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The Villages
Friday, October 15, 2021

Descendant thrilled with restoration of oldest house in The Villages

An 86-year-old descendant of the original owners is thrilled with the restoration work taking place at the oldest house in The Villages.

The Brinson-Perry house was constructed in 1885 by William Brinson’s great-great-uncle, Hampton Brinson. He lived there until his death in 1917.

The property was then owned by George Perry, who added a number of porches on both the front and rear of the two-story house. In 2002, the Perry family sold the house and surrounding land to The Villages which then moved the house to its present location at the intersection of Buena Vista Boulevard and Bonita Boulevard.

Restoration work has begun at the oldest house in The Villages
Restoration work has begun at the oldest house in The Villages.

Workmen have been repairing the historic house, replacing damaged siding and will be replacing the roof as the renovation moves forward.

“I appreciate you preserving and restoring Uncle Hamp’s house,” William Brinson of Clermont wrote in the letter to the District Office.

He said Hampton Brinson was a fairly wealthy man, at least by the standards of that day.

“My grandfather was a poor farmer and raised watermelons and sugarcane and made molasses. I only wish their house could have been preserved as well. It was a dogtrot house and much more modest than Uncle Hamp’s, but none the less interesting, and more typical of the houses of the day.  Thanks again for what you are doing. Folks can get a little glimpse of the history of the area,” Brinson wrote.

Porches were a distinct feature of the cracker style house.
Porches were a distinct feature of the cracker-style houses.

The Brinson-Perry home is considered to be a cracker-style house. The wood frame house was common in this area before the invention of air conditioning. It was characteristically built with metal roofs, raised floors with central hallways which which went from the front to the rear of the home. Wrap-around porches and verandas provided shade for windows, walls and doorways.

The dogtrot house referred to by William Brinson was also very common in this area in the 19th and early 20th Century. A dogtrot house historically consisted of two log cabins connected by a breezeway or “dogtrot,” all under a common roof. Typically, one cabin was used for cooking and dining, while the other was used as a private living space, such as a bedroom.

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