Near the main campus of Florida State University and nestled between student apartment complexes lies a hidden three-acre green space seemingly from another time and place.
Lichgate on High Road is the dream of a former literature professor at Florida State named Laura Jepsen.
In 1956, she wandered by a pasture that lay just outside what was then the city limits of Tallahassee and saw an ancient Live Oak standing in its center. Falling in love with the tree, she purchased the surrounding field and built a small home modeled after English Tudor cottages.
The granite used for the foundation came from the same quarry in Georgia as the stone in the steps of the nearby Old State Capitol Building, the white pine floors are planks from a ship US colonists dismantled to build a home in Putney, Vermont in 1762 (later demolished), and the cypress paneling was taken from swamps just outside Tallahassee.
She named the property Lichgate after gates that separate the graveyard from the Church in England and spoke of her home being a place where one could travel back and forth between the land of the living and the land of the dead.
Laura Jepsen never married or had children, and upon her death on Christmas Eve in 1995, plans were made to sell the property for commercial development. A group of her friends and former students created a non-profit and purchased the property to save it.
Today, the cottage still stands and the property remains open to anyone who wishes to visit. A Shakespeare Garden and labyrinth for meditation lie to the south of the cottage.
Know Before You Go
1401 High Road
Just a few blocks from the Florida State University main campus, the driveway is bit hard to see, look for a white post with the word Lichgate engraved on it on the east side of High Road near Tharpe Street.