Searcy House

593 W Church Ave, Longwood, FL 32750
Searcy House (2019)

This home was built in 1888 by John Neill Searcy. The Searcy homestead was a substantial estate on the west side of the town of Longwood; it stretched from the shores of West Lake to the north and southward to encompass all of Lake Searcy. The home stayed in the Searcy family for over a century.

Searcy was originally from Tennessee and spent four years in the Confederate army during the Civil War. The Searcy family arrived in Longwood via steamer “Starlight” to Mellonville (Sanford) on March 23, 1873. At 31, John walked on foot from the wharf with intentions of traveling to Maitland to find a homestead. About halfway on his journey, he came across the Longwood area and decided to homestead here instead. The Searcy family were among the first settlers in the area, arriving just after Longwood founder Edward Warren Henck.

Searcy’s initial home was northeast of today’s central Longwood, in the area of the modern Skylark Subdivision. He supported himself by selling cypress, which grew on his homestead, and planting groves. He also served with the South Florida Railroad surveying party in 1879 and assisted as a carpenter. He married in 1885 and built this two-story mansion in 1888. 1886-87 and 1891 directories list him as owning two groves, 10 and 8 acres, respectively. In 1889, he became the postmaster for Longwood.

Alain and Sarah Girard bought the home in 1987. They restored it and maintained beautiful gardens. From the 1990s until Sarah’s death in 2014, the Girard family operated it as a lovely Victorian wedding venue and photo shoot location. Sarah loved the home from an early age, growing up next door and playing as a child by the lake under its magnolia, camphor, mulberry, and palm trees. The last weddings performed there were in 2015.

It sits on 2.5 acres of land, fronting West Lake. It last sold in 2021 for $600,000.