Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Harry P Leu Gardens House Museum

Kathy Miller Patages organized Weekly Paint and Sketch, a local sketch group that held a sketch outing to Harry P Leu Gardens (1920 North Forest Avenue Orlando, FL), and I decided to stop out on this sunny hot day to sketch. I never did notice any other sketchers, but I focused on the task at hand to capture the historic home.

Harry P Leu Gardens is an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further their mission: inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The garden and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane Leu.

The roof of the Leu Home was still covered with a blue tarp because a tree limb had crashed through the roof of the home during Hurricane Irma. I had helped Orange County Regional History Museum staff one day as they volunteered to help the Gardens move bedroom furniture in the upstairs bedroom, so that it would not be further damaged by the rain leaking through the roof. It was an easy enough task, but a drop in the bucket compared to all the damage done. The smell of wet mold already was prevalent upstairs. The home repairs had to wait while the damage repair in the garden kicked into high gear after the storm. The gardens lost 175 trees, mostly hickory and magnolias, to the storm. 100 volunteers and staff helped clear up the debris.

As of May 2018, Leu Gardens was still seeking contractors to do exterior repairs to the historic home. Needed were replacements of structural members, siding, re-roofing of all shingled areas and repainting of the structure. The Leu House Museum is a restored 19th century home that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 1994. The museum was closed because storm damage by Hurricane Irma and has since reopened, but repairs are ongoing.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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