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South Florida Landmarks: Bonnet House & Vizcaya - Endangered!
The Bonnet House & Vizcaya Gardens have been included on the list of America's 11 most endangered historic places.

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Two of my favorite gardens in South Florida, The Bonnet House and Vizcaya Gardens, have been listed on America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places of 2008. 

The list is put together every year by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, an organization that aims to preserve our nation’s historic places and communities. 

America’s Most Endangered Historic Places brings attention to sites, buildings, districts, homes and structures that are significant in American history and are at high risk for destruction or irreparable damage. 

The Bonnet House of Fort Lauderdale and the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens of Miami were both added to the list due to encroaching high-rise condominium developments. 

The real estate market has exploded across South Florida in the last ten years.  Looking across the Miami coastline you can see crane after crane constructing new high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.  These mammoth building may have their place in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and downtown Miami, but the zoning lines are becoming blurry and our neighborhoods are quickly becoming less residential and more urban.

Bonnet House - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

The Bonnet House is a beautiful estate located in Ft. Lauderdale beach.  It was built in 1921 and serves as a retreat from the surrounding city.  Much like central park in New York, this 35 acre plantation style home can muffle the city noise and make you forget that street lights and bumper to bumper traffic is just around the corner.  This peaceful retreat can only remain the sanctuary it is if the skyscrapers are kept at a distance.  Historical preservation advocates are currently trying to stop a project to construct an 18-story hotel within 200 feet of The Bonnet House.  The hotel would loom over the garden, eclipse the viewshed, and destroy the ambiance of the historical waterfront home. 

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens - Miami, FL
The Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is also being threatened by high-rise development projects.  Vizcaya is located just outside the downtown area in the beautiful historic neighborhood of Coconut Grove.  Settled in the late 1800’s, Coconut Grove was built by craftsmen from the Bahamas.  The casual Bahamian atmosphere attracted artists and radicals who gave Coconut Grove the whimsical charm it has today.  Currently the land around Vizcaya is zoned as single-family and mid-rise multi-family homes.  Unfortunately developers have convinced the city government to change zoning to allow high-rise towers into the area.   

As development spirals out of control the historic and cultural landmarks of South Florida are becoming obsolete.  The charm of South Florida will be lost, the magical quality that attracts tourist from all over the world will evaporate and South Florida will become just another metropolis.   

Help Save South Florida Landmarks!  Please let Florida know that you care about Vizcaya and the Bonnet House by visiting the historic locations.  You can also encourage and petition the mayors of Miami and Ft Lauderdale, Mayor Manuel Diaz and Jim Naugle, to set zoning ordinances that would protect the areas around Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and the Bonnet House. 

Other Sites - America's 11 Most Endangered Historical Places List

The other sites that made America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list include the following.

Boyd Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
California State Parks, Statewide, CA
Charity Hospital and adjacent neighborhood, New Orleans, LA
Great Falls Portage, Great Falls, MT
Hangar One, Moffett Field, Santa Clara County, CA
The Lower East Side, New York, NY
Michigan Avenue Streetwall, Chicago, IL
Peace Bridge Neighborhood, Buffalo, NY
The Statler Hilton Hotel, Dallas, TX
Sumner Elementary School, Topeka KS


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