Columbus Drew was born on January 8, 1820 in Washington D.C. His early education was in journalism and printing. In 1844, he married Marietta Hume Robinson and they had their first son, Columbus, on December 3, 1847. In 1848, Drew moved his family to Jacksonville to start a newspaper, “The Florida Republican“. The newspaper plant was destroyed in 1854, and one year later, Drew left the newspaper business and started the “Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company”.

During the Civil War, Drew served in the Confederate Treasury Dept. in Richmond, Virginia. In 1862, Horace Drew oversaw the business for his father until the family was forced to leave Jacksonville after Union forces captured the city. After the war, Drew returned to rebuild his business along with his son Horace. In 1876, Drew sold the business to his son after he was appointed Florida Comptroller and the business was renamed “H. Drew”. In 1891, Columbus Drew died and buried in Jacksonville’s Old City Cemetery.

In 1881, Horace’s brother William B. became a full partner of the firm and the named was changed to “H. Drew and Brother” and again in 1893 to “H. & W. B. Drew Company”. The Great Fire of 1901 destroyed the plant and a new two-story was constructed less than a year later. In 1909, a third floor was added and designed by famed architect Henry J. Klutho.

The “H. & W. B. Drew Company” moved into the McConihe Building in 1921 after purchasing it from former mayor Luther McConihe; it would later be demolished in 1971 for the construction of the Independent Life Building. Horace continued to operate the business as President until his death in 1926. In 1997, Wells Legal Supply Inc. acquired the company to form the Wells & Drew Companies.

Dr. Horace Drew Mansion | Photo © 2011 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

The Springfield Historic District is a neighborhood of Jacksonville and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally part of a tract of land known as “Hogan’s Donation”, part of it was divided up following the end of the Civil War for residential redevelopment to become the suburbs of Hansontown and Franklintown. In 1869, half of the remaining available land was divided up and put up for sale. It was named Springfield for a “spring of good water in a field” and is credited to Calvin. L Robinson, a Jacksonville merchant.

On May 3, 1901, a fire broke out in a mattress factory, engulfing most of the city’s downtown area in less than eight hours which would later be known as the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901. Thousands of residents survived the fire by fleeing to Springfield as the marshy area of Hogan’s Creek help to keep the flames from spreading in their direction. The fire left many people homeless, causing many of them to move to Springfield. The next two decades became Springfield greatest period of residential growth, having a population of over 8,000 by 1909.

Dr. Horace Drew Mansion | Photo © 2011 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

It was around this time when Dr. Horace Drew moved to Springfield, moving into a large and unique home which was built in 1909, at a corner near Hogans Creek, what is now Springfield Park. A description by the house by the Jacksonville Architectural Heritage reads:

“Sited prominently on a corner near Hogans Creek, this exotic residence is a highly visible Springfield landmark. It also exhibits one of the most inventive uses of concrete blocks as a building material in Jacksonville. Both the smooth and ashlar-finished blocks are used, and many of the blocks were cast at odd angles, such as on the hexagonal columns, the tower, and the projecting bays. The eclectic design borrows elements from the Tudor Revival, Queen Anne, and Spanish Colonial Revival styles. Its base is elevated more than adjacent residences, adding to the vertical projection of the multi-planed roofline, gables, and three-story tower. The composition is enriched by harmonious colors found in the gables with half-timbering over stucco, the clay tile roof, and concrete walls.”

In February 2015, the house was purchased by Michael Bourre, owner of Bourre Construction Group, for just $40,000. Bourre planned to restore the home which he estimated would cost around $800,000 with the project being completed in two years. As of this writing, September 2016, no work has been done to the home.


  1. This is one of the prettiest houses in Jacksonville. I wonder what the Jacobs Apartments looks like inside

    • This home was built in 1909 by my beloved grandfather Dr. Horace Drew. He was truly a Renaissance man and so much fun and so kind. He Was captain of the first football team in Jacksonville, helped fight the Jacksonville fire of 1901, And joined up with Teddy Roosevelt and the Roughriders in Cuba in about 1898 I think. My father Horace R. Drew Junior wrote a book on the Drew family history Which is very well written and an excellent history of Jacksonville in the mid 20th century in addition to the family history. I love living in this house and it is so sad for me to see it in decay. Shelley Drew

  2. i drive by this house every day and stop and just look at it wishing i had the money to purshes ot and restore it to were it needs to be my youngest child whose 11 he thinks this plase is awsome and wants us to get it so he can move is and never move out if i could i would i feel if we teach our younger genaration about saving or wounderful history

  3. Does the house have a basement? Do you have photos of the basement/lower floor?

    • Here’s the basement:


      You can see the double doors in the back which lead out into the street.

    • Yes the house has a basement. My grandmother used to pack oranges from our Orange Grove in Crosscreek down there. She and my grandfather Dr. Horace Drew were both wonderful people. I lived in the house for the first five years of my life til my grandfather died around 1951. shelley Drew

      • Shelley, I am still hoping to contact you. I was by the house yesterday to check on things. Preservation SOS are the angels who continue to protect the home of your grandparents. They are doing a great job. If you do not wish to speak with me, please contact them so that they can tell you about their efforts. You may find them on FaceBook or they probably are accessible on line. Patsy

      • I want this house. We would love to restore it. I sent and email to the address at the top of this page. Please contact me if the house is still for sale.

  4. Does anyone remember when a body was stolen from Duval Medical Center was stolen by a worker and buried in the yard as a practical jokee? I think this was on Halloween

  5. Does anyone know what they are asking for this home?

    • It’s currently in limbo right now, not for sale. The bank was to acquire it but lost the paperwork to close the deal.

  6. Does anyone know why there is a demolition notice on this house

    • I must ask, is it a demolition notice or a notice of condemnation? The owner has been getting fined on a daily basis for not keeping it up to code for years now, but if it is a demolition notice, this is bad news :(

    • Went by there this morning to check. Got out of the car to make sur I didn’t miss anything. If there was a sign, it is not there now. Just the original Condemned one and the Code Violation attached to the front gate. AND, the the board which ad been torn away in front beneath the porch has been reattached. ):

  7. We were past there last Saturday (Jan 5th) and there was no demo notice that we saw. However, now that the question is in the air I will definitely go back and check. .

  8. As of this morning 1-11-13, NO DEMOLITION SIGN. (:

  9. We went to the Gingerbread Expo in December. I always buy the Historical Society Christmas ornaments. I spoke to Emily about how I keep waiting for one in honor of the Drew house. She said they haven’t started Springfield yet. Hope they will have some next year.

  10. Shelley, I have been trying to locate you a very long time. It wasn’t until I read your father’s obit that I knew you were a member of THAT Drew family.
    You and I attended Landon together.
    I had a conversation many years ago (1970) about the house. It has been something with great fondness.
    I would love to talk with you about the house. It is in deplorable condition and I visit it occasionally and check on things.
    Shelley, I remember you as being a very nice girl.
    I hope you will respond.
    Patsy George Bryant

  11. I lived not even a have a block from (what I call her) “The Grand Lady”. Many of us here in Springfield are so in love with this house. Many of the residents (including myself) keep an eye on her and hope that someone saves her. This morning while out with my walking the dogs I noticed the window on the porch was open and the curtains was hanging outside of the window. When I went on the porch to see if anyone was inside I saw that the part of the porch has caved in. The house is in such a sad state. From what I have been told that the house was in foreclosure. The bank has given the house back to the owner. Apparently she is currently in a nursing home and refuses to sell it. There has been a constant struggle to keep the homeless and vandals out of the house. Someone has tried to steal the bathtub as well. The pictures in the gallery shows a completely different home. It is so bad now that I’m sure if you saw it in its current state you would be sadden by her tragic decline. From reading about the history of this house and what Ms. Shelly Drew has shared this house must be saved. It is an architectural gem and a very important and vital part of Springfield and Jacksonville’s history.

  12. Cheryl, has the porch totally fallen through? It has been sinking for months. I am so thankful for Preservation SOS who does as much as possible to keep people out and repair what they can. ‘THIS PLACE MATTERS,” and that is what the hearts are all about. I go past every chance I can to see what damage has occurred since my last visit. It is deteriorating at a very rapid pace.

  13. Yes. Part of the basement. The garage is right behind the porch under the west front room.

  14. Shelley Drew, I am beginning to feel as though I am stalking you. I apologize. I wanted to let you know that I was there on Monday and met up with Doug who is one of its angels. He took me inside before he got busy working. Our group, Annie Lytle Preservation is going to join up with him this weekend and do some serious trash removal and cleaning. We will begin with the first floor and over the next week ends hit it from top to bottom. Doug goes by 3 or 4 times a day to make sure everything is locked up and safe. He is like a mother lion watching over its cub. He would love to hear from you. Has so many questions to ask, especially would love to see photos from its glory days.

  15. There is new hope for the Drew house. It is too early to say much. Cheryl McCain shares this hope with many of us. I was asked by the angel that takes great care of the Grand Lady to appeal once again to Shelley and anyone else who might offer information, photos, ANYTHING! He wishes to gain as much information that might assist i putting the home back to its original condition. Even to being able to locate furnishings that were original to her.

  16. How would I obtain information on shooting some video here?

  17. The Drew House is up for sale. $75K, cash. If anyone wishes further information, you can contact: PRESERVATION SOS on FaceBook. They are attempting to raise funds for the purchase.

  18. Ptsay, I wish to buy and restore this home. Although I have some money of my own to put into this, I am wondering if there are any efforts that may help to fund this cause? Can you please contact me, either way?

  19. *Patsy

  20. Is this place still for sale? If so how much would it be? I am very interested and I would like to know more. :)

  21. So glad to see this house was purchased by Michael Bourré. He’s about to begin renovation at $800K very soon. Congratulations!

  22. Sadly the buyer Michael Bourre has done nothing on this property. It continues to rot. Rumor was he wanted the city to help with the renovations. He owns the Bourre Construction Company.