The Florida Trust's 2022 11 to Save list released

On Wednesday, July 27th, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announced the 2022 Florida’s 11 to Save, a list of the most threatened historic places in the state, at the 2022 Preservation on Main Street conference hosted in collaboration with Florida Main Street.

Each year, the Florida Trust announces its 11 to Save nominated by the public and a true reflection of the historic places that matter to them. The program is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the urgent need to save Florida’s historic resources, highlight the breadth of Florida’s unique history, inspire unique collaborations and empower local preservationists and community groups in their work to preserve Florida’s rich history.

The 2022 11 to Save represents endangered historic resources in Alachua, Duval, Escambia, Gadsden, Lee, Leon, Monroe, Palm Beach, Polk and Putnam counties, covering hundreds of years of history and a variety of cultural resources.

“This year’s 11 to Save showcases Florida’s unique and diverse history and empowers us to work towards sharing and saving that history” said Florida Trust Board President Jenny Wolfe. “These are the historic places that matter to people throughout the state, and I am excited to be a part of sharing the stories these places represent – and working to ensure they remain around for years to come.”

Inclusion on the Florida’s 11 to Save is a starting point for the Florida Trust’s advocacy and education efforts and is intended to be part of a collaborative effort to identify custom solutions for each property. Listings are not in any order of importance.

Colvin House

Lake Wales (Polk County) Built 1920

Completed in 1920, the Colvin House is one of the first residences built by African American pioneers in Lake Wales.

Built for Donnie and Anna Colvin, Gullah Geechee settlers from North Carolina, the Colvin House is also one of the oldest surviving structures in the Northwest community. Settled in the early 20th century by naval stores and citrus industry laborers, the Northwest section of Lake Wales was the only neighborhood in the city where African Americans could own property prior to desegregation. Once anchored by a vibrant business district, the Northwest community has lost much of its original building stock over time to incremental demolition and redevelopment.

Now in deterioration, the nominator seeks to raise awareness to protect and restore this bungalow structure, which is representative of the Northwest community’s original built environment and historically significant story.

Fowler Burial Historic Cemetery

Fort Myers (Lee County) c. 1830

The Fowler Burial Historic Cemetery houses burials dating back to the Seminole Wars. Connected to the Fort after which the city was named, limited records of its origins and boundaries remain. The cemetery is recorded in the Florida Master Site File, which notes there is evidence of human remains on the site.

Now, this area is a construction site, and archaeologists, historic preservationists and community members are worried that human remains and artifacts may have been, or will become, endangered. The developer was not required to submit an archaeological survey prior to beginning work.

The Florida’s Department of State Division of Historical Resources has sent a letter to Fort Myers indicating they must ensure the preservation of cultural, historic and archaeological resources and handle any human remains appropriately. The nominators hope that, by listing the site on Florida’s 11 to Save, they will bring awareness to this vanishing but historically significant burial site.

Harris School

Key West (Monroe County) Dedicated 1909

The Harris School was named in honor of Jeptha Vining Harris, an assistant surgeon for the Confederate Army and Navy during the Civil War. After the war, the Harris family moved to Key West, where he resumed his medical practice and became a customs collector and school superintendent.

Dedicated on July 4, 1909, the Harris School was the first public school in Key West and served as an elementary school until 1982. The two-story building with rusticated concrete block exterior walls is a contributing resource to the Key West Historic District, which was originally designated to the National Register of Historic Places on March 11, 1971.

In 2006, the Monroe County School Board sold the building. Unfortunately, the site has been deteriorating ever since and cited multiple times for code violations while being used as a commercial parking lot since 2009. Now the last large historic school building in Key West that has not been rehabilitated, the property is currently listed for sale. The nominator hopes to raise awareness of the historic structure and assure it is preserved as a future part of the community.

Jupiter Elementary Auditorium

Jupiter (Palm Beach County) Built in 1927

Designed by architect William Manly King, the Jupiter Elementary School is an excellent model of the Mediterranean Revival Style. The first permanent school in the town of Jupiter, it was built in 1927 to accommodate the town’s students, with the exception of African American children, who had to attend school in Limestone Creek.

Completed at the cost of $150,000, the Jupiter School was a state-of-the-art facility with a science lab and an auditorium with a stage for the arts. At the time, it was one of a few schools in Florida accredited by the Southern Association, allowing its graduates to attend college. The school was the town’s primary education facility until 1964, when Jupiter High School opened.

Unfortunately, the building, and especially its auditorium, is in a state of disrepair. There are fears the structure will deteriorate rapidly without restorative work. The nominator aims to mobilize the community through advocacy and overcome any roadblocks that prevent the auditorium’s restoration and community use.

Lake Hall School

Tallahassee (Leon County) Built 1870

The Lake Hall School is a small wood-frame building erected in 1870 by once enslaved tenant farmers who acquired portions of the old Hall Plantation from former planter Mariano Papy after the Civil War.

Schooling time was tied to the growing seasons, and largely dependent on whether a family needed or could spare child labor in the farm or field. Purchased by Leon County Schools in 1919, the one-room school, with several benches on each side, a stage up front and heated by a wood stove, eventually closed in the 1950s.

Threatened by encroaching development, descendants of the Lake Hall community desire to restore and open the schoolhouse to the public as a historical exhibit. Recently, the Leon County Board of Commissioners voted to support these preservation efforts by acquiring the property. The nominator wishes to continue to raise awareness to restoration efforts underway to preserve this important part of the Lake Hall community.