Trip Planner:   USA  /  Florida  /  Central Florida  /  Bartow  /  Wonder House

Wonder House, Bartow

4.9
#10 of 81 in Museums in Central Florida
History Museum · Specialty Museum
Create an itinerary including Wonder House
The Wonder House, is a private residence in Bartow, Polk County Florida, that offers historic tours by online advance reservation. The Wonder House was built by a man named Conrad Schuck, who was given only 1 year to live by his doctors.

Schuck owned a building and supply company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when in the early 1920s his doctor told him he might have one year to live but only if he moved to a warmer climate. Schuck moved his family to Bartow around 1926 and started building the home with his sons while living across the street. The house was uniquely designed with many features that have been referred to as "Ingenious touches" leading it to also be called "The Crazy House", or "The House of a Thousand Gadgets".
Built in a Cruciform architectural style of rock from the property, concrete, glass, tile, and used train rails. There was a central fireplace that created a draft and pillars were built hollow to trap and allow rainwater to cool the exterior. The fireplace had mirrors at the top and inside that reflected sunlight to a prism that could be situated to reflected different colored lights to the inside. During WWII there were concerns that Schuck might be signaling German planes and he was arrested and jailed for three days. The FBI issued a press release that he was not a German spy but he filled the fireplace with concrete. There were individual balconies on the bedrooms complete with outdoor bathtubs, and a fish pond on the third floor balcony. Mirrors and one way glass were placed to allow seeing the front door from multiple locations even the third floor balcony. The house is decorated with hand carvings and mosaics with a large three stepped irregularly shaped swimming pool in the front yard referred to as a mote. Schuck was convinced to open the mansion to tours and during the depression era until the 1960s he did just that. Finally selling the property around that time it was bought, sold, and lost in foreclosures remaining vacant for many years. Although given a grim outlook on life Schuck lived until 1971.
A couple bought the property at auction in 2015. The current owners have been restoring the property and offer guided historic tours by reservation, bookable online in advance at www.wonderhousebartow.com. The rebuilding and remodeling was covered by episode 9 of the Netflix show Amazing Interiors.
Our Bartow online trip itinerary maker makes visiting Wonder House and other Bartow attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
Source
Create a full itinerary - for free!

Wonder House reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
383 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Tour was excellent. Our guide Kristen made the tour very personable; we could clearly see she has a passion for this house. I can't wait to see it when it is finished, we will be back then. 
    Tour was excellent. Our guide Kristen made the tour very personable; we could clearly see she has a passion for this house. I can't wait to see it when it is finished, we will be back then.  more »
  • Very interesting! Must see if in the area❤️ I loved everything. It's very unique house. Bring cash $25 
    Very interesting! Must see if in the area❤️ I loved everything. It's very unique house. Bring cash $25  more »
Google
  • This was a very enjoyable tour! The host actually lives in the home and has excellent knowledge of the history of the place. Not only that, but she has respect and even reverence for the person who came up with the idea and built the place. It is truly a marvel with several interesting inventions that I would love to have in my home! The lazy Susan in the kitchen is remarkable! It is a work in progress and the renovation is not complete but that is part of the charm of the tour is you are able to see layers of what has been done by different owners over the years. If you have the opportunity to purchase a ticket that includes treats and drinks, the tour guide is an expert baker! The old world recipes from her Estonian heritage were truly special!
  • This place is definitely worth a visit. If you love history, oddities, and supporting real people who are passionate about saving a little piece of old Florida, please go see the Wonder House. Krislin is amazing at telling the story of this one of a kind place and the passion she is putting into restoring this little piece of (almost) forgotten history is inspiring and nothing short of extraordinary (and she is doing it all on a teachers salary!) Note that you will definitely need to make your tour reservations in advance. But this really is the perfect day trip from Orlando or Tampa.

Plan your trip to Bartow

  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.