Wrought iron door for the historic Venice home
Venice home wears its history well
By MARSHA FOTTLER
An important landmark home on West Venice Avenue that is linked to the history of the city of Venice is on the market for $2.5 million, and soon will pass out of the curatorship of owners Jennifer and Rick Loehrig.
The Loehrigs have been focused on the estate’s preservation for the last decade. But now, with their two daughters making college decisions, the couple — Dayton, Ohio transplants — plan to downsize to a waterfront home in Venice that’s perhaps more modern.
The Loehrigs were collectors of antique cars and furniture when they were looking for a home in 2002. They had vacationed in Florida and were ready for a bigger, permanent house with vintage character.
“I was poking around several neighborhoods when I saw this beautiful big place just two blocks from the beach and two blocks from downtown,” recalled Rich Loehrig. “I looked in the windows and immediately called Realtor Lueanne Wood,” a woman known in Venice for her expertise in vintage properties.
“She got us the house. Then we realized we needed to get rid of most of our Victorian antiques and start looking for 18th-century French and Italian ones, because that’s how the first owner of the house furnished it.”
The Loehrigs are only the third family to live in the house.
The 5,055-square-foot, two-story home, built with detached garage and servant quarters, was built in 1925 for the vice president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the group that brought city planner John Nolen to Venice to lay out the city and give it the charming character it retains today. But, by the time the executive’s manse was completed, bankruptcy intervened and the Florida land boom collapsed, taking the BLE’s investment with it. Soon, America would be sliding into the Great Depression.
The home sat vacant until the 1930s, when New Yorker Fitzhugh William Haensel and his wife moved in. He was a music critic and agent, and owned Haensel & Jones, a company that managed tours for musicians. The Haensels set the European decor style, taking their cues from the elegant architecture of the home, with its stone floors, multiple fireplaces, arched entrances and gracious outdoor courtyards for entertaining. Inside the many rooms were ornate fixtures, such as chandeliers, crystal scones and wrought-iron double doors leading into the formal dining room. The home was built to impress, and the Haensels understood their role as owners. They kept the house until 1969.
to be continued