The Ledger February 18, 1989

Cody 'tamed' part of Polk
The Lindus Cody home south of Babson Park.      Ron Barron / The Ledger
Karen Campbell / The Ledger

By Georgette Sharman
The Ledger
he turn of the century was a wild and wooly time in the American West.
There were animals to be shot, "injuns" to be fought, a continent to be tamed. And the man who lived it all


and brought the experience home for the rest of the nation was William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
   But while Bill was ridin' and ropin', cousin Lindus was buyin' and buildin'.
Please see Sarah on 15

The Ledger February 18, 1989

This photo, taken in 1923 shows Lindus Cody's home at the far right. Cody built his home in 1917, according to his granddaughter Sarah Cody.

Sarah Cody lives in original homestead Continued from page 1
   One of the parcels Lindus took aim at was a prime piece of Polk citrus property south of Babson Park on the shores of Crooked Lake. He eventually bought 200 acres between Mann Road and the water, and built abodes for himself, his three sons and "the help" in the early 1900s.

   The head honcho around here these days is Sarah Cody, Lindusí niece and the last of his branch of the family to carry the Cody surname.

   She lives in the original homestead, Lindusí house, next door to the house she grew up in.

   "My grandfather believed in having the family together," she said, sipping black coffee and looking out the picture window at her property which slopes serenely to the lakeshore. "There were no deeds until the 1940s."

   He also believed in using high trees as lightning rods and heart of pine and cypress as construction materials. "My grandfather did it right when he did it," she said.
   There are a few more houses nowó nearly a dozen, some sold to strangers ó linked by red clay Mann Road and Cody Villa Loop Road, a shell path a little wider than a driveway. But the property has been split into parallel tracts perpendicular to the lake and deeded to Sarah, her siblings and cousins.

   Sarah is the only Cody to settle on the place and administer the rentals of five family-owned houses and four apartments. She didnít always live there ó the family was originally from Ohio, and she was a librarian there until her retirement in 1978.

   Lindus had made a name ó and some money ó for himself building houses in the Cleveland area, said Sarahís cousin, Frostproof attorney and occasional political candidate David Higginbottom.

   Lindus, who Higginbottom characterized as "a very sedate gentleman," specialized in affordable housing. Most sold for about $950, he said, equivalent to $50,000 to $60,000 today, and people often could move in with no down payment.
   Two things happened to lead Lindus to Polk County ó health problems and the Spanish-American War. By the mid 1890s, he already had a house in Tampa, Sarah said, where the climate was kind to the respiratory ailments that ran in the family. Then Arthur, Sarahís father, went off to war and met an Army buddy from Polk County and was the first to set eyes on Crooked Lake. It was love at first sight. Buildings followed not too long after.

   Today Cody Villas attracts people who like the views and the relative isolation. Fewer than 25 people live there, Sarah said, because thatís all Lindusí water system can support.

   "Weíre all just nice people. We pay our bills, donít do bad things," Sarah said.

   Ivy Griffin, who has been coming down from New Hampshire for 11 winters says sheís "crazy about the place."

   Itís quiet and itís pretty, and she and her husband, Leonard, have been "very satisfied" with their winter
lodgings, she said. Her daughter lives year-round in Sarahís sisterís house, which sits on a path between their original home and the lake.

   Sarahís cousin Dolly Wasson, who plans to move in the fall into the house she owns with her sister, is sold on the view. "Itís the best in all of Florida," she said.

   Higginbottom went a little further ó he called the view "gorgeous."

   Her parents wintered there "when things were slow in the real estate market in Cleveland" and brought the kids until they were unable to be out of school. They used to rent the 1913 house for $200 a month.

   Dollyís sister Trudy, of Newcastle, Pa., says the place is home. When they drive down, she said, they roll down the windows because the area just "smells" like home. "Thatís the way itís been ever since we were little. This was home." With the nostalgia comes a touch of sadness. "It used to be nice with all my relatives around," Sarah said, "but many of them are dead now."

The International Cody Family Association