Recently, an antebellum plantation mansion, Bocage Plantation, in Darrow, LA, 60 miles west of New Orleans, was auctioned. List price was $5,500,000. 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 7400 sq ft on 110 acres. The architect was James Dakin, and it is an 1837 Greek Revival redesign of an 1801 house. Dakin designed the University of Louisiana in New Orleans, and added marble floors and 16-foot ceilings to the house. The parlor was used in a 1974 civil rights drama, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. There is a 1350 sq ft caretaker’s house and equipment barn. The home is on the Mississippi River, which hugs the levee and is known for its “Old South” estates. Household goods, including antebellum armoires and crystal valued at about $750,000 were also up for sale.



Friends, Polly and Carl Terry, recently visited Natchez, Mississippi, and here are some of the photos they took of the magnificent Plantations that have stood the "test of time." These are The
Rosalie (built 1820-1823), Stanton Hall (built in 1857), Melrose (built in the 1840's) and Auburn (built in 1812). You can see the architectural similarities... pillars, windows, triangular facades above the pillars, some with ornaments. While this blog is devoted to Historic Homes in Florida, these are so pretty that I'm including these stately antebellum homes for the readership to see.



This private gated peninsula was formerly known as the Hood Estate, a property where horses once grazed and drank freely from the waters edge. This estate contains a Spanish Style Mansion originally built in the 1920’s and since updated while maintaining the stately charm and private park-like setting with tall century old trees, right down to the waters edge. There is a dock here for a large Yacht. From the Verandas and Patios you see sweeping, majestic,tropical wide river views. In addition to this Mansion is another lovely 3 bedroom/ 3 ½ bath guest house with a boat dock, for guest dockage. Guest House is 2568 square feet. Lot size is 35,322 total square feet (almost an acre). 3 bedroom, 3 bath, trilevel. Dock/Electric/Water. Wide tropical water views. Ocean Access and No Fixed bridges. Watch beautiful yachts cruise by and schools of ocean fish. AS 10 minute walk takes you to Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale where all of the fun shops and restaurants are located. This is a truly unique property in downtown Fort Lauderdale, close to everything ….yet you feel a million miles away in this pretty bucolic park-like setting…nothing quite like this will every be available again. List price is $4,200,000. Gated Guest house available separately, if you wish, for $1,295,000. If you would like to see it, or want more information, call Marilyn Jacobs, Realtor at 561-302-3388.



The Division is made up of three bureaus, Archaeological Research, Historical Museums and Historic Preservation and is the governmental body for historical resources within Florida, for the past 21 years, primarily responsible for promoting the historical, archaeological, museum and folk culture resources in Florida. Headquartered in Tallahassee, there are regional offices in St.Augustine, Tampa and Delray Beach. They provide assistance in nominating properties for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and help obtain state and federal grants, opportunities in the Florida Main Street program to revitalize Florida downtowns, adoption of local historic preservations ordinances, training local preservations boards, assisting in heritage tourism initiatives and providing public education opportunities re the Division of Historical Resources; programs. Guidelines for design review appear in “Model Guidelines for Design Reivew: a guid for developing standards for historic rehabilitation in Florida communities,” available in print from the not-for-profit Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. The bi-monthly Florida Preservationist newsletter contains legislative updates, a calendar of Florida preservations events, grant deadline information, information about the Trust’s Annual Meeting, Insider Tours, Educational Workshops and Historic Preservation Day. Members receive the Florida History & The Arts magazine, published quarterly, and the bi-annual Florida’s Heritage Resource Directory. There are 2500 members. See the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Listing and the Florida Historical Markers Program. For more information, in Delray Beach, call Bonnie Dearborn at 561-279-1475.



Dedicated to preserving the unique environment of the Town of Palm Beach, the Board of Trustees all reside in the community. Through a variety of programs, the Foundation educates residents about their special heritage. Interacting with the town government to encourage preservation of historic architecture and maintenance of the residential quality of landmarks, the Foundation has funded campaign issues such as property tax abatement for historic landmarks, accurate appraisal information for historic homes, and consultant studies for management of redevelopment pressures. Programs for membership include tours, lectures and social events, a newsletter and other publications, and maintenance of Pan’s Garden, a public half-acre plus botanical garden with native Florida plants in upland and wetland habitats. The Earl E.T. Smith Preservation Park is a public pocket park in the town’s historic town square. The Little Red School House, oldest one room schoolhouse in southeast Florida, provides programs for children. Their architectural history library is a resource for residents, researchers and building professionals, and houses over 30,000 original plans from eminent Palm Beach architects and materials on historic preservation. Bring donations of façade or scenic easements so that the Foundation can preserve them. Volunteer opportunities are available and membership is open to all. Call 561-832-0731.


Various styles of historic homes can be found in Palm Beach from humble bungalows to Spanish Mission houses to stately Mediterranean revivals. The Landmarks Preservation Commission readily approves changes that add modern amenities and living space without sacrificing architectural integrity. Features can include multilevel clay barrel tile roof lines, bell towers, cast-stone surrounds around the front doors, using coquina, and many other recognizable items. Architect Addison Mizner favored romantic flourishes while Maurice Fatio preferred a pared down less fussy Italian-influenced Mediterranean Revival style. These homes were built in the 1920’s and many have been restored and are cherished today. In 1997 a state law allowed municipalities to grant limited tax abatements for preservation projects, to help less-affluent communities save historic homes from demolition. The town of Palm Beach is certified by the state to make landmark designations.


1920's Mizneresque Property for Sale in Lantana

Pecky cypress ceilings… hardwood floors… beams… archways… fireplaces… iron grillework… are typical features found in 1920’s Spanish mansions, including a 1920’s early Mizneresque mission-Mediterranean home, ”Captain’s House,” on a dead end with 75’ of picturesque intracoastal waterway frontage in Lantana. The property is for sale for $2.45-MM. The main house and guest apartment, including five bedrooms, 5 baths and 2 kitchens, can be purchased separately for $1,999-MM and the adjoining properties for $455,000. The 2-story vaulted Great Room features the pecky-cypress ceilings, newly refinished red-oak floors and massive fireplace. The room is flanked on two sides by twin enclosed loggias with arched windows and has French Doors and the original 8” sq tile floors, similar to those manufactured by Addison Mizner, famous society architect. The dining loggia was the original entry; the other loggia, formerly a screened porch, has been closed in and is setup as a music room. “Eyebrow” windows are featured. The main door was milled and shipped in the 1920’s. The kitchen has reconditioned vintage appliances. The fireplace has applied masonry that looks like stone. Original antique sconces and massive metalwork chandeliers, as well as a buggy under the staircase are included. Kitchen cabinets are made of hardwood, but facings are built of cypress beadboard from old storm shutters from a 1926 house across the street. Shower rods are brass, curtain hooks are stainless steel, faucets are high-end reproductions. It includes a separate 1930’s-era duplex with two 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartments, and 1-bedroom, 1-bath 1940’s era cottage with Spanish tile floors and leaded-glass windows and runs along Lake Worth Avenue to South Lake Drive. These units include Dade County pine, Spanish tile and a shared fireplace. Enter the main residence through a walled courtyard. A big cement pond was dug up, landscaped and made into a koi pond with a brass Cupid fountain. Careful restoration has been done to a scrolled metal gate and metalwork on the grounds. Marilyn will be happy to show you this beautifully restored 1920's Spanish Mansion (561-302-3388).


A 1920’s Spanish mansion, “The Old Hood Estate” is located on a private, gated peninsula in Ft. Lauderdale in a majestic-like park setting with wide tropical water views. 168’ on the New River, no fixed bridges/docks. Included is a 2568 sq ft Guest House, all on 1 acre of land. Tall trees are centuries old. Watch large yachts cruise by and schools of ocean fish play. 10 minutes walk to Las Olas Boulevard. Price is $4,200,000. Marilyn will be happy to show you this lovely one-of-a-kind historical mansion. Call 561-988-0070.



The 16th annual production of “The Nutcracker” will be held November 23-25 at the FAU Theatre. NYC’s American Ballet Theatre dancers Sara Smith and Jared Matthews will be dancing in the production. Smith began her first serious ballet training at Boca Ballet Theatre at age 11, and later attended the Harid Conservatory for four years on full tuition scholarship, and then receiving a scholarship to train at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. She next attended Indiana University with a merit scholarship, majoring in ballet performing and nutrition science, and dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Odette in Swan Lake. In January 2004 Smith joined the American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice. Jared Mathews studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts summer program and with scholarships attended summer intensives at Joffrey Ballet School and School of the American Ballet. In April 2003 he became a member of the corps de ballet of the American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to solist in July 2007. Performances are scheduled at 7 pm Friday November 23, 2 pm and 8 pm on Saturday, November 24 and 2 pm on Sunday, November 25. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for children and seniors. Call 561-995-0709 or go to www.bocaballet.org. The Boca Ballet Theatre Volunteer Guild is holding a Gingerbread Ball after both matinee performances, including punch and cookies and a change to meet and get autographs from the dancers. Tickets are $6 and must be purchased in advance, with limited availability.




The 52-ton Hunt House, possibly the oldest building in Delray Beach, was built 100 years ago on land owned by George Linton. Hunt House was to be demolished for townhouse construction, but the developer donated it to the historical society. It was moved to the Old School Square Historic Arts District, next to the Delray Beach Historical Society’s 1926 Bungalow and Cason Cottage House Museum. During the move, crews removed traffic signals in the way and Florida Power & Light Co. linemen held up the lines from cherry pickers. The train stopped, police blocked the streets, and small crowds gathered to watch 100 years of history go by. The move was supervised by Keith Kleppinger, president of Russell Building Movers Inc. of Miami. The move cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and was paid for with donations and funds from the city, county and state. Local architects Bridges, Marsh & Associates, whose offices were in Hunt House from 1977 to 2005, and restoration contractor Ken Blair are donating their services to renovate the house as a learning and resource center for the Historical Society, showcasing Delray Beach’s history. Blair will be stripping of dozens of paint layers that accumulated over the years and exposing the original wood inside the house. The exterior will get a fresh coat of paint changing from light yellow to its original white. It is to open in about one year, when Palm Beach County’s Centennial Celebration will begin. A new structure behind Hunt House will become home for the society’s archives.



Citing its history and ambiance, the Brazilian Court, a condominium-hotel that is a favorite Palm Beach landmark, has joined the National Trust Historic Hotels of America, under the auspices of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 200 hotels and resorts in the US that the organization acknowledges for preserving and maintaining historic integrity, architecture and ambience. Built in 1926, and designed by Rosario Candela (who built luxurious Manhattan apartments) the hotel’s south wing was added by Maurice Fatio and William Treanor in 1936. Multi-million dollar improvements were made, starting in 2002 and are now in the final phase. A central see-through lushly landscaped courtyard links the marbled lobby on Australian Avenue with an arched portico on Brazilian Avenue. A barrel-tile roof is accented with cantilevered wrought-iron balconies. The interior “speaks of Provence,” and complements the hotel’s Tuscan-villa roots. Stars who stayed there include Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, Tommy Lee Jones and designer Bob Mackie and Marjorie Merriweather Post. Featured in the hotel are Café Boulud and the Frederic Fekkai Salon and Spa.



Customers of Avis, Budget and Hertz will pay daily fees of $2-$2.50 using “Plate-Pass” with charges billed to credit card of renter. “Rent-A-Tollpass” can be used with Dollar and Thrifty for a flat daily fee of $5.95 per rental day or $27.95 weekly with all toll charges included. These agreements are between Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and American Traffic Solutions and Rent A Toll, Ltd. License plate information will identify the vehicles and electronically collect the toll. In it’s current newsletter, SunPass states that open road tolling will soon be available in 4 turnpike plazas – Lantana, Cypress Creek, Bird Road and Homestead Toll Plaza with plans to add this feature to other turnpike plaza areas. This will entail removal of the concrete islands (barriers, gates and columns) and adding new toll equipment structures and equipment so that cards with SunPass transducers can keep traveling at speeds of 55 mph instead of the current designated speed limit of 25 mph. Go to http://www.sunpass.com/ to update your license plate, check account balance, replenish your account, update your contact info and answer survey questions. Did you know that Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise invested $7.5-MM for generators for all service plazas giving full power for 72 hours without refueling, for use during hurricanes, and has external defibrilators available? Construction updates and real-time traffic info is available at http://www.floridasturnpike.com/. Another site for traffic info is http://www.traffic.com/.


NAR: A GOOD DAY FOR HOUSING… September 18, 2007

Along with “the FED” cutting the discount rate by half a percentage point, the House of Representatives passed the Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007, HR 1852, offering homeowners a safer alternative to risky mortgage products, helping homeowners who may be facing foreclosure, increasing loan limits and eliminating the statutory 3% minimum cash down payment. Mortgage modifications will allow borrowers to change mortgage terms so they can afford to stay in their home. “Partial Claim” programs will cure a loan default with the FHA lending the borrower money with a no-interest loan due when the property is sold or paid off. The National Association of Realtors (NAR), America’s largest trade association, represents 1.3MM+ members involved in all aspects of residential and commercial real estate and is known as “The Voice for Real Estate.”



Known world-wide for its charming historic districts and 100+ years of history, a map of walking tour sites is now available form the City of Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Department at City Hall, 100 NW 1st Avenue, or call 561-243-7284… The Sundy House, listed on the local and national Register of Historic Places, at 106 S. Swinton Avenue, is a popular restaurant and inn with a botanical gardens to roam through and enjoy, former home of John Shaw Sundy, the first Mayor of Delray, when the town was incorporated in 1911… The most expansive historic site in downtown Delray Beach is the Old School Square which includes the Crest Theater, and Cornell Museum of Art and History. Points of interest there include the recently added arcade and band shell… Also included are the fully restored S.D. Spady Cultural Museum at 170 NW 5th Avenue, former home of locally prominent African American educator, businessman and civic leader Solomon D. Spady – open to the public… Listed on the Local Register of Historic Places, as is the Spady Museum, is the Susan Williams House at 154 NW 5th Avenue. Susan Williams was a local midwife, often the only one available to provide medical treatment to residents of the “Sands” neighborhood, now known as the West Settler’s Historic District, moved in 2000 to it’s current location with renovation coming for use as a community education corner as part of the Spady Cultural Arts Complex. The building is not currently open to the public… The Cason Cottage Complex at 5 NE 5th Avenue, is both the first restoration done in the Old School Square District and the first museum in Delray Beach, once home of the Cason family, Delray pioneers, and it reflects the South Florida Lifestyle from 1915 – 1935… Homes in Bankers Row, circa 1930, NE 1st Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, is in the Old School Square Historic District, belonged to many prominent Delray business leaders… The Masonic Building, circa 1924, 40-44 East Atlantic Avenue housed the local post office from the late 1920’s through the 1950’s and is now a home for local Masons… A must-see is the Colony Hotel, circa 1926, 525 E. Atlantic Avenue, designed by Martin L. Hampton, an Addison Mizner associate. It opened in 1926, needed extensive renovation after the 1928 hurricane, and is the last remaining hotel out of eight that existed during the 1920’s boom years… Don’t miss the Atlantic Avenue Bridge, circa 1951, in the Marina District, a gear-driven, Chicago-style, double leaf bascule bridge, built in 1911, which replaced a swing bridge… Sandoway House, circa 1936, currently the home of the Sandoway Nature Center, was originally the home of J.B. Evans, a local produce dealer in Delray Beach. Walk through history on this informative and interesting tour.



Buying a house in a walkable neighborhood is good for your health and good for the environment. Homebuyers, renters, and real estate agents can find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods. Walk Score shows you a map of what's nearby and calculates a Walk Score for any property.



The Florida Board of Administration is meeting to discuss options to be sure that, in case of a hurricane, there will be funds to cover losses, and are considering a $5-BB loan for the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which currently has about $5-BB on hand from private insurers paid premiums and money borrowed last year still left over. Members of the Board include Governor Charlie Crist and the Attorney General and CFO. CFO Alex Sink liked the borrowing option and said that interest income might cover interest that would be paid. They are developing a proposal to allow their staff to negotiate to borrow funds.

The Catastrophe Fund pays claims above what private insurance companies must pay in the event a further need develops. To reduce the cost of private wind coverage for Florida homeowners, lawmakers expanded the “Cat Fund” this year so the state would pay the difference.