Monday, June 05, 2006

Florida Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announced their 2006 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites list at the Annual Statewide Preservation Conference, in St. Augustine, Florida, on May 18, 2006. The sites are not ranked in any particular order.

Riverview High School, Sarasota – Designed by architect Paul Rudolph in 1957, this jewel of modern architecture characterizes the elements of design that came to be known as the nationally-acclaimed Sarasota School of Architecture. Riverview High School marks a transition in Rudolph’s career and was his largest commission in Florida to date. The school is threatened to be replaced with a new, larger, school.

NationsBank Park Plaza, Tampa - Considered by many historians and landscape architects to be one of Dan Kiley’s finest works. He and architect Harry Wolf worked together to transform a riverside lot in downtown Tampa into a corporate headquarters with a garden open to the public. The gardens were very geometrical, having been based on the mathematical sequence of the building’s fenestrations. The threat to the site is the building of a museum that would cover portions of the gardens.

Camp Pinchot Historic District, Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Walton Beach - The earliest Forest Service administrative complex in Florida was located here and served as the first headquarters for National Forests in Florida. After being incorporated into the military base, it has been the home to Eglin Air Force Base generals. The district includes 10 structures dating from 1910 to 1920. A proposed multi-family housing development threatens the historic district. The United States Air Force is currently working with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Florida State Historic Preservation Officer, and other consulting parties to draft a Programmatic Agreement addressing any potential adverse effects to the Camp Pinchot district.

Old City Waterworks, Tallahassee - A rare surviving example of masonry vernacular industrial/public utility architecture that housed the capital city’s first public water supply system and equipment of the "modern" industrial era. Built in 1909, the threat to this site is demolition by neglect.

Avery Smith House, Miami Beach – This coral rock home, built in 1916, is one of the only coral rock homes remaining in Miami Beach. The original owner was a significant figure in Miami Beach history, owning one of the first boat shuttle services to the island. The Avery Smith House is threatened with demolition by neglect.

Coconut Grove Playhouse, Coconut Grove - The playhouse has been a cultural centerpiece for the Grove since it was built in 1924, but is not protected by local designation. Current proposals call for the demolition of the building for a new theater and condominiums. The owners of the building were appealing an earlier decision by the City of Miami’s Historic Preservation Board to designate the Coconut Grove Playhouse as a historic landmark. Financial issues have forced the owners of the building to close the theater until a decision on its future is decided.

Great Southern Hotel, Hollywood – The hotel is one of only two remaining commercial buildings that were built by founder and developer of Hollywood, Joseph Young. It is part of the Hollywood Historic National Register District, the only district in Broward County. Current plans are only saving a mere 10% of the building, with a twenty story high rise to be built behind the façade. There has been no change to the proposed development plans since the Florida Trust listed the Great Southern Hotel on the 2005 11 Most Endangered List.

Stranahan Trading Post and Camp Site, Fort Lauderdale – The site, located next to the Stranahan House in Fort Lauderdale, was the first point of contact where the Seminole Indians and other travelers gathered to exchange goods and services. While the Stranahan House is not threatened, a 42-story condominium project is proposed for the significant archaeological site next door.

Historic Cigar Factories of Tampa – Tampa’s cigar industry is an integral part of that city’s heritage. Out of the 200 cigar factories once standing in Tampa, only 22 still remain and only 7 are located in designated historic districts. Without the protections offered in designated historic districts, the other 15 buildings face a potential threat from encroaching development. Concerns over property rights raised by the buildings’ owners have prompted the city to consider adding an "owners consent" restriction to the local landmark designation process.

The Belleview Biltmore Hotel, Belleair - One of the last grand resorts remaining in Florida built by Henry Plant. It opened in 1897 and has been host to numerous celebrity clientele. The largest wood frame hotel in operation in the United States, it has been sold to developers who plan to demolish it for condominiums. The small community has embarked on a major grass roots effort to save the building.

Florida’s Historic Antebellum Roads, Statewide – Prior to the expansion of the railroads in the state, Floridians depended on a system of roadways to facilitate travel from established cities such as St. Augustine and Pensacola. The Camino Real – later known as King’s Road, and the Bellamy Road are just two of the historic roads which contributed to the development of the state during the Colonial Era. Encroaching development and increasing demand on statewide infrastructure poses threats to these resources.

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit organization of over 1700 members, and is the statewide partner to the National Trust. Our mission is to promote the preservation of Florida’s unique cultural, historical and architectural resources.

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