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Henry C. Arpen House In Mandarin Joins National Register Of Historic Places

exerior of Arpen House
Florida Department of State
The Arpen House was once surrounded by orange groves.

The Henry C. Arpen House in Mandarin was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, this week, along with Shell Hammock Landing in Polk County, Florida’s Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced Friday.  

“Shell Hammock Landing and the Henry C. Arpen House are deserving additions to the National Register of Historic Places,” said Lee in an email to WJCT News. “These properties are excellent examples of Florida Cracker architecture and are representative of the state’s early pioneer settlement.”

The Henry C. Arpen House is a two-story wood frame residence located in South Mandarin. The home was built by Henry C. Arpen around 1880 during Florida’s post-Civil War citrus boom. The Arpen House is a rare and outstanding example of Florida Cracker style architecture with many of the original elements of the home preserved.

Since the home pre-dates the railroad era in Florida, pre-fabricated and mass-produced construction materials such as windows were not easily obtained. Therefore, the windows in the Arpen House were built locally by hand, without uniform measurements, making each one unique. Local oral history indicates that the Arpen House was built using materials salvaged from a wrecked barge that had beached on the St. Johns River.

The Arpen house is located on a 17-acre tract of land that was once part of the Joseph Hagins Spanish Land Grant, one of the earliest private land holdings in Florida. Following the death of Joseph Hagins and his son Josiah, the original land grant was subdivided into large lots, several of which were purchased by Henry C. Arpen, a citrus grower. Historically the home was surrounded by an orange grove, but the majority of the grove was lost to the freezes of the late 19th century. A few remaining citrus trees are scattered throughout the property. The Arpen family maintained ownership until the 1930s. Today, the home remains a private residence, as the current owners continue to preserve one of the oldest surviving homes in Mandarin.