In response to Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen’s letter describing his vision for a simple, modern synagogue that could hold up to 1500 people, Frank Lloyd Write responded, “Dear Rabbi Cohen, I would like to talk to you concerning your project.”  Thus began a six year collaboration between the Rabbi and the world famous Architect that led to the beautiful sanctuary above in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Rabbi Cohen said in his request, cost would be $500,000, there would be no windows but the glass roof and rotunda would let in light.  Walls would have acoustic treatment.  Included would be classrooms, meeting rooms and storage rooms, all to be air-conditioned.  Sketches of his ideas were included.  Wright’s goal was to have congregants walk in and feel “as if they were resting in the hands of God.” The gentle slope of the horseshoe formation achieved the goal of seeing others around you no matter where you were seated rather than the backs of heads and profiles. On bright sunny days when a cloud passes overhead, the room darkens, at sunset the room turns gold, and when the sky is blue, you see blue.

This is the only synagogue that Wright ever designed.  Many of his textures, colors and geometric motifs such as triangles and hexagons are repeated thruout the structure, creating a powerful design unity.  Modern materials were used including concrete, steel and glass, finished with gold tones of bronze and desert sand, using Wrights signature red, and matte silver aluminum.

The building was dedicated on September 20, 1959, five months after Wright’s death.  Shortly thereafter both the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation singled out Beth Sholom Synagogue as one of the seventeen Wright buildings most worthy of preservation. Later an elevator was added, restrooms were upgraded and sidewalks were widened.  Visitors can watch a 20-minute documentary narrated by Leonard Nimoy and study exhibits.  Tours are suspended when events are held such as weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals.  No tours are given on Saturdays or Jewish holidays.  School continues thruout the year.  The vegetable garden grows food for the food pantry.



The usual custom is for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate an entire structure for preservation and protection from demolition by current or future owners of a property, but some partial designations have been chosen in the past in Palm Beach.  

This past week the Commission has nominated only part of the front structures, the facades of two homes, for landmark protection, a “compromise,” so that any future changes and additions are compatible with the most noteworthy features of the property. 

The Commissioners recommended that the Town Council designate the front entrance at Pelican Manor  at 125 Seagrape Circle and the majority approved, but two of the Commissioners voted against the recommendation, “not impressed by its design.”  The front entrance features wood-paneled double doors with a substantial stone surround, a full-height portico and balanced use of windows and doors. This home is a Neoclassical style designed by Wyeth, Kind and Johnson.  

The front fa├žade of 200 El Brillo Way was unanimously recommended by the Commission.  The 1929 Mediterranean Revival style home is house is built in a U-shaped design by architect Marion Sims Wyeth.

Past partial designations include the gate and perimeter wall south of the gate in front of the former Kennedy estate at 1095 North Ocean Boulevard where many recent renovations and restorations have been made by the current owners.  The home is a 1923 Mediterranean Revival design by Addison Mizner and renovated in 1933 by  Maurice Fatio.  Market value is $59.55mm according to list of most taxed estates in the Palm Beach Post) built in 1975.

The west side of the Breakers Hotel, is another partial designations.  These valuable features are hereby protected from demolition.  Actions like these keep Palm Beach Island “true-to-form” and preserve and protect the historical vision that Palm Beach is, honoring the talented architects and landscapers of the past and of today.



“Giving back” is well represented by the late billionaire John Kluge’s generosity.  Four acres with two houses and three other buildings held a lot of “goodies” including  furniture, decorative accessories and other objects symbolic of “the good life.”  The property has been on the market for five years with all the furniture remaining inside. 150’ of oceanfront land is included.

Kluge Estate Guest House by Addison Mizner

Palm  Beach’s 89 Middle Road just sold for $39MM, with receipts for property, furniture et al slated for scholarships at Columbia University, Kluge’s alma mater.  In time to come the buyer will decide what to do with this outstanding property.

Leslie Hindman received about 400 items to appraise, catalog and put up for sale, June 9-13, allowing remote bidding.

Christie’s will auction some of the furnishings, silver and porcelain in New York City December 2nd and 3rd, about 100 lots of treasures.  Kluge’s extensive fine art collection generated about $12MM at a Christie’s auction a few years ago. Periods represented include “newer and still chic items” alongside the antiques. 

Models of sailing ships and a billiards table are included.  Kluge loved lavishly landscaped gardens and outdoor furniture and decorative items used on the grounds will be included, some of it bamboo furniture.  Other fabulous auctions handled by Hindman’s company included items from the Kennedy and Lilly Pulitzer estates, the historic Manalapan home, Casa Alva and similar expansive and well-decorated estates.



Since about 2001, Augusta National Golf Club, dubbed the most powerful golf club on earth, has spent about $40MM to entice locals to sell their properties and thereby bought up much of the land bordering their exclusive grounds.  BUT there is one holdout on the northwest corner of the club owned by a couple who just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  The area is a free parking lot, Gate 6A, now bulldozed, that was once a fully lived in neighborhood, where kids happily played in the streets.  The house in question at 1112 Stanley Road is in the middle of Gate 6-A.

Augusta National was designed by Bobby Jones and others and opened for play in 1933, with the Masters starting there the following year.  In Golf Digest’s 2009 list of 100 greatest courses, Augusta National ranked #1. In Golfweek Magazine’s 2011 list of best classic courses for course architecture in the US, it was ranked #10.  The first female members were admitted in 2012, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore.  In 1990, African Americans were admitted to this exclusive membership.  There are 10 cabins on the property, one built exclusively for member President Dwight D. Eisenhower after his election, according to secret service specifications.  Famous golfers Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were also members.  Others include Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Roger Goodell, Sam Nunn, T. Boone Pickens, Jr, Jack Welsh and many other CEOs of top companies.  Membership numbers about 300 and is by invitation only.  Members and tournament winners receive a distinctive green sports coat.


Club officials stop by regularly with offers, but the residents don’t want to go.  They raised their family in this 1900 sq ft 3-bedroom house, with everyone coming back for the holidays, which Zillow values at $355,126.  Initial sellers got about $250,000 for their homes.  Built in 1959, on the cusp of being a historic home, it remains the “piece de resistance”.  Their grandson has become a professional, Scott Brown, age 32.  He is a PGA Tour member, not yet making the Masters.  Their brother sold his home, on two acres, and two other homes he owned, for a cool $3.6MM.  The residents owned another property across the street that they sold to the club for $1.2MM.   A nearby holdout wound up settling for $960,000, for a very similar house.

When the Masters is played at Augusta, the area fills up with cars, the rest of the year it is very quiet there.  Fans will stop by and greet the residents, complementing their landscaping and asking for gardening tips.