The Florida Trust announces 2020 11 to Save List
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation has announced the 2020 edition of Florida’s 11 to Save List. The list spotlights the most threatened historic properties in the state, and drives the Florida Trust’s education and advocacy initiatives for the year ahead. The Downtown Jacksonville National Register Historic District and the community of Cosmo are included on the list of endangered historic sites throughout the state.
Pensacola Vocational School
Pensacola (Escambia County) Built 1942
With the Second World War looming, the Pensacola Vocational School (also known as the Pensacola Trade School) was completed in 1942 by the Works Progress Administration. During World War II, the school trained both civilian and military students, including Pensacola’s own “Rosie the Riveter” women who took up jobs previously occupied by men. The school also later trained Black students, and during its later tenure, served as the administrative headquarters of the Escambia County School District. In addition, the building was named in honor of Dr. Vernon McDaniel, the county’s first Black school board member.
Along with its historic and cultural significance, the Vocational School Building is one of the few pre-1950 buildings remaining in the city’s Tanyard neighborhood. One of Pensacola’s oldest neighborhoods, the racially diverse Tanyard community developed adjacent to the city’s working waterfront during the late 19th century. Since the 1970s, Tanyard has been decimated by urban renewal, gentrification and ongoing redevelopment.
Vacant since 2010, the John Sunday Society named the Pensacola Vocational School to its 2019 Seven to Save list and has encouraged the owner to incorporate the building into redevelopment plans. Inclusion of the school building into the site’s proposed redevelopment could help bolster efforts to save other remaining historic structures in the neighborhood.
S.H. Johnson X-Ray Clinic)
Miami (Miami-Dade County) Built 1939
Built in 1939, the S.H. Johnson X-Ray Clinic reflects the reality of segregated life in Miami during the early decades of the 20th century. An example of Streamline Moderne architecture, which was popular during the 1930s, the X-Ray Clinic is significant for its association with a prominent physician in Miami’s early Black community.
Dr. Samuel H. Johnson came to Miami as a child in 1903 and began to practice medicine in 1931. He later studied radiology and was the first Black physician in South Florida to establish a radiological practice. The clinic is an example and representation of the Jim Crow era as he built the practice because Blacks were not allowed to be x-rayed at the City Hospital. Dr. Johnson is said to have amassed the most extensive x-ray equipment of any Black practitioner in the country.
The X-Ray clinic has been vacant since 1972 and was in a deteriorated condition when it was donated to the Black Archives in 1981. Currently, the clinic is in desperate need of funding to restore to its original grandeur and bring it up to code.
Ellenton (Manatee County) Built 1895
The Patten House was built in 1895 by Dudley Patten, the son of General George Patten, who purchased the Gamble Plantation and moved his family from Savannah following the Civil War. Originally a one story, wooden structure, the House was expanded to include a second story, wrap around porch and an early indoor toilet. For 99 years, the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has cared for the interior of the building and opened it to the public. The State of Florida is responsible for exterior maintenance.
Termite and other damage resulted in Patten House being closed in 2014. The nominator is seeking creative solutions for preserving and interpreting the building.
St. Cloud Municipal Utilities
St. Cloud (Osceola County) Built 1926
Built in 1926, the St. Cloud Municipal Utilities plant was the first to provide electricity to a city established in 1909 as a retirement community for Civil War union veterans nicknamed “The Friendly Soldier City.” Prior to being sold to the Orlando Utilities Commission in 1994, the electrical utility plant produced power from a mixture of diesel and natural gas to cover a 150 square mile area that extended into south Orange County.
In operation until 2008, the site was deemed to be contaminated during the 1990s. Current remediation strategies to the site include the potential demolition of the historic structure.
In response, St. Cloud Main Street has formed a subcommittee to investigate various opportunities to bring forward to the City Council so they see options and possible financial assistance in restoring the structure into a viable economic driver. The nominator seeks inclusion to the 11 to Save list as a tool to help bring increased awareness to local officials that there is a public contingent who would like to see the St. Cloud Municipal Utilities building preserved.
Walter Farley House
Venice (Sarasota County) Built 1956
Built in 1956, the Walter Farley House was designed by famed Sarasota School Architect Ralph Twitchell, with an addition by Jack West. It was built as the home and studio of Walter Farley, the author of the Black Stallion series of books. Walter and his wife Rosemary were tightly integrated into Venice and its literary community. They were founding members of the Friends of the Venice Library. They also hosted gatherings in their home for members of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Nestled on a couple of acres overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the property is currently on the market and is dually listed as a home for sale (which is in need of repair) and as vacant land for a buyer to demolish in order to construct a new home. Included on the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County’s 2020 Six to Save List, the nominator encourages local preservation groups and community leaders to collaborate and identify solutions for the preservation of the property.
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.