• The City of Ormond Beach, Florida proudly titles itself the "Birthplace of Speed" with a long history of auto racing that started in 1902 on the hard packed beach sand when automobiles were new and existing roads were poor. After the Winton Bullet won a Challenge Cup against the Olds Pirate by a breathtaking two-tenths of a second in 1903, Ormond Beach established itself as the ideal proving ground for automobile designers and racing aficionados from around the world. Motorcycle and automobile owners and drivers brought vehicles powered by gasoline, steam and electric engines, sometimes cruising at over 100 miles per hour along the ocean side. You can see actual race footage on the beach from 1905 on YouTube at Ormond Beach Florida Auto Races. While autos may still drive along the beach, beach racing is now only commemorated at Birthplace of Speed Park, located on A1A at the intersection of SR40. The park has a series of markers telling the story of racing and provide wonderful views of the ocean. The park used to showcase two replicas of the two history-changing racers, the Winton Bullet and the Olds Pirate, but the ocean climate made maintaining the cars difficult and they were removed for repairs. Members of the Motor Racing Heritage Association decided that it would be ideal to bring back another piece of Ormond Beach racing history and place it in the park to protect the replica cars. The Ormond Garage was built in 1904 by Henry Flagler, railroad magnate and owner of the Ormond Hotel, to accommodate participating race cars during the beach races (and to keep them away from the front of his hotel). The large garage housed the drivers and mechanics during the speed time trials, while the owners and manufacturers stayed at the hotel. While much larger than could be accommodated within the park, the old garage was to serve as design inspiration for a new structure to house and protect the replica race cars in Birthplace of Speed Park. The Motor Racing Heritage Association began fund raising in order to build the garage, and came to Historic Shed to discuss the project. After a few design iterations to make the project more affordable, and a couple of years of fund raising, the project was officially launched at the end of 2012. Last week, the interior was completed and the first of the replica cars will move in shortly.     This very fun project would not have been the same without Suzanne Heddy, Director of the Ormond Beach Historical Society and Motor Racing Heritage Association Treasurer; Ron Piasecki, President of the Motor Racing Heritage Association, Inc.; and Dan Smith, Hometown News writer and  Motor Racing Heritage Association's  "Go To Guy" and the numerous other racing history fans in the area. We offer so many thanks for their direction, entertainment and support! Some more info on the garage project and racing history can be found at these links: A tribute to the famous Ormond Garage 1904-1976 Ormond Garage replica going up in Speed Park City’s heritage on display with new replica garage Green shed marks auto racing's starting line The History of Speed in Ormond Beach Motor Racing Heritage Association Ormond Beach Historical Society

  • Other than a few new McMansions that have crept in, most buildings in the historic Gulf Coast town of Aripeka, FL are pretty small. Quaint and picturesque, set next to the Gulf of Mexico with spectacular sunsets every night, it's easy to envision a simpler coastal lifestyle in Aripeka. In particular, this quaint stilt shack that is less than 500 sf, built far out over the marsh makes one think of relaxing days swinging in a hammock with a cold drink in hand. Located on part of the Old Dixie Highway, the former Aripeka Post Office, next door to the newer (yet not much larger) Post Office built in the 1950s, also is a reminder of simpler days. It appears to be under 200 sf.

  • Home Office Shed

    While every historic house that we design a shed for is unique, some places have an exceptional story that sets them apart from the rest. This is true of a property settled in the 1880s Florida wilderness where we installed a 12'x14' shed in November that will serve as archives storage. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is located in what was founded as the the town of Limona in 1876 by Joseph Gillette Knapp, a retired judge from Wisconsin. Knapp actively promoted the area and soon convinced E. E. Pratt of the Illinois-based Elgin Watch Company to settle in Limona and to establish a retirement community for employees. Among the Illinois settlers was a talented watch maker, Charles Scott Moseley, his artist wife Julia Moseley, and their young children. Arriving in 1883, the Moseleys at first moved into a cabin that already existed on the lake-front property, but after a fire in 1885, they built the current house. Designed around a central porch to capture breezes on all sides, the house remains largely unaltered since initial construction. A well, bathhouse, shed and a two-story outbuilding constructed in the 1920s are also located on the site. The main house A still-functioning well A storage shed with the bathhouse visible to the right The two-story carport/ studio The current owner, a direct descendant of Scott and Julia Moseley, has an extensive collection of letters written by Julia to her husband during his frequent business trips describing life in the Florida wilderness, along with photographs, artwork and other artifacts from early Florida life. The archives shed was designed to store these items in a climate controlled environment as well as provide a work space for visiting scholars. Historic Shed was hired to design and build the shed in a manner that would complement the existing historic site. Built on tapered concrete piers to match the main house foundation, the shed incorporates cypress board and batten siding, exposed rafter tails, a custom dutch door and gable-end lattice details drawn from the various buildings on the property. Salvaged historic windows for the shed were provided by the owner and still have all their wavy glass panes. The windows are protected by batten shutters which can be fastened during storms to protect the fragile collection. The interior was finished with plywood walls, a pecky cypress ceiling, and cypress flooring. Cypress shelves and a desk constructed out of large cypress planks provided by the owner provide workspace for historians. The shed was insulated with open cell foam and a split mini system air conditioning system provides climate control. The paint scheme was used on the other historic outbuildings originally, using Julia Moseley's favorite colors. Wood shake roof Cypress dutch door that mimics one on the main house Batten shutters for storm protection and shading the interior from direct light Salvaged historic wood windows Desk constructed of cypress planks provided by the owner Pecky cypress ceiling with shellac finish

  • We discovered a great collection of vintage photographs and postcards showing bandstands around the world on a UK-based website. Many of the bandstands are no longer in existence today, but their images remain as a reminder of the many enjoyable hours spent listening to bands in the parks and showcase the wide variety of architectural styles applied to these small structures. All images shown here showcase historic Florida bandstands from either the Vintage Bandstand site or the Florida State Archives.A bandstand is a circular or semicircular structure set in park, garden, or pier, designed to accommodate musical bands for outdoor concerts. They provided a community gathering place for entertainment, particularly during the Victorian era. They remained popular until the 1950s and 60s when television became a greater entertainment draw. Smaller bandstands are often not much more than gazebos. Bandstands were common in many Florida communities, as was the related bandshell structure, which were commonly built using WPA funds during the Depression (photo above).

  • Florida Trend magazine recently published an article entitled "Lost Fla. Landmarks" that highlights some of Florida's quirky attractions that have disappeared over the past 50 years. For a bit of nostalgia click here. Also check out the Florida Lost Tourist Attractions website to see even more places that used to dot the Florida landscape and collect tourist's dollars. You can make up your own mind about whether Florida is better off without Hawiian Idols and Wild West towns, but I wish I could have gone to the Cypress Knee Museum.