Richard Keith Call (1792-1862) and his wife Mary Kirkman Call (1801-1836) purchased the original 640 acres of property at "The Grove" in 1825. Call, a protege of Andrew Jackson, served as Florida's first delegate to Congress and as its third and fifth territorial governor. Between 1825 and 1832, he designed and constructed The Grove's two-story Greek Revival style mansion using African-American slave labor. It remains today a place of architectural and historic distinction. After Call's death, female descendants of the Call family led The Grove through a period of resourceful and innovative ownership, using the property at various times as an art and dance studio, a silkworm farm, and a boarding house and hotel. Thomas "LeRoy" Collins (1909-1991) and Mary Call Darby Collins (1911-2009) purchased The Grove in 1940. Under their stewardship over the next seven decades, the Collins family helped to preserve The Grove, today one of Florida's oldest surviving 19th century estates. During Collins' tenure as Florida's 33rd governor (1955-1961), The Grove served as the Executive Residence while a new Governor's mansion was constructed. In 1972, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1985, the family deeded The Grove to the State of Florida for use as a historic house museum.
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