If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
Homes of El Cid
In 1990 I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida from California. My wife and I were eager to purchase a house and we wanted an older home with character. I had never been to West Palm Beach and had no idea about neighborhoods or types of homes available.
My realtor did her best to acquaint us with the neighborhoods in the city and in the surrounding communities. Unfortunately, the properties she showed us had no appeal to us. By the water they were small tract homes and expensive. Away from the water they were larger, but either in sterile gated communities, golf communities or in unincorporated areas where the neighborhoods were very uneven. My stomach was cramping with the thought I would end up living in one of these.
“Aren’t there any older neighborhoods with older custom houses?” I asked.
She replied,” Well there is this old area in downtown. I used to live there but I haven’t been there for years. Bad crime, prostitution . . . it’s not an area I ever show. But we can go if you want.”
Now how could you not pick up on an endorsement like that? We went. The area was wonderful and close to downtown, just off the intercostal waterway. We loved it. We bought our home there (and we did not see anymore crime than any other part of the city).
The area is known as El Cid. The neighborhood was built in the 1920’s, which for Florida is old. The architectural style of the homes for the most part is Mediterranean Revival or Mission Style, although there are excellent examples of the Monterey Style, and the Art Moderne Style.
In 1990, when I moved in, the neighborhood was in transition. Most of the homes were turning over as the original owners died or moved on. New people like us were buying and fixing them up.
Historic Neighborhood and the Home Tour
The Neighborhood had issues with the flight patterns of the planes flying into and out of Palm Beach International Airport. A group of concerned individuals, led by Pete and Mary Brandenburg, began meeting in my dining room and eventually decided to form the El Cid Historic Neighborhood District and apply for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Having a concentration of so many historic homes El Cid would be better protected from the airport intrusion.
No one else wanted to do it, so . . . I became the first President of the El Cid Historic Neighborhood Association. Hmmm!
The governing board decided we needed to raise money for the neighborhood, for beautification and other issues. In 1994 we decided to conduct a home tour of selected homes. This was not an original idea of ours. A nearby neighborhood, Flamingo Park, had done tours for several years at $10 or $15 a person. We felt, however, that we had much to offer in the quality of our homes and that we could charge $25 a person, a lot of money in 1994.
Backtracking a bit, when I was in college, one year I was the assistant manager of two rooming houses. I had drawn the houses for the promotional flyer. Here is one of the drawings.
I think the site is now a parking lot.
Anyway, remembering this old brochure gave me an idea. I told the group that I would make a drawing of each home on the tour and use it in our tour material. We would give the drawing, framed, to the home owner as a thank you gift. We had eighteen homes open for the tour the first year.
This is the first tour program.
And this is what the program looked like on the inside.
The following are examples of drawings for this tour and others which followed.
This home, like most that follow, is surrounded by Florida vegetation.