• Menu
  • Menu
Kenilworth Lodge | Photo © Sergio Alejandro, www.sergioisevil.co

Kenilworth Lodge

Location Class:
Built: 1898 | Abandoned: 2016
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places (June 15, 2000)
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Sergio Alejandro

The Town of Sebring

The Kenilworth Lodge is a historic hotel built by George Eugene Sebring in the town of Sebring, Florida, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 15, 2000. The Sebring family, owners, and operators of many pottery businesses moved to Ohio in the late-1800s and with the dream of building their own pottery town that would stand as a memorial to their work and ideals, founded the small town of Sebring, Ohio.

Work began at the site in April 1898 with the construction of factories, stores, and homes with George being the first of the Sebring family to construct a house in the town. He operated the Oliver China Company and also founded the town’s first insurance agency and real estate agency. In 1908, he began the planning of a new town on the shores of Lake Jackson in Highlands County, Florida. The lots of the newly founded town of Sebring, Florida were laid out in a circle, forming the framework of the subsequent development of the town. Most residential plots were located within the southern half of the circle with the finer homes located to the west on the shores of Lake Jackson.

38944886 124646137369
George Eugene Sebring

Kenilworth Lodge

The Kenilworth Lodge was built in 1916 and like many hotels of the era, it served as an image of progress as well as a place for prospective settlers to stay, featuring an eighteen-hole championship golf course, an orange grove, and a terraced lawn leading to a lakefront beach. It had a beauty parlor, a barbershop, a gift shop, and a restaurant. The building itself consisted of a three-story central block with two short wings. The building was designed by architects Bayard Clayton Bonfoey and Malachi Leo Elliott of Bonfoey & Elliott whose works include Tampa City Hall (1915) and Centro Asturiano de Tampa (1914). Construction was carried out by a local contractor, B. A. Cope. The two wings were extended to their current lengths in 1922.

Sebring sold the hotel in 1923 to a New York syndicate headed by an acquaintance and experienced hotelier, John Connelly. Connelly operated the hotel during the Florida Land Boom and the era’s most defining event which occurred in November 1924, when the town of Sebring and George E. Sebring played host at the Kenilworth Lodge to an annual convention of governors from all over the country. About twenty governors, accompanied by the governor of Florida, Carl A. Hardee, stayed for two days and brought with them national publicity.

In 1925, the Kenilworth was sold once again to Vincent Hall and George Kline for $1,000,000 who also purchased the Nan-Ces-O-Wee Hotel from George Sebring in an attempt to monopolize the burgeoning tourism industry. They would go on to construct the massive Harder Hall on the shores of Little Lake Jackson before the Great Depression put an end to their plans. In June 1927, their corporation went bankrupt and their properties were put up for auction. A local businessman by the name of David Tuttle purchased the Kenilworth Lodge at auction and operated it throughout the depression. Immediately after World War II, a cabaret was added to the building, directly on the backside of the central block.

Kenilworth Lodge postcard
Postcard depicting the Kenilworth Lodge. c. 1920s. Abandoned Atlas Archives


In 1972, Thomas Wohl, a Hollywood, Florida businessman, purchased the Kenilworth Lodge and began selling off parts of the property including the golf course and portions of the block the hotel was situated. Around this time, a restaurant was built along the south wing and was joined to the hotel by a walkway. By this time, the hotel operated as the Kenilworth Village Lodge & Motor Inn. The restaurant was sold off in 1995 and the connections to the hotel were sealed at that time. The Kenilworth Lodge was later sold in 1996 to Mark and Madge Stewart and was again sold later to Robert Mueller, who would operate the hotel until its closure.

On May 11, 2016, a small electrical fire activated the hotel’s suppression system, prompting a routine fire inspection of the property. The inspection found multiple fire violations including obstructed exit doors, no fire alarm system, taped over sprinkler heads, non-working emergency lighting, open electrical wires, and more. Due to the violations, the Kenilworth Lodge was condemned and remains closed. Although the building has been boarded up, vandals have found their way inside, causing further damage to the hotel’s interior. At this rate, there’s no telling if or when the Kenilworth Lodge will reopen.

Kenilworth Lodge, Sebring, Florida
Postcard depicting the Kenilworth Lodge. c. 1920s. Abandoned Atlas Archives


On June 20, 2021, Sebring police officers responded to a call about a trespasser at the Kenilworth Lodge. Upon searching the interior of the building, they found 25-year-old Michael Logan York and arrested him. The Sebring Police Department posted this on their social media alongside a mugshot of the subject with a warning that the owners will be pursuing criminal charges against anyone trespassing on the property. There was some backlash from the community as it was pointed out that Michael York was homeless and called out the police department for not only boasting about arresting a homeless person but shaming him as well.

In August 2021, the Sebring Department issued another statement noting an increase in trespassers on the property, most of which were ghost hunting, with a second warning that those caught would be criminally charged. Supposedly the ghost of George Parker, a former manager who died in the hotel in the 1950s, has haunted the property ever since.

It bears repeating, that the property is not open to the public. It is not open to exploration. Those wishing to explore the property for paranormal activity or other recreational activities will be charged criminally if caught.

Kenilworth Lodge, Sebring, Florida
A postcard depicting the dining room of the Kenilworth Lodge. c. 1920s. Abandoned Atlas Archives

Photo Gallery


David Bulit is a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. He has published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and continues to advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. His work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of his work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

View Locations

Copyright © 2009- - Abandoned Atlas Foundation - board@AbandonedAtlas.com | Designed By Prairie Nation Creative, LLC - Disclaimer