Southern Gothic Charm: 1728 Ballard Park Drive

By Robert Plunket January 5, 2012

1728 Ballard Park Drive, Bradenton

This 95-year-old Southern Gothic mini-mansion in Bradenton may be the most atmospheric home in the entire area. You could reenact entire Tennessee Williams plays right on the verandah without changing a thing. On gloomy days it exudes melancholy; when the sun comes out it’s like you’ve time-traveled back to the comforting past. Add to that a secret garden that slopes down to Ware’s Creek and you have something that is going to make old house lovers


Two downstairs main rooms feature fireplaces.

It is currently owned by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, but the previous owner got about 75 percent through remodeling—the neighbors say he was a yacht carpenter—and the interior is definitely on the right track. He installed intricate paneling all over, did a great-looking kitchen and two artily updated baths. Still, there’s a lot to be done: the siding is a problem (but at least its original) and the second floor is lacking a ceiling. There a weird swimming pool that fits in perfectly. But the glory of the place is the two main downstairs rooms, beautifully proportioned, with great windows and a fireplace in each.

Swimming pool.

The location is perfect, at least for the purposes of a great old wreck. It’s in a shabby part of downtown Bradenton, just down the street from the shuffleboard courts. Both properties on either side are empty and boarded up. It doesn’t matter.

I am told it is just over 2,100 square feet, and is currently configured as five bedrooms.  There is also a two-car garage and a pavered motor court, added later, I’m sure, plus an aquarium and a white picket fence. I seem to remember back during the boom it was on the market for $750,000. Now it’s priced at $179,000. Call May Aston at 941-545-3417.

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