The Historic Pritchard House

By  //  August 20, 2017

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BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – The house is completely furnished with period furniture, accessories and interesting collections. Tours conducted by costumed docents can be scheduled daytime, evenings and weekends.

Tours are approximately 90 minutes long for a donation of $5.00 per person. Special events & exhibits are scheduled and priced accordingly. Please call our dedicated line to schedule your appointment: 321-607-0203.

Special events are published and open to the public. Reservations are required for tours, teas and exhibits. Family History Gardens are open daily for public viewing from 10:00am to 6:00pm. The house and gardens are available for rentals for weddings, private parties, meetings, small dinner parties, showers, teas, luncheons, etc. For additional information and reservations please call our dedicated phone line at 321-607-0203.

The Pritchard House is a fine example of Queen Anne architecture. It was built for Captain James Pritchard in 1891. The variety of materials used on the exterior, and elaborate use of shapes and textures produce a highly picturesque effect. Pritchard family descendants lived in the house until it was purchased by Brevard County in 2005.

The restored house was painted using historic colors. Gardens recognizing several of Titusville’s founding families have been designed to accentuate the beauty of the house and provide charming spaces for gatherings and celebrations.

PRITCHARD FAMILY HISTORY

James Pritchard was born in New York City on October 21, 1836. They family moved to Missouri and when the Civil War began, he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He served as Captain of Company E, First Regiment, Missouri Infantry, and his father, John N. Pritchard, served as Colonel in the Union Army.

In Galveston, Texas on January 17, 1867 he married Mary Haley Boye, daughter of Christain and Frances Delespine Boye of Key West, Florida. The Pritchards and their three children came to Florida in 1876 and settled on the Delespine Grant which Mary inherited from her grandfather, Joseph Delespine.

At “Pritchard’s Landing” they grew sugarcane and citrus.

In 1886 when a hard freeze destroyed most of the crops, the Captain turned to selling real estate and moved his family to Titusville and lived in a cottage on Palm Ave.

He organized the Indian River State Bank in 1888 which was the first bank in Titusville, incorporated in 1889 and was located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Julia Street. He served as president for 37 years. In 1890 he built the first electric generating plant in Titusville, sold it to Southern Utilities Co. in 1914, and they sold it to Florida Power and Light Co.

In June 1891 on a lot purchased from Mary Titus, contractor Pleasant J. Hall began building the Queen Ann style house of heart pine. The Pritchards moved into their new home in October 1891 with furniture, pictures and painted portraits they brought from Missouri.

The original occupants of the house were Captain Pritchard, wife Mary, teenage children “Boud” and youngest sister Kate, Mary’s mother, Frances Delespine Boye and the family maid, Julia Stewart.

Frances Amelia and Frank T. Budge were married in 1889 and living in their own house.

Frank owned a hardware store on Washington Avenue, and when the couple moved to Miami, Captain Pritchard and son “Boud” bought the business named it James Pritchard and Son Hardware. In 1913 “Boud” married Lola Pauline Smith, known as “Miss Lovie” and they continued to live in the house until their deaths.

Captain Pritchard passed away in 1926 and is buried in the family plot at Oak lawn Cemetery in Titusville. Their daughter Mary Pauline married Frank Schuster in 1935, and raised their children, James, Johanna and Polly in this house.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Pritchard family members continuously lived in the house, with Mary Pritchard Schuster living there until it was purchased for historic preservation by Brevard County in May 2005.

THE PRITCHARD HOUSE

The Pritchard House is an outstanding example of the Queen Anne architecture, a distinctly American form that was popular from approximately 1876-1910. The house appears today much like it did when it was built in 1891.

The house features a conical corner tower, one of the key distinguishing aspects of this style. Other characteristics are the wrap around porch, the variety of materials used on the exterior, and the jig saw decorative work. The elaborate use of shapes and textures produce a highly picturesque effect, accented by its steep gables, veranda and second floor balcony.

On the first floor is the main entrance hall, which has a fireplace, the stairway to the second floor, a parlor, which has a fireplace, and the dining room, which has a built in “china closet” and pantry. The kitchen was separated from the main living area by an open passage, now closed in with an entrance door on the south side. A narrow stairway ascends from the kitchen to the maid’s room above. The latticed porch provided privacy and was a place to do the laundry.

The second floor has four bedrooms, and the maid’s room, all with built-in closets. Notes on the original plans show that a window in the south side bedroom was changed to a door. When the house was built, both the master bedroom and south front bedroom had doors onto the upper balcony. The master bedroom has the only fireplace on the second floor.

The passage between the main house and maid’s room at the end of the hall later became a bathroom, complete with a claw foot tub and sink. A pipe connected to a hand pump located next to the tub carried water from the cistern below. The small pipe located under the window on the north side is still visible.

All four fireplaces have the original wood mantels and tiled hearths. The window screens are half screens that run on wood slides located on each side of the window frame. Each corner of the screen has an embossed metal corner bracket. The door hinges and pins are also embossed metal.

The exterior storm shutters are original and hand made of cedar or cypress. They are hinged to be opened and locked into place, or when closed are secured by a hook and lock system. The exterior “fish scale” shingles were hand cut from cedar or cypress. Turned wood finials that were attached to the scrollwork facers we have and will replicate and replace.


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