way.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Coasterjunkie2012-04-11 14:03:30

Orlando, FL

243 Posts
Sean, in regards to the southern plantations in Florida. Yes, Florida did have many Antibellum plantations but most of them were in the panhandle I believe. I'm pretty shure there is a complete plantation museum in the Jacksonville area that still has most, if not all of it's slave quarters. We did have two or three major battles here as well. The Battle of Olustee/Ocean Pond east of Lake City and The Battle of Natural Bridge west of Tallahassee. Both were battles to defend Tallahassee from being taken by the Union. Tallahassee was one of the few state capitols that wasn't taken by force. It was abandoned by the Confederate troops when the south started to loose the war. Sorry about the off topic post, but I just wanted to say a little bit of what I know of Florida's involvement in the south and the Civil War.
Life's a roller coaster, so enjoy it while you can with your hands high in the air.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Sean2012-04-11 17:28:30


I think you're right that most of the plantations in Florida were located in the cotton belt that developed along the panhandle region. A little historical trivia; The Gamble Plantation near Brandenton contains the only surviving antebellum plantation house in South Florida:

I'm also sorry to go off topic. At least this thread has some historic educational value!
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Ed2012-04-12 10:09:58

Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
O.K. now I understand. Florida had some antebellum plantations mostly in the panhandle but none of them had anything to do with Gone With the Wind which was based on a story about Georgia using a fictional plantation with a fictional mansion named Tara. So while Florida has some historical Florida antebellum plantations and mansions remaining - the 1970 exterior replica of the fictional Tara in LL is not historical or saving actual Florida history but just a copy of a Georgia based movie prop. Just to add some historic educational value!
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Edward Owen2013-03-27 16:59:31

Edward Owen

Winter Haven native Gram Parsons 1946-73, "Rolling Stone Magazine"'s 88th most influential musician of all time, grew up in and near his Grandfather's home, developing his musical skills that impressed a long list of contemporaries, including the Rolling Stones, and country music Hall of Fame member, Emmylou Harris. Saving and using the home as part of Gram's heritage makes perfect sense. It was on the back steps that he honed his live performances, playing for friends and family. He was part of an avid active garage band scene in Polk County 1961-66. Winter Haven Library hosted an event 2/16/2013 "Calling Me Home to Winter Haven", a presentation by author Bob Kealing about Gram and WH music history. Friends, bandmates, and family were included in the 200+ attendees. For additional info about activity in WH, please email me at, or call 863-698-9303. Recognition of Polk's musical heritage needs the Snively mansion. Thanks.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Will James2013-12-23 15:51:45

Will James

Anyone who thinks this mansion, or even if you just wanted to call it a house, shouldn't be protected, together with its landscape architecture, doesn't know much about either preservation goals or destination tourism. I speak as a long-time Main Street advocate (have attended four national Main Street conferences) and as a veteran of 27 years on our local Historic District Commission, a Certified Local Government. Mr. Owen also brings up the mansion's association with a significant American musician; its association with the leading family of Florida citrus should also be noted. I'm not sure why this structure would not be eligible for the National Register. Am I missing something?
re: Snively Mansion Historical by shuart242014-02-26 02:23:09


I have to agree with Ed here. Snively Mansion is really nothing more than a theme park prop and its historic value is dubious. Buildings are protected based on their architecture, archaeology, and historical legacy. On architecture and archaeology, this building is immediately disqualified.

Having studied Ancient Greek architecture as well as Greek revival plantations, this building looks wrong. It's an architectural Frankenstein that demonstrates none of the design philosophy of the Greek revival period. The resemblance to a plantation is superficial at most. Obviously the building possesses no archaeological value.

As for association with famous individuals, the integrity of the building should be intact so that a visitor can see how the historical person may have been influenced by setting. Furthermore his interest in country music developed at Harvard. A tour of the building offers minimal insight into his life.

For those reasons the building really doesn't qualify for protection at all. If Cypress Gardens still existed in its original incarnation, an argument might be made... but the Legos in the background kill the Southern Charm argument.

By the time, the mansion was added to the property the legacy of the gardens were already well established. The gardens are historically valuable because they tell of the development of tourism and theme parks: a crucial part of Florida history.

re: Snively Mansion Historical by John Tarwater2016-04-30 05:27:08

John Tarwater

Has anyone given any thought to a Gram Parson tour of the home and grounds? If you don't recognize the stage name, he is Cecil Connors III. His mother was Avis Snively. You probably knew this, but I threw it in anyway.

Gram has had two books written about him, and one movie. Just an idea, so have a good one and keep on rockin'.
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Greg2016-05-30 22:02:55

Winter Haven, Florida

Master Builder
1451 Posts
Has anyone given any thought to a Gram Parson tour of the home and grounds? If you don't recognize the stage name, he is Cecil Connors III. His mother was Avis Snively. You probably knew this, but I threw it in anyway.

Gram has had two books written about him, and one movie. Just an idea, so have a good one and keep on rockin'.

Thanks for the info! I didn't really know who Gram Parsons was, but any historical people associated with the Gardens is interesting to me.
Visit my YouTube channel for Legoland Adventures!
re: Snively Mansion Historical by Rebecca Storey 2019-02-19 02:43:23

Rebecca Storey

Thank you for mentioning Gram Parsons. As a child he played here at his Grandfathers home, the Snively Mansion. He stayed with his Grandpa and Grandma often. His parents were married in that home. Gram grew up to be the founder of a music genre called Country Rock. Long Live Grams legacy!
re: Snively Mansion Historical by LukeNet2019-06-09 18:25:36


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