Little is known about the origins of this sprawling Mediterranean-style residence. Tucked away behind a high wooden fence, the 13-room mansion was known by locals as the Mystery House and even the Stairway to Heaven house because of an unusual architectural feature an iron-gated archway on the roof that opened to reveal a flight of red-carpeted stairs that seemingly reached well, to heaven.
The five-acre estate included a classically-styled swimming pool, a separate goldfish pond, stables, and other structures,
Perhaps because of its flamboyant architectural design, rumors persisted that the home was originally constructed for a gentleman who served as the ambassador to Spain. Thats probably not true. According to old city directories, it was apparently built around 1930 by Erwin Cordes, president of the Eastern Development Company, a real estate firm with offices in downtowns Falls Building.
At the time, the corner of Dogwood and Cordes would have been considered way out in the country, and the estate was surrounded by nothing but farmland. The house has had other owners over the years, but it has stood vacanct since January when, according to the Shelby County Tax Assessor website, the property was sold for $1.1 million to a company called Historic Properties, LLC.