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Second-oldest nudist colony in county put up for sale

Owners of Florida Naturist Park, the county's second oldest nudist neighborhood, are trying to sell the land for $3.75-million.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 11, 2000


HUDSON -- The owners of Florida Naturist Park, one of the county's oldest nudist colonies, have placed the property on the market.

Four children of founder Ward Gulvin, who opened the nudist neighborhood southwest of Colony Road and Hudson Avenue in 1959, are selling the park's 230 acres for $3.75-million.

A New Jersey native, Gulvin founded the Naturist Religious Society in 1944. Gulvin, who has since died, devoted his movement to frolicking in the buff.

"A church is not always a building," Gulvin said in a 1987 interview with the Times. "It can be wherever people congregate. Here, we congregate nude."

Listing agent Mike Benjamin of Sun Realty in Lutz said the property is a mixture of pristine lake land and mobile homes, some in less than perfect shape.

Benjamin suggested that with the right buyer, preferably a nudist, the place could shine. The area north of State Road 52 where the park is located has grown in popularity with developers, he said.

"Quite frankly, it needs work," Benjamin said. "It's rustic, but it has unlimited potential."

"Part of it is totally untapped," Benjamin added. "They're about 70 acres that are totally virgin."

Benjamin said he's had only a couple of nibbles since the property hit the market four months ago. The fate of the current residents of the park in the event of a sale is unknown. Benjamin couldn't provide an exact number of residents.

The naturist park hit the news this week, but the story probably won't help sales.

Pasco sheriff's deputies dug up the front yard of a home on Park Lane, hoping to unearth the remains of a resident who disappeared five years ago.

Larry Nelson, a 40-year-old tree trimmer, vanished in 1995. Deputies suspect one of his neighbors, Robert Myer, was responsible. The excavation in Myer's front yard last week turned up no body.

Contacted Thursday, Benjamin still hadn't heard about the murder investigation.

"You can't see it over the phone, but my jaw just dropped," he said.

Florida Naturist Park is the county's second-oldest nudist neighborhood. Lake Como, the nudist resort in Land O'Lakes, is the oldest.

Two of Gulvin's children, who live in Dade City, couldn't be reached for comment.

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