William Conrad House

c. 1877, Queen Anne style - 217 N. Park St.

This building was most likely constructed soon after the property on which it sits was purchased by William Conrad from William Case in 1877. During the 1880s the house changed hands several times before it was acquired by James A. and Elizabeth Close in 1886. The Closes did much to improve the appearance of the property by planting a variety of plants and flowers.

It became one of the showplaces of Crescent City. An 1895 newspaper article said of the property: "The entire grounds bear evidence of painstaking care and an eye to the beautiful in home surroundings that is not as common as one could wish in a state so widely known as the 'land of flowers.' The News hopes that the example of Mr. and Mrs. Close will be generally emulated. In that event Crescent City would inded [sic] be a veritable paradise so far as looks are concerned."1

During the early 1900s the property was again exchanged by a series of owners. In 1913 Jane E. and S.G. Salls, winter residents from Vermont, acquired it and remained there until 1927 when Dr. A.B. Harbison purchased the house. Harbison graduated from medical school in Philadelphia in 1878 and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Later he relocated to Trinidad, Colorado where he served four years in the Colorado Legislature and was a member of the Colorado State Board of Health. He retired from practice in 1908 and returned to Pennsylvania. He operated a mill there for about ten years before deciding to come to Florida. Harbison acquired a significant amount of real estate in and around Crescent City. In 1922 he helped organize the People's Bank of Crescent City and served as its first president. Later, he established an insurance business and developed and managed citrus groves. He died in 1955. Built in the Queen Anne style, the Conrad House is among the oldest and most architecturally significant residential buildings in Crescent City and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as an individual property.

(1) Crescent City Journal, February 20, 1895.

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