HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.- The Red Rose Inn can be seen by many commuters on Interstate 4. It doesn’t look like much now, but it is still home to many magnificent items that are set to be auctioned off.
On Saturday, August 6 at 10 a.m. bidders will have the opportunity to grab furnishings from the inn.
In it’s prime the Red Rose Inn was like something out of Gone With the Wind. The ballroom, restaurant and lounge were designed to match the Civil War era and 28 VIP suites adopted the films Victorian motif.
Some of those VIP rooms were even named after the adored characters, such as, Rhett Butler, Ashley Wilkes and Scarlett O’Hara.
Before becoming the iconic Red Rose Inn, the hotel was a Ramada Inn. Evelyn and Batista Madonia transformed the hotel after purchasing the Ramada with the fortune they made from their tomato farms.
Emerald velvet curtains hung over windows while chandeliers lit the bathrooms. Gone With the Wind parties where guests dressed up in costumes and mingled were hosted in the hotel.
The Red Rose Inn was also known for its fine dining and rock bands. And those that had never set foot in the hotel knew of the Red Rose Inn from the commercials featuring Evelyn Madonia in an evening gown with bright red hair.
The inn has been closed for four years now after abruptly closing following brunch service one Sunday afternoon. The inn was shut in 2012 and sold in 2013 after a bankruptcy liquidation sale of the assets of the Madonia family.
Sound systems, kitchen and restaurant equipment, Gone With the Wind inspired items and more will be auctioned this coming weekend. It comes has a big step toward opening the Florida Rehabilitation and Recovery Services, a drug and alcohol recovery center. The center is expected to move onto the 8-acre site off of Wheeler Street by the end of this year.