Casa Ludovico - The President's House
The Casa Ludovico house was orginally built in 1902 as a two story home for Dr. Shade W. Walker. Originally from Tennessee, Dr. Walker was a Harvard graduate and the first President of Southern College. He was described as a "brilliant, energetic young man, with commanding endowments of personality and impressive executive ability."
His five years as president of the school laid a fine institutional base for the 19 years it was to remain there. His efforts contributed greatly to the benefit of Southern college, during his tenure he acquired and redecorated the historic Hotel San Marino to serve as a main building and women's dormitory. He also constructed a large brick administration building, made effective changes in the curriculum, and increased the student body & faculty.
Dr. Walker stepped down as President of Southern College in 1907, but served as a member of the Board of Trustees for many years thereafter. In 1921, Southern College was completely destroyed by fire. The decision was made to relocate the facility to Lakeland, FL. where it remains to this day under the name of Florida Southern College. It is considered to be the oldest private college in the state.
After the fire, Mr. Francis Skinner of Dunedin purchased the house and acreage and turned the land into a profitable citrus grove. An irrigation system using water from the a local sinkhole called the "Blue Sink" was most beneficial. During this time, George and Eula Harvey arrived from Walhalla, South Carolina and occupied the house. They operated a fruit stand, shipping gift baskets and crates of fruit to many parts of the United States until the freeze of 1962. The grove no longer exists, but the house remained preserved and in regular use; serving throughout the 1980's as a daycare center, and then an antique shop.
A new chapter in the house' history was opened when it became Casa Ludovico Italian Restaurant. Together we can contribute to the rich history of this house, making it a place where authentic Italian cuisine, friendly service, a large selection of fine wines, and good conversation can be had for all who wish to join us. Salute!