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.
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 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
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens - Miami, FL
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
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