November 21, 2017
By: Anne Geggis – Contact Reporter
Seven Fort Lauderdale homes and one in Oakland Park collectively have centuries of stories to tell. They have withstood hurricane winds along with the real estate market’s fickle fortunes — and now the public is invited inside to see them decked out in their holiday splendor.
Their survival presents a reason to celebrate for the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation, which is dedicated to keeping homes like these out of bulldozers’ way.
So the trust has opened them for a Historic Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 3.
“This is a landlubber’s answer to a boat parade,” said Michaela M. Conca, vice president of the Broward Trust, who dreamed up the tour as a way to raise awareness about the area’s architectural history and money for historic home preservation.
The response the organizers received to the first tour — about 600 attendees — convinced them a repeat of last year’s fundraiser was a must.
“We were expecting maybe 100 or 200 to pass through that day,” said Steven Glassman, president of the Broward Trust, said of last year’s event, the first time it was offered.
“We found out there is a thirst for historic properties. People are aghast when they walk in. They are beautiful,” Glassman added.
Participants can get on a trolley to experience the tour, or go house to house on their own.
Starting with the Parrot House built in 1914, every decade into the 1950s is represented, along with a wide range of homes, from waterfront manses to a Craftsman-style bungalow.
A style known as mid-20th century modern also is heavily represented, with a number of spots in Fort Lauderdale’s Victoria Park on display.
“Many consider mid-century modern to be Fort Lauderdale’s signature architecture,” Glassman said.
Scott and Jeff Roehm-Perlman, the owners of one of the homes on the tour, hadn’t heard of the style when they first walked into 1715 NE Fifth Court, in the city’s historic neighborhood, Victoria Park, and weren’t really planning to leave New Jersey in any permanent sort of way.
But, while in town after taking a cruise, they were immediately taken and bought the home, they said.
“We looked at it and said, ‘Isn’t this adorable?’” Jeff Roehm-Perlman said.
They soon discovered that “Victoria Key” had been built by a young architect for his new bride in 1958, and they had lived here until he died. Since then, it’s been owned only a handful of times, which minimized the risk it would be demolished.
“We hadn’t bought anything on the cruise, so Jeff found this on the internet,” Scott Roehm-Perlman joked.
Glassman said the house has all the hallmarks of the era: a spacious breezeway, big windows and simple, clean lines.
“The house has a feeling of bringing the outdoors inside, a lighter feeling,” Glassman said.
Although the Roehm-Perlmans haven’t been able to find the name of the young architect of their home, some of the homes on tour were designed by names written in the area’s history books.
For example, Francis Abreu’s works include numerous, Spanish-revival buildings that still are standing, include the 1926 Fire House & Safety Museum, 1022 W. Las Olas Blvd., which is on the tour.
The site, formerly known as Station 3, has an entry rotunda, wood beam ceilings, crown molding and inlaid tile eyebrow windows.
A Russell Pancoast creation is also on the tour. The architect of the Bass Museum in Miami also built Parrot Hall, 525 Coral Way, in 1938. It’s what’s called a Bermuda-style colonial. That means exposed wood beams, crown moldings, lots of brick and an arched bookcase built into the wall and a tiled fireplace.
Bill Hurlman has lived there with his partner, Matt Pearlman, for 12 years.
“It’s one of the few places where you stand at one end of the house and see all the way to the other end,” he said.
Conca said that Fort Lauderdale may be a young city, but it’s blessed with numerous representations of bygone eras. Showing off historic homes still being used in modern times is part of the trust’s goal on the tour.
“We want people to experience what it’s like to live in a historic home,” Conca said.
The night before the event, organizers will present a Fire House Cocktail Party, serving light fare, wine and champagne. It’ll be from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Fire & Safety Museum, formerly Station 3, at 1022 W. Las Olas Blvd. Tickets are $50 per person.
The Historic Holiday Home Tour will be presented from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. There will be seven locations in Fort Lauderdale and one in Oakland Park. The headquarters for the tour, also a historic structure, is open to the public and tourgoers. Annie Beck House is at Middle River Terrace Park, 1329 NE Seventh Ave., which is open to the public.
Tickets are $40 per person for self-guided option, or $75 for a trolley tour, house to house. For more information or tickets, call 954-643-0044, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org