Back to 223 Amesbury Circle

During a family trip to Orlando, on May 10, 2005, I had the opportunity to drive back to Sun City Center, Florida to visit the house my grandparents, Bert & Larry Hansen, lived in from 1978 until my Grandma moved to Wisconsin in 1992.  The house style is called a "Spanish Main" and it is on a golf course.  Here's how it looked in the early mid-1980s when my grandparents lived there:

I had used the Internet to find out the name of the current owner of the house, John Sagraves.  I googled his name and found a John Sagraves from Tampa on a motorcycle website.  I sent an e-mail to the address listed asking if he owned 223 Amesbury Circle and told him I might swing by to see how it looks these days and snap a photo or two.  He sent a nice e-mail back saying stop by anytime. 

Before our trip I sent another e-mail saying I'd probably stop by on Saturday the 8th.  He said he'd be out of town, but his wife would show me around, which I thought was an extremely generous offer these days.  He also gave me their home phone.  As it turned out, our plans were a bit fluid and I couldn't get there until Monday.  I tried to call, but didn't get a hold of them.

When I arrived in SCC, I went straight to Amesbury Circle.  I purposely took the south entrance to the Circle because I knew I'd come around the bend and see the house from the front.  Boy, did it look different!

The red tile roof is gone, replaced by brown dimensional shingles.  I remember my Grandpa telling me that the tile roof was a hundred year roof, but it didn't last thirty.  I know it got hit by golf balls occasionally, which would break a tile or two.  Evidently the previous owners got sick of fixing that.  It also has a pink tinge in the new paint job and a red driveway.  Finally, most of the palm trees are gone.

I knocked on the door, but no one was home.  So I walked around to the back.  The golf course looked pretty much the same.

But the back of the house looked quite different.  The patio, which had just been covered by an awning, had been fully enclosed, and the backyard no longer had any fruit trees.

So I walked back to the front of the house to get one more picture.  As I was snapping this photo, I heard a golf cart pulling up behind me. 

I had a quick thought that this might be the Sagraves and when I turned around, they said, "We were expecting you on Saturday."  They invited me into their home and showed me around.  John & Bobbie Sagraves are about my parents' age and have a real estate business.  They said there is a pretty vibrant community of non-retired, but over 55 folks that live in SCC these days.  I remember it being a lot older community in the 80s, but then again, I was a lot younger!

It was very weird being inside the house because it had been changed a lot.  It really didn't feel like Grandma's house, more like another house with a similar floor plan.  We went in through the garage, and the first room you come to, which had been a sitting room for my grandparents had been turned into a dining room.  The dining room had been turned into an office.  Most of the carpets were gone and had been replaced with engineered wood flooring.  The only thing that looked familiar was the kitchen cabinetry.

Here's the living room:

And the Lanai.  All of the back windows and the door have been removed and the window holes are open to the enclosed patio.  Here's looking South:

And a very dark photo looking North:

Here's a shot looking North inside the screened in patio.  This is a very nice room:

And here's John Sagraves in his office, which was my Grandma's dining room:

Being a realtor, John pulled up some information on the last several sales of the house going back to Grandma's in 1994.  Bobbie also gave me a couple of cards in case any of you decide you want to move to Sun City Center.

I mentioned that John is a motorcycle guy, so I had to take a picture of the garage.  It still has the green paint on the floor that Grandpa had, but I told him all my Grandpa kept in there was a golf cart and an Mercury Marquis!

Finally I wanted to check out the pool at the Sun City Center where we spent many a day (from 11am - 1pm or 4-5pm as children were only allowed there during those times.)  I happen to have converted some movies which had similar shots from 1977 of the pictures I took on this visit so here are some side by side comparisons.  My biggest disappointment is that they removed the diving board.  Darned insurance companies!

The shallow end looks pretty much the same:


But the deep end is missing the diving board and is in the shadow of the indoor pool.  I like the brick deck they installed though:


The outside looks a little different too (that's me closing the door of our awesome 1972 Gran Torino with a 350 V8 and my brother Chris in agony on the hot asphalt!):


I had a great trip to Sun City Center and it brought back fond memories of the times my family spent there.  I'm truly grateful to John & Bobbie Sagraves for inviting me into the house and showing me around.  I hope their family enjoys it as much as we did!

Eric Elfner
May 2005