Historic home provides happy ending for newly engaged couple

Historic home provides happy ending for newly engaged couple
Jonathan Heldenbrand and Palmer Kuder in front of their new home

Part of the former Barnett Estate, Magnolia, a renowned San Marco home with an expansive antebellum-style porch, became the site of another happy ending when Jonathan Heldenbrandt and Palmer Kuder became engaged on the doorstep of the historic house Sept. 6. Built in 1938 by entrepreneur David H. Tart of Pensacola, the home was originally a wedding gift for Tart’s son, David H. Tart Jr. and his bride, Elizabeth Brogden, a Jacksonville native who was born in 1916. 

“Last Friday I got engaged on the front steps of 1021 Greenridge,” said Heldenbrand. “The house was originally built in 1938 as a wedding gift. While my fiancée, Palmer, and I had looked at the house, she wasn’t aware that I was in the process of purchasing it. We drove to the house, and I had a large bow placed on the front door. To her confusion, I casually asked her if she liked her wedding gift. I then proposed and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me in this beautiful house.”

Kuder said she was “surprised, shocked, and elated,” by Heldenbrand’s proposal and the gift of the house. “It was a wonderful mix of emotions,” she said. “I’m honored and humbled to carry on such a beautiful tradition with my new family in this house. It’s really a dream come true.”

Heldenbrandt, the groom-to-be, is chief investment officer for Sleiman Enterprises. He grew up in New Mexico and has lived in Jacksonville for 14 years, having discovered the First Coast during his tenure at the University of Florida business school. His bride-to-be grew up in Ortega, attended the Bolles School and lived in Avondale after graduating from the University of Alabama. She currently works for Mayor Lenny Curry. Her family has owned Rayware Hardware in Avondale for four generations. 

Heldenbrand has two daughters from a previous marriage that live with the couple and attend San Jose Catholic School. “This area will be great for us,” he said.

The couple is planning to be married at Timuquana Country Club next fall.

Magnolia looms gracefully over historic Greenridge Road Park in Colonial Manor and was originally part of the old Red Bank Plantation, which was first built by the French in the 1700s. Since 1938, the home has only been owned by two other families, the Tarts and the Barnetts. Tart, who owned several businesses including three cooperage manufacturing facilities in Florida and Georgia, gave it to his son and daughter-in-law. Oscar F. Barnett and his wife purchased the home in 1958 and later sold it to William G. Barnett and his wife, Amy, in 1984. 

The younger David Tart lived in the home for 20 years and brought up a family of three boys, who attended Hendricks Avenue Elementary. During their tenure the Tart family attended Swaim Methodist Church in San Marco. The family eventually moved to Valdosta, Ga., to manage his family’s cooperage manufacturing business. 

Oscar Barnett and his wife, who were second-generation Jacksonville business owners, raised their four children in the home, while William and Amy Barnett raised three children before selling the home to Heldenbrand. 

According to a written history of the house, Magnolia has been a happy place of celebration for five generations. Two weddings, Christmas and birthday parties, Young Life meetings, Easter Egg hunts, Bible studies, and even a James Bond event have taken place within its borders. “It’s been the location for several television productions airing worldwide on HGTV, Discovery networks, and PBS. One of the visiting celebrities said it reminded her of Martha Stewart’s home,” according to the written history.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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