Fort Pierce Historic House Tour – 2019

Ten Unique Historic Properties


718 Boston Avenue, built circa 1910, is a classic example of Colonial Revival Style, which was the dominant style for American residential architecture during the first half of the twentieth century.

1. Alanis Home and Grounds

718 Boston Avenue, built c. 1910

The grounds of 718 Boston Ave are impressive and are accentuated by this wonderful Mid-Century Modern guesthouse.

Built around 1910, this stunning two-story Colonial Revival style landmark is beautiful inside and out. Jose Alanis purchased the home in 2005 and respectfully restored it, giving careful attention to preserving the original character. The building is wood frame construction and covered with drop siding (clapboards).

Windows are the eyes to a home, and play a big role in setting the character and charm of a home. Alanis’ detailed restoration of the original windows is central to what makes this home a spectacular specimen of the Colonial Revival architectural style, as well as early twentieth-century Florida architecture. The double-hung sash windows have a rare offset-six-over-one configuration. Rather than having the usual equidistant pane configuration in the upper window, each is divided on a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio.

Approaching the building, stop and  take note of the roof, which is still covered with the original pressed tin roofing material, and accentuated by a hip dormer.

The home’s grounds encompass nearly an entire block, and the main house is accompanied by two smaller structures.  The smallest one most likely served as servants’ quarters in the past, while the middle was likely a guesthouse. The middle house is an exceptional example of mid-century modern architecture (1930s through the 1960s); with aspects of its design revealing the influence of the Arts and Crafts architectural style, popular in the US from 1886-1930.

2. The McLeod Home

808 Atlantic Ave, built c. 1948

This home, built in the Minimal Traditional architectural style, has variations in its design that give clues to it being built for an owner doing a bit better than most for the period following the great depression.  Notably, its constructed with cinder blocks, a rarity in the Sample Oaks Historic District for home built in this period.

Most homes of this type exhibit a very minimal design and avoid ornamentation, however 808 Atlantic Avenue has some touches that give it unique character. Arches define the recessed porch entry and add a Mediterranean quality to its design. This effect is complemented and enhanced by terrazzo flooring treatment on the porch. Another key variation that should be noticed is the large bay window, which enhances the exterior look and creates a bright, cozy atmosphere for the living room.

The Mediterranean influences are echoed in the interior design and are reflected in the treatments of windows and doorways.  Again archways enhance certain passageways and attention should be given to the curved treatment of the sides of all windows and doors.  The result of these embellishments is a home that is quite Spanish in feel.

Purchased in 2015 by the McLeods, this home has been transformed from a run-down, derelict state to an excellent example of a restored historic home. It is an example of the result that can come from sensitive restoration of historic homes. For their efforts, the McLeods were awarded the Mayor’s Gold Hammer Award.

3. The Frisk Home

826 Atlantic Avenue, built c. 1935

Built in the Minimal Traditional style, this one-story wood frame home was built circa 1935. The gable roof, gable entrance porch, weatherboard exterior wall fabric, and 6 over 6 double-hung sash windows are hallmarks of this architectural style. The large, exterior fireplace stack located at the right side of the building is a common feature of Minimal Traditional style homes.

Beautifully restored wooden floors, combined with the natural light and charm of original double-hung sash windows.

Purchased by the Frisks in 2013, 826 Atlantic Avenue has been lovingly restored to it former beauty inside and out.  The beautiful gable front porch that had been covered over was returned to its original purpose as an inviting open space for enjoying cool mornings and evenings with friends and family. This restoration returned light and air to the living room and dining room areas of the house and revealed the original simple elegance of the home.

As a result of the Frisk’s sensitive restoration to the original design, the interior of the home is a delight. Notable are the restored hardwood flooring, arched openings, detailed moldings and a subtle paint scheme that adds to the warmth and charm of the house.

The property includes a small rear building (not on tour) that functions today as an apartment, but served two purposes in the past, with a garage at the ground level and what likely was the butler’s quarters above.  Slated for demolition in 2013, The Frisks saw its inherent beauty and potential and acquired 826 Atlantic Avenue, set on restoring it to its former beauty.

The renovations done by the Frisks made 826 Atlantic Avenue a recipient of the Mayor’s Gold Hammer Award.

4. The Boucino Home

901 Boston Avenue, built c. 1947

This cozy, Minimal Traditional styled cottage home  was built around 1947.  It is typical of many of the homes being built in Fort Pierce during World War II and its aftermath.

Records show that its first owners were Burry F. Iran, a clerk with county court house, and his wife.

There is a beauty in the simplicity of the house’s design, which reflects the fundamental elements of the Minimal Tradition architectural style: gable roof, double-hung windows (unfortunately removed), porches, and siding.

On the inside, look up and appreciated the knotty cypress ceiling that is a unique feature to the home.  Then, look down to equally appreciate the original hardwood floors, that together with the ceiling gives defining character to 901 Boston Avenue.

In the kitchen, see if you find the example of a time past, when milkmen delivered milk to homes and milk bottle were recycled.

5. Architectonics

806 Delaware Avenue, built c. 1924

One of the first elements of this property that immediately stands out is the gable entrance porch.  At one point it was enclosed.  Take note of its beautiful restoration that features posts which introduce Arts & Crafts architectural principles to the design of the building.

806 Delaware Ave’s interior layout is an example of Shotgun House design

This commercially zoned property, built circa 1924, is of the Minimal Traditional architectural style.  The typical styling elements are expressed via the low to moderate sloped gabled roof,  a front facing gable extension/porch, a large end, exterior chimney stack, and double-hung sash windows.

Architectonic effectively demonstrates how historic properties can be adaptively reused for commercial purposes.

6. The Rigatti Home

808 Delaware Ave, built c. 1926

Like many homes built in Fort Pierce around 1926, 808 Delaware is a Minimal Traditional Style house.

This home and its neighbor, 806 Delaware Avenue, are uniquely constructed, having narrow frontage and long sides that give them both a railroad-like quality in design and configuration. One reason for choosing to build these homes in this fashion might be due to narrow lots and lack of alleyways behind the homes. This design enabled access to a garage at the back of the property. Unlike many of the streets in the Sample Oaks Historic District, properties at this location are not accessible from a back alley.

The interior of this home reflects a shotgun design and its smart layout and design does not suffer from the inconvenience of pass-through rooms.  Instead, the home is efficiently laid out with the living spaces (living room, dining room, kitchen) in series, and sleeping quarters, separated by a partition wall from the living areas, configured as independent units.

Research shows that  early owners of this home were Joecondo J. Rigatti, a carpenter, and his wife Stella, who worked seasonally for the Fort Pierce Growers Association.

808 Delaware Ave is currently owned by Architect Michael Menard and has been beautifully and proudly restored by him.  It is within the Delaware Ave commercial district and today is home to a beauty salon.

7. The De Leger Home

732 Delaware Avenue, built c. 1925

732 Delaware Avenue is an unmistakable example of Bungalow style architectural design. This one-story wood frame home was built in 1925, also known as the Florida land boom of the 1920’s.

Notable features that express the Bungalow style of the building is its jerkinhead roof, wide eaves, and the entrance porch. What’s a jerkinhead roof you ask? The jerkinhead roof is a combination of two common roof styles of gable roof and hip roof.

Like many of the homes built during this period, windows abound to create lots of light and to enable good cross ventilation.   From the inside, there is an almost continuous views to the outside.

The many french windows of 732 Delaware Avenue add to the uniqueness of this home. The almost floor to ceiling fenestration with multi-pane windows is a reference to the Japanese and Indian origins of The Bungalow.

8. The First United Methodist Church

616 Orange Avenue, built c. 1926, Architects: William W. Hatcher and Lawrence Funke, Builder: Clarence Cahow

The First United Methodist Church traces its humble beginning back to 1892.  Its first sanctuary was built in 1895 at the southeast corner of what is now Seaway Drive and US1.  As the congregation grew, a second church was built in 1900 on what today is 2nd Street, just south of Tickle Tummy bridge.

Featuring elements of the Mediterranean Revival architectural style, the current chapel was built by builder Clarence Cahow, mayor of Fort Pierce at the time. William Wesley Hatcher and Lawrence Funke, architects who were responsible for many important landmark buildings in the city (e.g. The Raulson Building), designed the building.

The spectacular and ornate detailing around the church’s entrance are characteristic of many Spanish missions built in the New World. Take a long view of the church to appreciate the beautiful lines and details of the church, such as the bell tower, red clay barrel tile roof, finials, and scrolled gable.

The interior of the building continues the Mediterranean theme, with a spectacular pecky cypress ceiling, featuring  painted scrolled beams.  Reflecting the arches and columns of Mediterranean cloisters, the pews of the church sits between marble colonnades.  The chapel is bathed in majestic light by vibrant stain glass windows at both the pew and ceiling levels.

First United Methodist Church’s organ has quite a bit of history. The Organ was originally commissioned in 1923 as Aeolian Opus # 1523 for the private residence of Mr. Joshua S. Cosden, Esq. of Palm Beach Florida. The Aeolian Pipe Organ Company of Garfield, New Jersey built it. The estate, including the organ, was later sold to Mrs. Horace Dodge.

As the story goes, the organ came to be owned by FUMC, Fort Pierce, when Mrs. Dodge, frustrated by a long standing property tax dispute, decided to sell everything, auction off the organ, and in a final act of retaliation, razed the estate.

FUMC, Fort Pierce acquired it circa 1958 for $6000.

Read more about the organ here.

9. The Wingfield Property

510 South 10th Street, built c. 1924

One of the earliest built homes in the tour, 510 South 10th Street embodies many of the architectural characteristics of early twentieth century constructed Fort Pierce residences.

This one-story building is of the Bungalow form with Craftsman styling. Some typical features of the Craftsman style is a low-pitched gabled roof and deep eaves, with exposed wooden structural elements. Look to the roof, particularly from the sides, to see the example of this characteristic in the building’s design, which is accentuate by the triangular braces that serve as both as structural support for the eaves and decoration.

The double-hung windows and covered porch are also typical for this style of building. Usually, fenestration for Bungalow homes from this period implemented double-hung windows with multiple light in the upper windows and single pane in the lower. This building uses the much simpler 1-over-1 configuration.  The porch, though today enclosed, should be open.

The interior of the building is rather simple, yet efficiently laid out, with living spaces at the front, and bedrooms at the back. At just under 900sqft, it likely the smallest home on the tour. While not clear it is the case, there is a high likelihood that the home was a mail-ordered kit house. In the late 19th and early 20th century, kit-houses became synonymous with the American dream and offered buyers pre-cut materials to assemble into residences (click link).

Take note of the fireplace and its placement in the middle of the home as compared to Minimal Traditional home on the tour, that have fireplaces built on an exterior wall.

The kitchen, which has a rather rustic quality, offers a good example of the qualities of a 1920’s kitchen, with what are likely built-in-place cabinets and cupboards.

 

10. The Bennett House

1011 Boston Avenue, built c. 1927

1011 Boston Avenue is one of the significant landmarks in the Sample Oaks Historic District.

This stunning example of Colonial Revival architecture was built in 1927 by Sam Bennett, Sr., who moved from Jacksonville to open the Bennett Ford Co., now Sunrise Ford. Bennett Sr. was quite an entrepreneur and owned other businesses, including the Sealtest Bennett Dairies, the town’s first gas station, and the Fort Pierce Drive-In.

The architect of the building is William Hatcher, who designed many of the significant historic structures in Fort Pierce, including the Old City Hall, the Raulson Building, and the First United Methodist Church. 1011 Boston Avenue was his first residential project in the city.

Accompanying the main house is a two story building which according to Anna Bennett, granddaughter of Sam Bennett, Sr., was built before the main residence in 1922 as a single story structure on stilts, with the area underneath it used as a carport. Sam Sr. and his family resided in this building while the main residence was being constructed.

Like many early Florida homes built before the invention of air conditioning, the interior design of this building shows the emphasis given to light and cross ventilation. The fenestration of the building double-hung wood sash windows, with a 6-over-1 pattern, is an essential element of the colonial revival style. An original drawing from the architectural firm of Hatcher & Funke shows the windows had accompanying shutters which, unfortunately, have since been removed.

Note the original clapboard facade, as well as the substantial gabled roof, which, like most rooves of the period, was clad with pressed tin shingles.