Hosts & Inn History
Your Innkeepers Carole and Joe
Carole is the long time innkeeper at Thurston House. Before innkeeping, she was a specialized customer service representative and marketing specialist for a Fortune 500 company. Joe is the go to honey-do guy who keeps bulbs replaced and bushes trimmed. He has been in high technology for over 30 years now. Originally from Massachusetts, they arrived in Maitland by way of a year in Southern California. Ask them the story of it while spending quality time out on the porch.
Our inn history starts with long ago owner Cyrus Brooks Thurston. He was a well known businessman in 1880’s Twin Cities Minnesota. Being successful in the businesses of cold storage and farm implements landed him on the social register and “Who’s Who” lists of that time. Around 1883 he purchased 160 acres of beautiful land in Central Florida near Lake Maitland. Two years later his grand winter getaway known as Thurston Cottage was ready for Cyrus and his family. Records show many citrus groves and lakes were on his land. The family enjoyed many trips here until Cyrus’s death in 1915.
A Little More History
Only 3 more families followed the Thurston’s –
Mr. & Mrs. Hirsch, formally of Glencoe, Illinois were the second owners. He had been the mayor of Glencoe, so they named this southern home Glencoe Groves. A local gentleman remembered them being chauffeured around in a big black Cadillac limousine with rose bud vases on the doors.
The 3rd owners were Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Cubbedge and family. Mr. Cubbedge was the mayor of Maitland for several terms and also grew camellias as a hobby. Many of these can still be seen in the yard today!
The 4th owners were Mr. & Mrs. Arthur O’Heir and family. Mr. O’Heir was a businessman and built the Maitland Plaza, still standing at the corner of Horatio and Orlando Avenues. Their daughter Karen still owns the plaza. The home stayed a long time in their family, almost 40 years, until it was sold to the City of Maitland in 1988.
The City of Maitland continues to own this property, but it is leased to the Ballard’s as their home and also to run the business known as Thurston House bed & breakfast. Cyrus would still be very proud that so many have enjoyed his beautiful home. Guests from all over the world – 25 countries! – and from 4 territories and every state have loved their stays here!