News & Announcements

Posted: April 21, 2017
Cuba Past & Present: Explore the Culture of Cuba

Join us for an unforgettable trip exploring Cuba’s unique architecture and heritage. This year, for the first time, the Florida Trust will be adding two additional locations to its itinerary.

We will be traveling Sept. 30 through Oct. 7, 2017 and our program includes hotel, most meals and excursions and your flight from Miami to Havana and back to Miami. On our trip we will we be exploring the architecture, culture and history of Havana, but also traveling to Cienfuegos and exploring Trinidad de Cuba. Adding these two locations will allow travelers to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the many historical treasures of Cuba.

Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in 1819 in the Spanish territory but was initially settled by immigrants of French origin. According to UNESCO, “Cienfuegos is the first, and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century.”

Founded in the early 16th century Trinidad de Cuba was built on the prosperity of the sugar trade and was an important step on the way to colonization of the American continent. We will stay two nights in the city, with highlights including visiting a restored sugar plantation, the Old Quarter and a private visit to a 16th century church.

We hope you can join us on this amazing adventure to Cuba! Please see the links below to access the full program and to register. Registration is open through August, and all program registrations include a membership to the Florida Trust.

Feel free to call the Florida Trust office if you have any questions (850) 224-8128 or information@floridatrust.org.

Downloads

2017 Florida Trust Cuba Program
2017 Florida Trust Cuba Program Registration Form and Contract

Posted: April 20, 2017
Can Historic Places Make us Feel Better?


Many involved in historic preservation believe old buildings need us, that we stand as protectors for history and guard monuments to our past so those stories can be told for generations to come.

But what if we need old buildings?

It turns out historic places are good for us. They improve our health, getting us out of the isolation of our cars and inspiring interactions within our community. Old buildings cause awe, charge our imaginations and can create empathy for those who experienced life differently than us.

So, maybe it’s not surprising that Naples, the city with the highest well-being in the United States, is working so hard to preserve its unique history. Another historic Florida city, Sarasota, also ranked in the top 10 communities with the highest well-being in the country. The Gallup survey those rankings are based on includes how people feel about their community as one of the five components to overall well-being.

Across the Pond, a 2016 report from Historic England shows 93% of respondents feel local heritage has an impact on their personal quality of life. Additionally, those who participate in their community’s heritage, such as by visiting a historic site, rank their happiness as 8.1 on a scale from 1 to 10, versus a rating of 7.8 by those who do not participate in heritage.

In the book The Past and Future City author Stephanie Meeks, the CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, writes, “Certain places give us the chance to feel a connection to others. They also connect us to the broad community of human experience, a community that exists across time. And they help us understand that the lives we lead are not insignificant – that what we do will have an impact on the future.”

At its heart, historic preservation does more than just save an old building, it fosters community, strengthens neighborhoods and even improves well-being. A big part of our nation’s downtown revival is driven by people’s desire to live and work in buildings with unique character, not in cookie-cutter boxes, connected to a larger neighborhood.

In May, we celebrate National Historic Preservation Month. Help us represent the diverse history of Florida by sharing your Florida Preservation story (and photos!) and tagging #MyFloridaStory.

You can also partner with the National Trust to give voice to the historic places that matter to you by saying This Place Matters.

Melissa Wyllie Trinity Church Follow us on social media next month to explore the extraordinary places that makes Florida unique, and stay tuned for the announcement of the 2017 Florida’s 11 to Save, the most endangered historic places in the state, which will be announced May 18, during the Florida Preservation Conference in St. Petersburg.

Melissa Wyllie is the Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage. @MSWyllie

Posted: April 10, 2017
Florida Trust for Historic Preservation T-Shirts - Now Available

Show your support for protecting Florida’s history and heritage! You’ll look and feel great in this attractive shirt. These tri-blend t-shirts offer an amazing softness, stretch and recovery. Choose from sizes extra small to triple extra large, grey with brushed teal imprint, $29.99 each.

All proceeds from the sale of the Florida Trust Protect T-Shirt go to support Florida Trust’s efforts to protect the historic places that make Florida extraordinary. Order online here!

Ordering for a group? Contact the Florida Trust office for orders of more than three shirts, (850) 224-8128. Thank you for supporting the Florida Trust.

Posted: April 06, 2017
Archaeological Find Reveals New Information about St. Augustine's Earliest Years

In honor of Archaeology Month, The Florida Preservationist Spring 2017 issue highlighted this stories that reinforces the importance of the industry and profession. St. Augustine Archaeology Volunteers_GroupStanding
In February 2017, while working near the well-traveled corner of Charlotte and King Streets in St. Augustine, City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt and a crew of volunteers from the St. Augustine Archaeological Association were made an offer they could not refuse. David White, owner of the Fiesta Mall, the 1888 building adjacent to where Halbirt was working, invited the archaeologist to examine the area beneath the floor of one of the commercial enterprises inside the building.

The space was damaged by flooding from Hurricane Matthew, and White planned to replace the floor. This offer to come inside was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what was buried beneath the building. Halbirt also would test premises he had developed regarding the eastern boundary of the church cemetery of Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, which had been in use from about 1572 to 1702. Halbirt speculated the eastern boundary of the church where the Fiesta Mell now sits, was somewhere near the middle Charlotte Street.

As of March 14, 2017, three locations have been examined under the St. Augustine Archaeology Volunteers_InsideDigfloor damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Two areas on the north and south sides of the room were found to be devoid of human remains—a consequence of tidal erosion along the bayfront.

This was not unexpected as previous archaeological investigations around the building containing the room to be refloored, showed evidence of the effects of tidal scouring and subsequent infill with soil during the 19th century.

The exception to this observation was the area initially investigated and found to contain human remains. The area investigated was initially limited in space (roughly a 2 ft by 2 ft square), but with approval of the property owner a 15 ft by 8 ft unit was eventually excavated revealing the presence of 14 graves.

St. Augustine Archaeology Volunteers_MappingGroundHuman remains were buried under the floor of the church based on the presence of clay remnants within the fill of the graves. This is not unexpected given limited floor space within the church. Church burial was the preferred location for the Spanish during the colonial era. What was unexpected was the plethora of intrusive burials (i.e., burials dug into burials). In some locations four interments were found placed in more-or-less the same spot. Three areas within the excavation unit were found to contain multiple burials.

One may ask, why did only one of the three areas examined within the room contain graves? While a definitive answer will have to await project completion, one explanation may be the occurrence of a coquina stone wall. The wall occurred near the eastern limits of the exposed graves. Essentially, the wall acted as a deterrent to tidal erosion. When the wall was constructed and its original intentions are open to debate; however, the graves exposed were behind that more than 36-inch wide by 18-inch deep barrier. No human remains were found east of the barrier. It should be noted that entry into the church was along the east side, with the alter at the west end of the church. The possibility exist that the barrier may overlay archaeological evidence (such as post hole stains) that marked the eastern boundary of the church.

Lean more about this story, St. Augustine and archaeology online through the City of St. Augustine.

Carl Halbirt is an Archaeologist for the City of St. Augustine.

Posted: March 30, 2017
Seeking Light at the End of the [preservation] Tunnel

From The Florida Preservationist, Spring 2017
White Way Light_Coral GablesSince 2011, the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables — a nonprofit established in 1991 whose mission is to promote the understanding and importance of historic resources and their preservation—has been working with officials in Coral Gables to bring attention to the condition and need for maintenance, restoration and preservation of the few remaining historic street lights in the Riviera Section of Coral Gables.

The White Way Lights were designated as a City Historic Landmark Site in 1981 and included on the City Historic Landmark Inventory. Coral Gables’ White Way Lights corridor is a nod to New York City’s The Great White Way, a nickname for a section of Broadway lit in 1880 – one of the first in the nation.

Unfortunately, most of the original 500 lights have been lost. The remaining lights are endangered and in dire need of saving.

HPACG has been urging the untangling of a convoluted contractual relationship between the City of Coral Gables and the Florida Power & Light that does not allow the City to proceed with restoration. Hopefully, a satisfactory outcome will soon pave the way for the City of Coral Gables and HPACG to begin saving the remaining original streetlights.

Last year, one milestone accomplished by The Board of Directors of the HPACG was the dedication of the White Way Lights historical marker. Additional preservation work includes restoring and maintaining original lights and ultimately recreating the original lit corridor.

White Way Lights were functional works of art commissioned 90 years ago by Coral Gables founder George Merrick to light the fledgling city and beautify its newly built roads. The White Way Lights project place Merrick as an early advocate of art in public places. Less than ten percent of the original 500 historic lights still exist today.

This particular set of “White Way Lights”, designed in the early 1920s by Phineas Paist and Denman Fink, are located along University Drive from Granada Boulevard past Ponce de Leon Boulevard and along Riviera Drive from Granada to University Drive.

In 1926, 500 ornamental bases were commissioned for the White Way streetlights in Coral Gables. These unique streetlights were designed by historical figures Phineas Paist, as supervising architect, and Denman Fink, as art director. Paist and Fink, uncle of George Merrick, founder of Coral Gables, together also designed the Douglas Entrance (1924), the Venetian Pool (1925), and Coral Gables City Hall (1928)—all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fink designed all of the original entrances to Coral Gables. He also designed the original water tower in the shape of a light house. Paist designed the Colonnade Building (1926), San Sebastian Apartment Hotel (1926) and the Coral Gables Police and Fire Station (1939).

At each of the four sides of the base, there is a head in relief symbolic of the life of Coral Gables. Each of these faces represents a different character. Art and Architecture and Horticultural Planting reliefs are of beautiful women with their appropriate symbolic implements. Labor and Industry reliefs are represented by men with strong features, also with symbolic implements and tools.
White Way Light Base_Coral Gables
Alternating between the heads are the Spanish castle and rampant lion, both important symbols used often in Coral Gables designs. Encircling the top of the base, in raised letters are the words, “Coral Gables—The Miami Riviera, Fla.”. The posts are of cast iron construction and were originally painted verdigris green. Later, the posts and bases were painted silver.

The same theme motif is reflected in the Coral Gables City Hall dome murals and the relief sculptures on the DeSoto Fountain.

Karelia Martinez Carbonell is President of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables.

This story was submitted to us through our ongoing “tell us your Florida preservation story.” Please share your story too!

Posted: February 16, 2017
Florida Trust Begins 2017 with New Leadership

The statewide non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage is seeking nominations for the Florida’s 11 to Save program, the annual list of Florida’s most endangered historic places, and its Florida Preservation Awards

Tallahassee, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2017) – The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation began the year with a new executive director and a renewed commitment to connect with, protect and share the diverse historic places throughout the state.
Melissa Wyllie Headshot
Melissa Wyllie began the year as the new executive director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Wyllie, a Floridian and dedicated preservationist, returns to Florida after 10 years in Nashville where she served as President of Historic Nashville, consulted for the Tennessee Preservation Trust and collaborated on preservation campaigns throughout the state including working to secure Music Row as a National Treasure. In Nashville, she was recognized as a Female Entrepreneur to Watch and named to the 2016 40 Under 40 by the Nashville Business Journal. Under her new leadership the Florida Trust will connect with a broader community to protect places of architectural, historic and archeological importance throughout the state.

Nominations are open for both the Florida’s 11 to Save program and the Florida Preservation Awards, celebrating 38 years of acknowledging those making a difference in historic preservation in their communities. The two programs represent a significant opportunity for the Florida Trust to hear from preservationists around the state.

“We believe this will be an exciting and successful year for the Florida Trust,” Clay Henderson, Board President of the Florida Trust said. “We are confident Melissa will head the organization in a dynamic direction while keeping its roots in place. Her broad skill set and experience will help us reach and engage the community to raise awareness and protect Florida’s historic places.”

The Florida Trust will continue to expand this year, broadening its audience and membership to better serve a diverse state. In support of that goal, the Florida Trust asks for community input through nominations to Florida’s 11 to Save and the Florida Preservation Awards.

The Florida’s 11 to Save list reflects the preservation concerns of the people of Florida, and helps to guide the organization’s advocacy and education focus for the year. The 2017 Florida’s 11 to Save will be announced at the Florida Preservation Conference in St. Petersburg on Thursday, May 18.

“Historic places are an important part of our neighborhoods and our shared Florida story,” Wyllie said. “We have to be the voice for all of Florida, collaborating with communities to advocate and protect our state’s extraordinary heritage. I look forward to working together to preserve Florida’s unique history.”

The Florida Preservation Awards recognize significant contributions to the preservation of Florida’s historic resources through outstanding historic preservation projects, programs and achievements by individuals and organizations. The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the 2017 Annual Preservation Conference in St. Petersburg on Friday, May 19.

Additional information, including nomination forms for both Florida’s 11 to Save and the Florida Preservation Awards are available online. The nomination deadline for both programs is Tuesday, February 28.

The 2017 Florida Preservation Conference is May 18 – 20 in St. Petersburg, and provides an opportunity for education and advocacy for Florida’s preservation community, as well as hands-on workshops and tours. This year’s theme is Preservation Reinvented for Art and Enterprise. Additional information about the conference is available on the Florida Trust website“www.floridatrust.org/”.

Media interested in attending the Florida Preservation conference, the Florida’s 11 to Save media event or the awards ceremony may be added to the media list by emailing MWyllie@floridatrust.org.

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About the Florida Trust
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is the state’s non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary heritage and history. Founded in 1978, the Florida Trust has collaborated to save irreplaceable Florida treasures like the Historic Florida Capitol and is a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Learn more at www.FloridaTrust.org and follow on Twitter: @FloridaTrustHP.

Posted: January 24, 2017
We Want to Know your Florida - Share your Preservation Stories

The Florida Trust is your nonprofit dedicated to preserving and protecting Florida’s unique historic places. We represent a big state full of different people, histories and unique stories. Do you have a Florida preservation story? We would love to hear your story and build our knowledge and understanding of our members.

Here are some ideas or points of interest:Frank Willis

  • Successes, wins, losses and/or threatened historic sites, including structures, landmarks and archaeological sites
  • Local preservation award winners and upcoming educational programs
  • Inspirational stories related to historic preservation
  • Governmental issues and updates as it relates to preservation and saving our sense of place

Library Box - Ponce InletAll of these stories will help build our knowledge of Florida’s historic places, and some may be shared in our publications or social media.

Here’s how you can share your story: message the Florida Trust on Facebook, send email to information@floridatrust.org or call us at (850) 224-8128.

Posted: January 18, 2017
Member Merger a Win-Win in Business & Preservation

SpecializedProperty_Jodiw/GroupLong Standing Member and Florida Trust Trustee Announces Merger.

Tampa, Florida, January 17, 2017: Specialized Property Services, Inc. recently purchased the window and door restoration company CCS Restoration, owned by Florida Trust Trustee Jodi Rubin. The combined team of craftsmen and women at Specialized can undertake complete historic preservation projects across Florida.

For more information visit the website.

Posted: January 17, 2017
Call for Nominations - 2017 Preservation Awards

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announces its 2017 Call for Nominations for historic preservation awards, with a deadline for submitting nominations of February 28, 2017.

Those interested in nominating an individual or project for award recognition can view complete information on the 2017 Call for Nominations by downloading the announcement located at the bottom of this page. The announcement includes a description of all categories and processes for submitting nominees.

Each year the Florida Trust solicits nominations for outstanding examples of preservation of architectural, archaeological and cultural resources in Florida. Award winners in a variety of categories are announced and celebrated each year at the Florida Trust’s annual conference, this year held May 18-20, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Florida Trust also chooses individuals to receive the Carl Weinhardt Award, the Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award, and the Roy E. Graham Award.

  • The Carl Weinhardt Award is given to an individual to recognize his or her significant achievements and leadership in non-governmental state historic preservation arenas.
  • The Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award is given to an individual whose life exemplifies the guardianship of Florida’s historic properties through philosophy and actions.
  • The Roy E. Graham Award is given to an individual who has made a long-term contribution to the field of historic preservation education, ensuring that future generations understand the importance of preservation of the architectural, historical and archaeological heritage of Florida.

View the list of former winners or learn more about our preservation awards under the “What We Do” tab of this website.

Nomination Form

Posted: December 31, 2016
2016 is About to be History

Miami Marine StadiumIt’s the final day of 2016, a crazy year of ups and downs for the preservation community – particularly in Florida. Before we welcome 2017, let’s take a look at five big preservation wins, and five big losses and concerns.

Big Wins

1. This year, Florida and the nation commemorated 50 years of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Act laid the groundwork for programs and procedural protections that are fundamental to historic preservation efforts today. A big part of the Preservation Act is protecting archaeological sites, so we are incredibly grateful our partnership with Florida’s Division of Historical Resources and other concerned organizations and individuals led to the defeat of the proposed Isolated Finds bills during the 2016 legislative session.

2. There was also positive movement in preserving historic places in Florida in 2016, with the Division of Historical Resources reached 74 Certified Local Governments (one of the highest in the nation) and achieving 40 Main Street Communities throughout the state, including a new historic Main Street district in Northwood Road in Palm Beach.

3. The 53-year-old Miami Marine Stadium is designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure, one of the historic places that reveal the richness of the American story. After appearing on the National Trust’s 11-Most Endangered list in 2009, the Stadium is well on its way to being saved. In November, Miami commissioners voted to borrow up to $45 million to restore the unique piece of Miami history.

4. The Old Boynton Beach High School, built in 1927, is under plans to be saved from demolition and to create a new community hub. The High School was threatened for many years, and was included on the Florida Trust’s 2014 Endangered-11 list.

5. There has been some exciting preservation wins in Pensacola this year, including the groundwork for a new ordinance preventing demolition without review of a home older than 50 years. Also, the discovery of the Tristan de Luna settlement, the site of a 1559 Spanish expedition led by Tristan de Luna which was doomed by a hurricane. Related to that expedition was the discovery by the University of West Florida archaeology program of a third shipwreck from the Tristan de Luna fleet in Pensacola Bay.

Losses, Big Concerns 2.  Belleview Biltmore Hotel  Pool View

1. Probably no single preservation story attracted more attention this year than the fate of the Belleview Biltmore in Pinellas County. For a decade the National Trust collaborated with preservation organizations, including the Florida Trust and Friends of the Belleview Biltmore, to find a workable solution for saving the building. The hotel was included on the National Trust’s 2005 list of Most Endangered Historic Places and the Florida Trust’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 Endangered-11. Unfortunately new owners of the 1897 hotel and resort were ultimately not convinced. Demolition began in 2015 and was completed this year as developers prepare for building condos and townhouses in the iconic hotel’s place. The silver lining on the project is that the original lobby and 35 guest rooms have been preserved, moved and, according to developers, will be turned into a boutique hotel.

2. On October 7, Hurricane Matthew brushed along the East Coast of Florida bringing high winds, a significant storm surge and flooding. The storm was devastating for many historic property owners and historic buildings, particularly on the coast. In Summer Haven in St. Johns County the storm carved a new inlet making a portion of Old A1A, along with several houses, an island. Wood-frame homes over 100 years old were devastated by the storm surge. The storm also created archaeological site damage along the East Coast of Florida.

3. Riviera Beach’s Spanish Courts Cottages, an irreplaceable piece of Old Florida, were destroyed this year. Spanish Courts had appeared several times on the Florida’s Trust Must Watch list. The 77-year motel with stucco cottages, red-tile roofs and wrought-iron gates opened for business in 1939.

4. After a tense legal battle, the historic John Sunday House in Pensacola was demolished this year. The home was built by and lived in by one of the most prominent black Pensacolians of the early 20th century. Members of the John Sunday Society will continue to work in Pensacola to share the story and importance of John Sunday.

5. In 2016, Florida experienced the continued looting of archaeological sites on state lands and sovereignty submerged lands. These looters were caught near a site where researchers have found stone tools that may be up to 14,550 years old. Here is some great information and answers to frequently asked questions about archaeology in Florida.

So, while there was good news in 2016 there is still much work to be done to preserve Florida’s unique history and heritage. We have learned from this year and are ready for the challenges ahead.

Melissa Wyllie Trinity Church
A good way to kick off 2017? Nominate a historic place that matters to you for the 2017 Endangered-11.

Have a very happy new year – I look forward to working together in 2017!

Melissa Wyllie is the Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.