BAGDAD —The Florida Heritage Landmark dedication for the Forcade House took place Saturday Oct. 13. During her remarks at the dedication Luci Bailly, co-owner of the home, said she wanted to thank God for giving her a vision 20 years ago for a tearoom.
"Next year sometime we will open a tea room," Bailly said. "It's going to be called Ms. Luci's Tea Room & More."
The "more" part, Bailly said, was her idea to turn the home into an event/entertainment venue. In addition to the tearoom, the home would host small weddings, business receptions, Christmas parties and a murder mystery theater. However, speaking with the wisdom that comes from renovating old homes for several years, Bailly said that when working with historic homes it always takes longer than anticipated. For now, Bailly plans to open sometime next year.
The Forcade House, named after the first owner Edward Forcade, was built with the help of his brother-in-law Elsear "Exie" Fournier. Construction began on the home in 1918 and finished the next year. According to David Bailly, co-owner, the home is an example of shingle-style architecture rarely seen in the South.
The Florida Heritage Landmark says the home's craftsmanship includes a curved upper front porch, along with multiple roof styles including hip, gable and shed. The home also features a Dutch front door — the top half can open independently for ventilation while the bottom can stay closed for safety.
The unique part of the house is the interior with its intricate woodwork. Both Forcade and Fournier worked at the Bagdad Land and Lumber Company while they built the house. According to Bailly, Forcade decided to bring home scrap pieces of wood from the mill. He then started to design and build intricate woodworking inlay patterns that eventually covered the walls, ceiling and floors of the three main rooms on the first floor.
As part of a special surprise for the dedication, the Baillys also unveiled a restored hand-drawn fire hose cart, circa 1870. If a fire were to break out, four volunteers would push the cart to the location, hook up the hose to a hydrant and start fighting the fire. The advent of the fire truck eventually replaced these carts.
The cart is on permanent display behind the house in its own covered housing.
The house has been on the National Historic Register since 1987. The Baillys bought the Forcade House in 2004.
They have slowly worked their dream into a reality.