Discover what happens when a millionaire’s home is abandoned—from wealth to ruin.

Tour the eerie Florida holiday home of a banking mogul

Once the cherished vacation residence of Pennsylvanian banking magnate James Ross Mellon, this 19th-century Eastlake-inspired hideaway in Palatka, Florida, was abandoned to the elements many years ago. Discover the interesting history of this creepy winter lodge and the pricey antiques hidden behind its crumbling walls by taking a walk around it.

James Ross Mellon, the son of Judge Thomas Mellon, the patriarch of the Mellon family who established the Mellon Bank in 1869, was born into the esteemed Mellon family in 1846. James, a prominent businessman and philanthropist, followed his father into the banking industry and is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Mellon family was considered to be among the wealthiest dynasties in the United States by the early 19th century.

The heiress Rachel Larimer Mellon, Mellon’s wife, couldn’t stand the severely cold Pennsylvania winters, so starting in 1883, the family moved to the Florida vacation town of Palatka with their three kids. They had this quaint Eastlake-style clapboard house constructed in 1910 for their Sunshine State vacations.

The home was used by the family as a winter retreat for many years until it was recently discovered by urban explorer Leland Kent for Abandoned Southeast. Mellon visited the estate until his death in 1934, having returned there after his wife passed away in 1919. Up to the late 1930s, it was owned by the Mellons.

The house has since had a number of owners, although it hasn’t been formally occupied for many years. From the exterior, the abandoned tiled pathway and overgrown vegetation make it evident that this old vacation house has seen better days. Nevertheless, the clapboard exterior seems to be in rather decent condition.

Even though the entry hall has decaying paint and moisture damage, one can easily picture how grand this area must have been in its prime. Undoubtedly the subject of several social gatherings, James and Rachel were actively engaged in the Palatka community and made numerous financial contributions to the city during the years.

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