If your real estate fantasy is to find an old mansion, buy it for a song, and restore it to its former glory—or maybe even live there, Miss Havisham-like, in shabby-chic splendor—well, look no further.

The Lancaster House, built in 1923 by Dr. Blake Lancaster, is a gracious 3,000-square-foot showplace set on 1.28 acres just south of the Manatee River in northeast Bradenton. Dr. Lancaster was the founder of the old Riverside Hospital, which was located next door but has since been torn down. He was a Renaissance man—in addition to his medical career, he was a gifted musician and artist. His murals of Florida history still adorn the dining room walls.

The interior of the home is mostly intact and full of fascinating original details. Period lighting fixtures abound, along with built-ins, paneling, windows and remarkable wood floors. The wainscoting in the dining room is intact and spectacular.

The home has four big bedrooms (one on the ground floor) and two baths. There’s lots of extra room for storage and adding living space. The baths and kitchen have been updated, but it would be fun to bring them back to a more “period” look.

Behind the house is an enormous “yard." It's a little unkempt at the moment, but it’s possible to add cottages for a family compound or split it off. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in the area. It was settled back in the 1840s and today is very eclectic—lots of nice old houses, some fixed up, some rentals. I find it charming in a raffish sort of way. It’s the perfect setting for this extraordinary piece of history

Tempted but thinking “I could never afford it”? Well, you can. The price for all this splendor is a mere $335,000.

2326 Second Ave. E., Bradenton, is listed by Bailey Dempsey of Keller Williams. For more info call (941) 404-5310.

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