Disney isn’t the only place in Central Florida that you’re likely to run into Snow White. Just outside Port Orange is the 175-acre Spruce Creek Preserve. This hidden Florida gem is a popular recreation area for locals. On any given weekend, you’ll find visitors canoeing on Spruce Creek or taking a leisurely stroll amongst the cypress trees.
On the property also sits a cracker-style home built in 1907 by James Gamble of Proctor & Gamble fame. The Ivory Soap inventor came to this area in the late 1800s and purchased the land as a winter retreat. Guided tours of the house are normally available on the weekends.
But Gamble Place isn’t the only structure people come to see.
Tucked away in a shaded area along the water is a curious sight. At first glance, it looks like a log house that’s somewhat out-of-place just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. But venture a little closer and you’ll soon realize it’s something out of a storybook.
Actually, more like out of a fairy tale. Gamble’s daughter Maud and her husband Judge Alfred K. Nippert were seasonal residents of the Daytona Beach area for years. The couple inherited a portion of the Spruce Creek property upon Gamble’s death in 1932. When Maud passed away a few years later in 1937, Judge Nippert continued to visit the property and decided to build his own version of a winter retreat.
For inspiration, Nippert turned to an unlikely source. Not long after Maud’s death, Disney’s classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released. Nippert fell in love with the movie and shortly after designed a fantasy playhouse similar to the Black Forest-style cottage that he had seen on the big screen. Originally, the structure was intended to be for children who visited the property. But over the years, Nippert’s vision grew and so did the cottage. By 1938, the building was a full-size replica of Snow White’s cottage.
In addition to the cottage, Nippert built a two-story Dwarfs’ Mine Shaft and a Witch’s Hut, both of which still stand.
Gamble Place and Snow White’s Cottage are located just over a mile west of Interstate 95 at 1819 Taylor Road.