Edward Frischkorn, a successful businessman in Detroit responsible for developing Dunedin Isles and the Donald Ross golf course, ordered the building of the five-bedroom, six-bathroom mansion now known as the Kellogg Mansion to begin in 1925. Frischkorn’s mansion in Dunedin, which he designed and built during the land boom of the 1920s, was not only his home but was also used as a model for other homes. Austin Seitz, an administrator in the shoe manufacturing industry from Chicago, purchased the stately mansion during the peak of the Great Depression. Unfortunately, not long after he bought the property, it was taken back by the bank due to unpaid taxes.
W.K. Kellogg, originally from Battle Creek, Michigan, and later became the founder of Kellogg’s cereal firm, purchased the mansion in 1934. Following the Great Depression, the Kellogg plant in Michigan had worked to capacity in April 1934 for the first time in the company’s existence, turning out more than a million boxes per day of Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and other cereals. The local newspaper quoted a Kellogg representative as saying that the company made it through the Great Depression by advertising more, which led to more sales. W.K. Kellogg was well into his 70s then and only spent the winters of 1934 and 1935 at the Dunedin residence.
W.K. Kellogg (courtesy of wkkf.org)
Kellogg owned several homes in different parts of the United States, including one in California. In 1935, he bequeathed the residence located in Dunedin, Florida, to the Kellogg Foundation. In 1942, the foundation leased the land to the United States Marine Corps, and after that year, it was utilized as a part of a facility where Marines tested and trained on Roebling amphibious vehicles. The Dunedin-built Roebling vehicles, which resembled tanks, were occasionally called “Alligators.” Marines piloted them from the Dunedin Isles for practice landings on Honeymoon Island before using them in battle in the Pacific and Europe. According to an article published in the Dunedin Times in 1943, the house was used as the living accommodations for unmarried Marine officers.
The palm-lined shores of Florida “beckoned” to the wealthy philanthropist, according to the biography of Kellogg titled “The Original Has This Signature.” Still, Kellogg’s grandson claimed in the rare, self-published memoir An Intimate Glimpse of a Shy Grandparent that Kellogg came to Florida partly out of spite during those years. Kellogg was upset with how the University of California was taking care of the huge Arabian horse ranch that he had given to the school as a gift. The ranch in Pomona, California, included Kellogg’s mansion, where he had spent the winters every year since 1926. However, according to his grandson, Kellogg refused to stay there for several years “lest this is interpreted by any remote stretch of anyone’s imagination as an endorsement of the university’s stewardship.” According to the book, Kellogg relished Tarpon Springs, where he watched sponge divers through a glass-bottom boat.
Additionally, Kellogg was a frequent guest at the Sarasota home of John Ringling, the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The brief Florida chapter includes one more story from Kellogg’s time at the Dunedin house. During this time, he decided to conduct a telephone conference call with the various locations of Kellogg’s cereal empire to exchange holiday greetings. The phone company put in special equipment, such as a black box mounted in a phone booth near the building’s entrance. The residence in Dunedin, New Zealand, was able to establish connections with Battle Creek, Michigan, London, Ontario, Australia, and Mexico City; however, the grandson became “so carried away with the worldwide scope” that he propped his foot on the black box and ripped it out of the wall, which resulted in the termination of the call for all parties involved.
In 1946, William and Caroline Nolan purchased the residence from the Kellogg Foundation for $63,500. Ethel King, a real estate broker from Hernando County, sold the home to Bill Matthew, a newspaper broker who managed numerous mergers and sales for some of the largest publishing businesses in the nation. In 1964, Matthew purchased the mansion, and over the following four decades, he devoted his time and energy to repairing, remodeling, and maintaining the historic home. There were no air conditioning units in the house when he purchased it, and each bathroom had a spigot for saltwater. Central air conditioning installation took Matthew two years. The cleaning and maintenance alone were costing him approximately $100,000 per year, but the older he got, the wealthier and more eccentric he became. Over the years, some of the home’s background has been confused. Although the house’s footprint has remained the same over the years, many more eccentric flourishes seen in the photographs were added after Kellogg owned the property.
Don Ringelspaugh was commissioned to paint murals throughout the mansion by Bill Matthew, who also contributed to the colorful mosaic tile work. Matthew also installed a disco with a ceiling that could be opened via remote control so guests could party outside under the stars. It is believed that the timber used in the bedroom that Bill Matthew remodeled originated from the property of Monticello, which belonged to Thomas Jefferson. The timber used came from Jefferson’s father’s property, “Pantops.” James Nielsen, an ophthalmologist practicing in Clearwater, purchased the property from the estate of Bill Matthew in 2003. Nielsen passed away in January, and his widow petitioned the Dunedin City Commission not to vote to designate the home as historic because it would hurt the property’s value and could potentially compromise the sale of the house, currently in the process of being completed.
The Kellogg Mansion has been on sale since 2003 and is about to go up for sale once more. The property sold for $4 million after being on the market for seven years. The new buyer intends to demolish the mansion and redesign the property to suit the family’s new home design. The Historical Committee has been granted time to raise funds to relocate a portion of the mansion known as the Cabana Guesthouse to a new location. The city has been in contact with the buyer currently possessing the property. The committee is tasked with finding a new location, raising sufficient funds to relocate the structure, and renovating it. The buyer has agreed to conduct a salvage auction before demolishing the mansion. The Dunedin History Museum will receive a portion of the proceeds to assist in preserving the Cabana. When the guesthouse has been reassembled in its new location, it will be decorated in the same manner as it was in the 1940s, when Kellogg owned the building. The history of the Kellogg mansion will be told in one of the rooms in the Cabana through artifacts, photographs, exhibit panels, and a unique computer-generated graphic virtual tour of the complete mansion. The new proprietor of the home has decided to demolish it because it contains black mold, asbestos, and other structural problems that require a significant amount of money to repair. The Kellogg Mansion has now been demolished despite everyone’s best attempts to save it. After standing for nearly a century, bulldozers only took days to reduce it to rubble. The Kellogg Mansion will continue to exist as a virtual reality strolling tour that can be experienced at the Dunedin Public Library.
Find More Articles 👇 👇 👇