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Famous once-floating Victorian mansion goes on sale for $5 million

RUSKIN — A three-story Victorian mansion famous for floating up Tampa Bay during an extravagant tugboat move has bobbed onto the market for just under $5 million, a sales listing Tuesday shows.

The century-old Lamb Manor, all 220 tons of it, cruised 25 miles from Palmetto to Ruskin in 2006 after a developer sought the land beneath it to build a condo tower.

George and Nancy Corbett, who run a North Carolina retreat for Baptist ministers, said they bought the once-abandoned home for $1. They spent the next seven years and about $1.9 million restoring the 7,000-square-foot Queen Anne-style estate.

Sitting on five secluded acres overlooking the Little Manatee River, the sprawling seven-bedroom mansion and guesthouse boast five fireplaces, five kitchens, an old-fashioned "birdcage" elevator and a backyard waterfall and lagoon.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the manor is adorned with 19th-century bronze work and hand-carved cabinetry. But it also bears modern touches, including a closed-circuit security system, a movie theater and a refrigerator hidden inside an 1800s oak armoire.

"We put seven years of our life and funds into this, and we loved every minute. It was fun," said Nancy Corbett, 66, who added she and her husband planned to move closer to their kids in Lakeland.

As for the potential $4,995,000 payoff? "That's just icing on the cake."

Times staff writer Will Hobson contributed to this report. Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or

Famous once-floating Victorian mansion goes on sale for $5 million 02/25/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:22am]
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