Lakeland house’s decline raises questions about historic protections

The house at 1022 Success Ave., believed to be 113 years old, has deteriorated for decades. Though a recent sale could lead to a restoration, its plight raises questions about whether Lakeland could do more to protect historic structures from owner neglect.

LAKELAND — In its prime, the house ranked among the most distinguished in Lakeland, a Victorian treasure standing along a street whose very name signals prosperity.

The house at 1022 Success Ave., one of the oldest in the South Lake Morton Historic District, is a modified Queen Anne structure in a neighborhood dominated by Craftsman homes and bungalows. Built before 1910, it stood stately with such exterior features as a hexagonal turret, oversized bay windows and a wraparound porch.

Coming up:Lakeland plans new surveys of its seven historic districts

On the inside, the home gleamed with sophisticated details: an ornate staircase, 10-foot ceilings, mahogany-stained crown moldings, broken-tile floors and three fireplaces, including one in the parlor lined with Delft tiles.

These days, the house stands out from its surrounding structures, but not in a positive way. David Collins, who lives directly across the street, puts the matter bluntly: “It was a grand home in its day. Now it’s piece of s—.”