The estate known as Goodwood was assembled in the 1830s by Hardy Croom of North Carolina. Plans for a full-time Florida residence were dashed when he, his wife and three children perished in the sinking of their steamship while en route to Florida. Bryan Croom, Hardy's brother, completed the Main House at Goodwood and established it as the centerpiece for his extensive Florida landholdings.
The family of Bryan Croom's sister-in-law sued Bryan for a portion of the estate he inherited from his brother Hardy. A complicated case, it was not settled until 1857. Bryan Croom lost his case and Goodwood was purchased by wealthy Arvah Hopkins who made Goodwood a popular center for Tallahassee society from the 1850s through the 1880s.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Hopkins sold Goodwood in 1885 to an Englishman, Dr. William Lamb Arrowsmith, and his wife. It is unknown how or why the Arrowsmiths selected Goodwood. Dr. Arrowsmith died within months of his relocation to Goodwood but his wife, Elizabeth, remained on the estate for another 25 years.
In 1911, Mrs. Arrowsmith sold Goodwood to another wealthy widow, Mrs. Alexander Tiers. Fanny Tiers, whose principal estate, Farmlands, was in Morris County, New Jersey, was related by marriage to the Fleischmann family, owners of Waverly Plantation, which was adjacent to Goodwood. Although she spent only limited time at Goodwood, Mrs. Tiers instituted an expansive renovation of the estate; the Goodwood of today is largely the result of her efforts.
As the story goes, in 1925 Senator William C. Hodges bought the most expensive bed of his life. As he related, his wife, Margaret, had always admired one of the old beds at Goodwood. However, to get the bed he had to buy the estate! Senator Hodges had a long and distinguished political career and he and his wife entertained the socially and politically prominent at Goodwood in a fashion unequaled since the Civil War. After the senator's death in 1940, Margaret continued to make Goodwood a social center.
In 1948, Margaret Hodges married Thomas M. Hood, an army officer she had met through the rental of the guest cottages on the estate. Together they enjoyed a comfortable life at Goodwood. After his wife's death in 1978, Tom Hood began planning for the restoration of Goodwood as a house museum and public park. He established the Margaret E. Wilson Foundation in her memory. Upon his death in 1990, the Wilson Foundation and its operating agent Goodwood Museum and Gardens, Inc. assumed stewardship for Goodwood, its fascinating history and promising future.
George Barbour, Travel Writer, 1880