Renowned Chef Art Smith has purchased the historic Wardlaw-Smith House, commonly known as the Smith Mansion. The Smith Mansion, which has sat empty for many years will now be the home of the Chef Art Smith Southern Kitchen and Garden School. The Wardlaw-Smith House was erected in the early 1860's for Benjamin F. Wardlaw, a prominent local citizen. Following the Civil War Battle of Olustee in February 1864, it served as a Confederate hospital. In 1871, Chandler Holmes Smith, in whose family it remained for a century, acquired it. In January 1978, the Wardlaw-Smith House was in a state of disrepair and was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. William M. Goza. Under the supervision of Dawson Rutherford, Master Contractor, it was meticulously restored and landscaped by them. Mr. and Mrs. Goza donated the property to The University of Florida Foundation in December 1983, and it was acquired for the use of the North Florida Junior College, designated as the Wardlaw-Smith-Goza Conference Center at the dedication ceremonies on October 23, 1988. The house was eventually handed over to the City of Madison.
Chef Smith is from Jasper, Florida and has cooked for many celebrities and heads of state. He has cooked for Former Florida Governors Bob Graham and Jeb Bush, President Barack Obama and was the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey for 10 years. He is also the author of four cookbooks: Kitchen Life, Back to the Table, Back to the Family and Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort. Broker Jessica Webb of A Main Street Realty stated that Chef Smith’s purchase of the Smith Mansion was finalized on Friday, September 11. He paid the full asking price of $450,000. “Art has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for our community and the surrounding areas,” said Webb. “He has some great ideas that I think will be a huge benefit for Madison and north Florida.” According to a post on Chef Art Smith’s Facebook page, he plans to offer cooking seminars taught by award winning chefs and lectures about political science, history, music and writing taught by acclaimed poets, writers, politicians and musicians. He also plans to get the Chef Art Smith Southern Kitchen and Garden School accredited.
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1. Photo Submitted. The Smith Mansion will be the home of the Chef Art Smith Southern Kitchen and Garden School.
2. Photo Submitted. Chef Art Smith has purchased the Smith Mansion.