Taste expert

National Registry Plaque


Pinewood Estate


Date Built: 1932
Architectural Style: Mediterranean Revival

The History of Pinewood Estate 

Emerge from the peaceful gardens to find yourself in a setting reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s. A tour through the magnificent Mediterranean-style Pinewood Estate lets you experience the luxurious lifestyle of C. Austin Buck, an early 20th century industrialist.

The Estate occupies eight acres of Bok Tower Gardens and is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.
Explore Pinewood Estate’s beautiful gardens and 20 room Mediterranean-style mansion built in the early 1930s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is considered one of the finest examples of Mediterranean-style architecture in Florida. From time to time, special musical performances are featured at Pinewood Estate.

Pinewood began its life in 1930 under the name “El Retiro” and was the winter home of C. Austin Buck, vice president of Bethlehem Steel. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., who came to the area in 1922 to design Edward W. Bok’s Gardens, was designing private gardens at nearby Mountain Lake Estates. William Lyman Phillips was assigned as the Olmsted representative and was retained by Buck to design the gardens and site of “El Retiro” to take maximum advantage of the lush Florida landscape.

Charles Wait, long affiliated with the Olmsted firm, was brought in to design the house in the Mediterranean-style Floridians still enjoy today. Wait created a house that had the appearance of a Mediterranean villa. The thick walls, wrought iron details, carved woodwork and doors heighten the effect. Wait also incorporated large porches to give clear views of the surroundings and provide constant air flow.

Buck, who admired Latin lifestyle and architecture, obtained the tiles used throughout the house from Cuba. Phillips, who spent time in the Canal Zone and had a great love for the tropics, set about creating a series of vistas – a Spanish frog fountain leading to a grotto in front of the house; an Oriental moon gate outside the dining room; and the long view down a rolling lawn to the lily pool. The entire house was situated to give views through the surrounding pine trees.

Over the years, Pinewood changed hands several times before it was acquired by Bok Tower Gardens in 1970. The estate was restored to its original design by nationally recognized restoration landscape architect Rudy Favretti, the staff of Bok Tower Gardens and a corps of volunteers. Today, work continues to preserve the mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tour Information

About the Historic Home Tour

Guests will receive a program upon entry to Pinewood Estate containing historical information about the home. Pinewood Estate docents will be available throughout the home to interact with guests and answer questions about Pinewood Estate and it’s furnishings.

Historic Home Tour Schedule

Pinewood Estate is open to self-guided tours Monday – Saturday from noon – 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 – 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from the Entrance Gate and Visitor Center Information Desk. Tickets can also be purchased at the Pinewood Estate front door (cash or checks only). 

Pinewood Estate Tour Tickets
Adults: $6
Children (5 – 12): $5
Members: $5
Children under 5 are free

General Gardens admission is required to tour Pinewood Estate. A combination ticket can be purchased at the Entrance Gate for Gardens and Pinewood Estate admission: Adults – $16, Children – $8


Address Information
Pinewood Estate
1151 Tower Boulevard
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Phone: (863) 676-1408
Website: http://boktowergardens.org/about/pinewood-estate/