The Casements and Casements Annex
|Location||Ormond Beach, Florida|
|Architectural style||Shingle Style|
|Governing body||Local government|
|MPS||Historic Winter Residences of Ormond Beach, 1878-1925 MPS|
|NRHP Reference #||72001536 (The Casements)
88001720 (Casements Annex)
|Added to NRHP||June 30, 1972 (The Casements)
October 6, 1988 (Casements Annex)
The Casements is a mansion in Ormond Beach, Florida, U.S., famous for being the winter residence of American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. It is currently owned by the city of Ormond Beach and is used as a cultural center and park. It is located on a barrier island within the city limits, overlooking the Halifax River, which is now part of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway.
The mansion was built in 1910 for the Rev. Harwood Huntington of New Haven, Connecticut. It was named for the many casement windows incorporated into the design of the building, which helped keep the interior cool in spite of Florida's subtropical climate.
The Rockefeller era
Its most famous resident, John D. Rockefeller, purchased the home as his winter residence in 1918. Rockefeller was seventy-eight years old when he moved into the Casements. He became known in the area for his elaborate Christmas parties, his love of golf, and for handing out dimes to his neighbors or visitors. During a golf game with Harvey Firestone, the tire magnate made such a good shot that Rockefeller decided he deserved a dime and handed one to his somewhat embarrassed guest.
Over the years, Rockefeller was visited at The Casements by such luminaries as The Prince of Wales, Henry Ford, and Will Rogers, who once quipped, "I’m glad you won (at golf) today, Mr. Rockefeller. The last time you lost, the price of gasoline went up!"
Guests at The Casements received a poem along with their new dime. This poem is believed to have been written by Rockefeller:
I was early taught to work as well as play; My life has been one long, happy holiday--Full of work and full of play--I dropped the worry on the way, And God was good to me every day.
It was in this home that Rockefeller eventually died in his sleep on the morning of May 23, 1937. The Rockefeller family sold The Casements in 1939.
Over the next 20 years, The Casements served as a girls' preparatory school and a home for the elderly. In 1959 the property was purchased by the Ormond Hotel Corporation with plans for development, but those plans never materialized. In 1972, The Casements was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The next year, it was purchased by the city of Ormond Beach, which eventually restored it to serve as a cultural and community center.
In 2009 The Casements underwent a $1.1 million renovation project.
The Casements gardens are an authentic restoration of a two-acre garden along the Halifax riverfront that belonged to John D. Rockefeller Sr. in the early 1900s. The gardens feature citrus trees, a grand promenade, streams and small bridges and a variety of seasonal flower displays during the year.
- "National Register of Historical Places - Florida (FL), Volusia County". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-03-26.
- Florida: A Guide to the Southern-Most State, by Federal Writers' Project, page 342.
- New York Times Obituary, May 24, 1937, John D. Rockefeller Dies at 97 in His Florida Home; Funeral to be Held Here http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/05/17/specials/rockefeller-obit.html
- Volusia County listings at Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs
- The Casements
- Ormond Beach Historical Trust
- The Casements - Cultural activities