Around 1914 Elizabeth Shine Woodruff, wife of Seth Woodruff, County Tax Collector for many years in Orange County wanted to build her dream home. The Woodruff and Shine families were extensive landholders in the Orange County area and families of great influence.
The Woodruff home, where our attorneys now practice, was the first all-brick building in Orlando. Its outer walls are comprised of four solid layers of brick. The inside walls were initially painted with seven coats of paint.
The home was lavishly appointed with a mosaic porch made up of tiles imported from Italy. Among other influential members of the community, former Orlando Mayor William Beardall attended the home’s first housewarming.
Updates And Renovations
Over time there have been some major changes to the building from its original layout. For example, the upstairs conference room, was initially a conservatory. This conservatory was enclosed by windows on three sides. Immediately below the conservatory was a drive-through portico for cars and carriages. This space now holds offices for two of our secretaries and one of our attorneys.
You can find another major difference on the east side of the building. This was originally a sun porch, but is now separated into two offices and our small conference room. You can still see the previously mentioned Italian tile mosaic in the front office in this area.
The room, which currently serves as our library, was originally the main dining room. The back portion of our building served as the kitchen in the original home, this area now holds our current kitchen as well as more secretarial space.
The “Annex,” aka the “Carriage House,” aka the building in the back, was originally designed to house servants. There were two entrances to the building, one on either side. A partition was placed in the middle of the building to keep the male and female servants separated.
The one major constructional flaw of the whole compound is in this “annex.” On close examination, one can see a crack in the front wall of the building, running up and down the second story. Recent repairs have been made to shore up the damage, and the architectural design and construction of the entire compound remains impeccable.
Strange events have befallen some of the building’s past owners. According to local lore, one of the previous owners met an untimely demise when their car drove off a bridge near New Smyrna Beach.
An attorney (prior to our firm’s taking over the offices) once used the building for both his home and office. As the story goes, he apparently fell upon hard times and committed suicide in the room south of the receptionist area. This same area currently comprises attorney office space. Following his death, the building was next sold to another group of attorneys who practiced in the office for a few years, finally passing the building on to our firm in 1966.
This building has had an interesting history and remains one of the finest structures in Orlando today. With its strategic location on the shores of Lake Lucerne, many residents and visitors see and admire its beauty each day. It certainly provides a pleasant backdrop for our firm’s personal injury law practice. Each Orlando injury lawyer at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. enjoys working in this building and appreciates its architecture and history.