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Clovelly House

Did you know that Sebring was once the retirement home of the head of one of the world’s largest charity organizations, with branches in 131 countries? Or that this same man’s retirement party was attended by a future king and queen of the largest dominion the world has ever known? This house on Lakeview Drive, familiar to many of us because of its long association with the Highlands Art League, was once the home of just such a man, Edward J. Higgins (1864-1947), the very first elected General of The Salvation Army. General Higgins served in The Salvation Army for more than fifty years, serving as general for the last five after a prestigious career in America and Britain. As a testament to his impact on Britain, which then ruled nearly a quarter of the globe, his retirement was attended by the future King George VI and his wife Elizabeth (the parents of the reigning queen). Higgins moved to Sebring in 1937 to live near his son William V. Higgins, and settled into this house, which his family named “Clovelly” after a beloved, seaside village in the south of England. The family continued to have a strong influence on Sebring and Highlands County for a number of years to come—the younger Higgins served four terms on the Sebring City Council, and General Higgins grand-daughter is still living in Avon Park, the wife of prominent local resident Sanford Hartt. More recent owners of the house have included the Floyd Schumacher family, the Highlands Art League, and the City of Sebring. With a number of changes going on downtown, the future of this wonderful and historic building is now in question, but the Sebring Historical Society is working with the City of Sebring to find a way to preserve this building and the neighboring Weigle House and restore them to their original appearance to promote greater engagement with the history of our community and enhance the vibrancy of the cultural area around the Circle. If you would like more information about how you could help with these projects by a donation of time or money, please contact the Sebring Historical Society, 321 W. Center Avenue, at (863) 471-2522 or by e-mail at Please join us in being a part of “preserving, protecting, and sharing” the wonderful heritage of our beloved hometown community!

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