At 253 Barcelona Road in the El Cid historic area of West Palm Beach, there is a historic home built in 1925 that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The house was owned by Ralph Hubbard Norton, founder of the Norton Museum of Art.  A Monterey style house, Marion Sims Wyeth was the architect.   Wyeth altered the house extensively to fit Norton’s art collector and it is now used as an art museum.  

Group tours, special events, a Little Explorers Summer Program and the opportunity to use the facility for an event are available.  There is a K-10 curriculum and educators’ resource focusing on visual arts, science and language.  There is a writing workshop, and featured are discoveries in carving, plaster model making, scale enlarging, lost was casting, eco-systems, ecology, plant identification and biodiversity.

The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, part of the 1.7-acre property, has over 100 sculptures by Ann Weaver Norton which are displayed in the house, studio and gardens.  Ther are 300+ species of tropical palms.  Ann studied at Smith College, the National Academy of Design, Arts Students League and Cooper Union.  The artist’s studio has works in wood, stone and bronze done over 4 decades.  Some works are abstract, yet warm and she is said to have been remarkably avant-garde eveb vy today’s standards.  Some works are over 12’ tall.  Works in the garden were created right there.  The setting is peaceful and beautifully maintained.



Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecom mogul, known as the world's richest man, now owns the last private Fifth Avenue mansion, the Duke-Siemans mansion at the corner of 82nd Street and 5th Avenue.
Features include an unusual mansard roof and petal-glass awing over the entryway, similar to Paris’ Art Nouveau Metro station entrances.  Five stories with 20,000 sq ft, there is a penthouse duplex, 12 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and 11 wood-burning fireplaces.
Built in 1901 for philanthropist and tobacco tycoon Benjamin N. Duke, during the Gilded Age,  the “Millionaires’ Row” also had in residence Vanderbilts, Fricks and Carnegies.
Luxury buyers have returned to Manhattan, and some seek homes with historic value.



Worth Avenue is considered one of the best world wide upscale exclusive shopping streets, with many top name luxury retail stores, jewelers, art galleries and restaurants.  Walking down Worth Avenue, in and out of the pretty and picturesque flowered alleyways, browsing or buying, can occupy a happy afternoon.  

Five major architects are responsible for charming, elegant old-world Mediterranean-style buildings in the Worth Avenue area – Addison Mizner, John Volk, Howard Major, Maurice Fatio and Marion Sims Wyethe.  The Everglades Club was built in 1918 and is still beautiful.  These architects are also responsible for many commercial and residential buildings.  The Palm Beach Preservation Foundation’s mission is to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of the Town of Palm Beach and the scenic quality.  Awards are given to properties for their preservation efforts and results.

Built in 1925, architects for the Brazilian Court Hotel were, Rosario Candela (1925) and, Maurice Fatio (1936).  The property began as a Mediterranean Revival style residence, and later added a south wing and was landmarked in 1994.  Fatio built many beautiful homes in the area, as did the other architects mentioned above.  These stately elegant properties still stand, well loved and lived in, a testament to the abilities and quality of materials used by these architects in the early 1920’s.  In 2010 this hotel was designated #1 in Florida by Travel & Leisure Magazine. 

Now a 5-star hotel, you might want to stop for an exciting lunch or dinner at CafĂ© Boulud.  The courtyard in back is charming and romantic. A reservation for a room or suite will result in an elegant, memorable vacation.  The courtyard in back is charming and romantic. A reservation for a room or suite will result in an elegant, memorable vacation. You can walk to Worth Avenue or head to the beach with jeep transportation provided.

At 450 Worth Avenue, Casa de Leoni, built in 1920 by Addison Mizner, favors a Venetian design.  This property received the Preservation Foundation Ballinger Award for Restoration in 1995.  At 456 Worth Avenue, sits Villa des Cygnes, built by Addison Mizner in 1922.  In 417 Major Alley there is a small row of Bermuda style homes built by Howard Major in 1925.

In 1994, Pan’s Garden at 386 Hibiscus Avenue became a Preservation Foundation project, and won many awards.  See many Florida native plants at this delightful, serene Botanic Garden.  At 319 Brazilian Avenue, a typical Palm Beach bungalow was built in 1910 and given the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach Ballinger Award for Restoration in 1995.  Tours are available for school children.

The oldest house in Palm Beach is Sea Gull Cottage, built in 1886, in 1993 Henry Flagler’s first winter home.  In 1913 it was moved to the oceanfront as part of the Breakers Hotel.  The property has won many awards.

For exclusive walking tours for groups, call 561-659-6909 and be treated to the history of the area by James Ponce, who is called Palm Beach’s only “Two Legged Historical Landmark” by the Palm Beach Town Council.  Hear the facts and fables of Palm Beach’s illustrious history and celebrity residents.  Tours are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in the Gucci Courtyard at 256 Worth Avenue on January 12,  January 26, February 9, February 23 and other dates thereafter.  Call to reserve.




Foreclosed on last January 2010, the Luff House at 390 East Palmetto Park Road is one of the city’s earliest bungalow-style homes, one of Boca Raton’s 10 oldest surviving structures.  Not wanting to maintain the house, the current owners want it off the property by the end of the year or demolished.
The house was built in the early 1920’s using coral rock, unique to South Florida.  The exterior appearance has changed over the years as you can see in the two pictures above. With no historic designation for the house, the owners can demolish the house if they wish, but the Boca Raton Historical Society feels it is important enough to be relocated and used.
Suggestions for a new location include Sugar Sand or Spanish River Park, if the historical society or someone else could have it moved.  Cost is estimated for the move at $175,000.  Eligible for state and federal grants, such as from the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation, those funds have dwindled as the economy has. 
Perhaps a group within the area will agree that this property is steeped in historical value and worth saving and reusing, and find funding to get this gem moved and used as an educational facility or for their own personal use.  It has been occupied by several businesses – antiques, watches, jewelers, and was the home of community agencies such as the Junior Service League and first home of the Boca Raton Historical Society.  
Anyone interested in helping can contact the Boca Raton Historical Society at (561) 395-6766, extension 106.