Owner of Jefferson Replica in Tarpon Springs may soon invite students

Posted at 6:16 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 18:16:48-04

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — The 7,200 square foot building in Tarpon Springs is enough to cause a traffic jam. 

"A lot of people even drive up on my driveway. But I don't mind, I understand the curiosity,' said the owner Gareth Whitehurst.

Until now, Whitehurst has not allowed television cameras inside his replica of the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. 

Eight years after laying down the foundation, he is also getting close to inviting in a select few.

"It's too nice and interesting of a place to just sit in here," said Whitehurst.

A former math teacher and Pinellas County School board member, Whitehurst wants to open the door to student groups for free. He said the historical significance is priceless.  

"You play the odds. You assume that that this is a novel and unique inspiration and is going to have some positive effect later on," said Whitehurst.

He hopes in the next few weeks students will embrace the antiques, the more than 10,000 books he's collected, and mostly the architecture. Some of it mimics other historical buildings.

"The decorative detail that you see on the inner-dome is the same decorative detail that you see on the capital building in Washington DC." said Whitehurst as he pointed to the ceiling.

Washington D.C is where Whitehurst grew up. He feels he is now bringing a piece of his childhood with him.