The Historic Leu House Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., with the last tour admission at 12:30 p.m. The Historic Leu House Museum is closed in July.
The Historic Leu House has stairs leading to the second floor of the home and is not fully accessible by wheelchair or stroller. Food and beverage are not allowed inside the home. On the day of your visit, please wait on the front porch and a tour guide will greet you.
The Historic Leu House Museum was originally built in 1888 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was included in the Harry P. and Mary Jane Leu gift to the City of Orlando in 1961, however; over its lifetime four different families have lived and added on to the property. Today, it is a showcase of 19th and 20th century architectural styles and tells the story of the gardens origins.
1858 – The Mizell Family
The first owners, Angeline and David W. Mizell staked their claim to the land in 1858. The property was originally settled and farmed growing cotton, corn and sugar cane. David W. Mizell, the only sheriff of Orange County who died in the line of duty, was ambushed and murdered in 1870.
1902 – The Pell & Gardner Family
Duncan Pell, from New York, wanted to try his luck in the citrus industry and seek a speedy divorce to marry young silent screen star Helen Gardner. Helen Gardner was the first woman to own her own production company, writing and directing in many films.
1906 – The Woodward Family
The third owners added charm and nostalgia. Joseph and Martha Woodward from Birmingham, Alabama, bought the house as a winter retreat. They named the estate “LaBelle” after the family’s original iron works business.
1936 – The Leu Family
Harry P. and Mary Jane Leu purchased the property in 1936. Mr. Leu owned a very successful industrial supply company. The Leus traveled extensively and brought back plants and seeds for their garden. The beautiful gardens bear witness to the legacy Mr. & Mrs. Leu left to the City of Orlando.
The Bradley Family
Ernest and Doris Bradley worked at the Leu’s home, as the caretaker and housekeeper respectively. They lived on the Leu property along with their son Ernest, Jr. in a home located where the Welcome Center is now located.