Friday, August 11, 2017

Old Florida Is Almost Gone

I've always loved old architecture.  For as long as I can remember understanding homes and history, I've been drawn to homes with history.  I find it joy-filled and comforting to know lives have been lived on floors I stand upon and lives will continue to be lived there long after I move from that spot.  I love the idea of being part of a home or city's history.  

The thing though about old architecture is that it's...well...old.  And the kids these days like bright, shiny, zero lot line objects.   We no longer live in an era where we even conceive of fixing a toaster that goes kaput.  We instead toss it in the trash on our way to the nearest super store to pick up a new one for a low low plastic covered price.  

Every state has a unique history and if you've never seen How The States Got Their Shapes, you should make time to watch it, at least the episode about your own state, one of these days.  But Florida, specifically South Florida {which is like the third state of FL, completely unique to it's two older sisters North Florida and Central Florida}, is interesting in that it's on the east coast, where the US was first settled.  But South Florida didn't really see a population of significance until the 1950's, after the end of World War II.  So the old old homes are few and far between.  And the old homes are little, single story, 1950's bungalows.

Land is lacking though and prices are at a premium.  So over the last 20 years, people have torn down those old Florida bungalow homes and in the same spot, put up two new, zero personality, zero lot line homes.  Giant condos are everywhere, reaching high into the clouds, and forever changing the city skyline.

Not all change is bad.  And I understand wanting more space and homes with all the bells and whistles. But it's still sad to see so much of what I knew as a kid in Fort Lauderdale disappearing to the era of new and newer.  

I'm impressed at how the city has grown and prospered over the years!  I think it's amazing that it has such a booming economy and revitalized corners.  Even though I am older and taller and things generally seem smaller to you over time, Fort Lauderdale to me, seems much bigger.  Or fuller.  Maybe there's just more of everything in the same amount of space.  

I spent so much of my childhood walking between those old houses to visit friends and meet out front to climb trees.  We collected slugs and tadpoles and frogs.  We played in the sand {and by we, I mean every other kid as I loathed playing in the sand and still don't particularly warm to the feeling of it}.  And our dad's talked about the history of the state and those who walked these streets before us.  Bestie Florida and I spent a good part of our early childhood playing at the Stranahan House as our dads volunteered with the restoration project in the 80's.  A rather incredible playground for two tots!

I miss it.  I miss my Florida.  I miss what I knew.  I miss the familiar sights.  

So when I happen across a relic such as this 60's driveway, I stop and admire it.  I remember being little and seeing station wagons parked carefully over the grassy paths.  Even though it's just a stranger's driveway {down the street from Godsister's house}, it somehow feels like home.  

Change is nice.  It's great to grow and progress.  But it would be nicer if a few more homes could hang on to my beloved childhood kitsch, too.  Nostalgia gets me every time!

Your hometown..has it grown as much as mine over the years?  Or has the population gone down {because everyone moved down to Florida}?  


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