Where do presidents go when they crave sunshine and warmer temps? Palm Beach, Florida, of course. This week we center on a historic, Palm Beach treasure that is riddled with presidential lure. And for the first time in 50 years, it could be yours to the tune of $21.9 million.
Located at the heart of Palm Beach on a prime residential lot is what the locals call, “The First Winter White House,” also known as Southways. Originally built in 1920, the Beaux Arts mansion has played home and host to an array of high-profile guests. Among these a number of United States Presidents, including President Warren G. Harding.
According to the Southways website, there are only two Beaux Arts style homes in Palm Beach.
“There are only two Beaux Arts style homes in Palm Beach, Southways and Whitehall (which is now the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum). These homes were the original setting for the grand living upon which Palm Beach’s reputation is based. The architect for Southways is the renowned Hoppin & Koen, who were at one time part of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White of New York. They designed several public buildings in New York and homes for socially prominent people in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Southways was built for a socially and politically important Northeast family who owned the home for 47 years. They entertained several United States Presidents who stayed at the home over various winters, including President Warren G. Harding. Thus, it became known as the, ‘Winter White House.’ Southways has only had two owners in 94 years, each owning it for 47 years.”
Digging a little deeper, we turn to Quest, the authority on Palm Beach society.
Quest is the last magazine devoted to Society with a capital S, covering the socially prominent in New York, Greenwich, The Hamptons, Palm Beach, and Miami. Quest further emphasizes the tale saying:
“Southways was originally built for Theodore and Elizabeth Frelinghuysen, a politically powerful Northeast couple, who owned the home for 47 years. During their residency, the Frelinghuysen family entertained several U.S. presidents who stayed at the home over various winters, including President Warren G. Harding. Thus, it became eloquently known as the “Winter White House,” a nickname that has since been shared with President John F. Kennedy’s Palm Beach retreat and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. In 1968, the Frelinghuysens sold the home to the late Charles Gallant and his wife Antoinette of Chevy Chase and Gibson Island, Maryland. With only two owners over nearly a century, this listing offers an extremely rare opportunity to own a home with such a distinguished pedigree.”
And the mansion remains in magnificent condition today.
The palatial, 14,312-square-foot masterpiece rests on 1.3-acres, just 250-feet from the Atlantic Ocean. Its unique position on three gracious lots provides the ultimate in privacy. In fact, the entire estate is enveloped by ficus hedges, making it ideal for celebrities and ultra-high-net-worth executives alike. Expansive Palm Beach views, open airy rooms for grand entertaining, soaring ceiling heights, and period moldings are but a few of its features that cannot be replicated (on such a scale) today.
Discerning buyers will appreciate its versatility.
There is an option to build a subdivision on one of the three 100-foot lots. And the property’s high elevation is yet another selling point. It shields the estate from flooding, and in turn, makes renovations that much easier. Southways is also famous for its imperial iron entry gate, picturesque formal gardens, serene pool, and stately columns – all of which afford a sense of grandeur and wonderment.
Inside, sophistication and elegance abound.
Interior highlights run the gamut from large French doors and double-hung windows to checkerboard marble floors and Dade County Pine throughout. The estate’s superior quality and beauty have led to feature spreads in books, magazines, and high-end fashion catalogues.
It’s also a National Historic Landmark.
History buffs will be pleased to know that Southways was honored with a National Historic Landmark designation in 1990 by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. An excerpt from their report reveals:
“This is one of the finest and very earliest Palm Beach mansions from the great time of expansion. Its Adamesque detail is quite unusual for the 1920’s; particularly fine is the Doric entranceway, crowned by a Palladian window and a cartouche with festoons. These features may be the result of later alterations. It seems a little too suave for Palm Beach before the 1930’s.”
Steven Gallant with Gallant Appraisal & Realty, Inc. has listed 130 Barton Avenue, Palm Beach, Florida for $21.9 million.