Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach
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The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is dedicated to preserving the architectural and cultural heritage and the unique scenic quality of the Town of Palm Beach. Through advocacy initiatives, educational programs, architectural resources, and cultural events, the foundation's goal is to encourage the community to learn about and save the historic sites that truly make Palm Beach special.
Since its founding in 1980, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach has raised millions of dollars to preserve and restore historic resources; advocated for the designation of over 300 landmarks; recognized dedicated owners and leading architects with awards; educated countless children about Palm Beach's architectural, cultural, and environmental legacy; and provided valuable resources to the community through its archives and publications.
- 1 History
- 2 Awards
- 3 Bradley Park Beautification
- 4 Visit
- 5 Pan's Garden
- 6 Library and Archives
- 7 John L. Volk Collection
- 8 Earl E.T. Smith Park
- 9 Little Red Schoolhouse
- 10 Heritage Education
- 11 Anthony K. Baker Internship
- 12 Sallie B. Phillips Archival Internship
- 13 John D. Mashek Scholarship
- 14 Jerry A. Tishman Scholarship
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach was founded in 1980 as the community needed a private advocacy organization with a wide constituency to support the awakening historic preservation movement in the Town. By the 1970s, many of the magnificent mansions built in the early twentieth century were deemed old-fashioned and outdated by developers, realtors, and some owners. A Landmarks Commission was established in 1979 and a formal historic preservation ordinance was adopted by the Town to save threatened buildings. Within a year, a number of prominent citizens joined to create a charitable foundation, the Preservation Foundation, with the goal to preserve the architectural history of Palm Beach and educate its residents about their heritage. The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, Inc. was officially incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida on January 15, 1980.
The first board members and officers of the foundation had been involved with the beginnings of the preservation movement and the formation of the Landmarks Commission. LaBaron S. Willard, Jr., was one of the first Landmarks Commissioners and served as its chairman. He then became the first President of the Preservation Foundation. He was the bridge between public and private preservation.
Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith [1903-1991], Mayor of the Town of Palm Beach from 1971 to 1977, became the first chairman of the Preservation Foundation. He was highly visible throughout the town and deeply respected. The town and the foundation would not have achieved its present high standards and successes without his persistence and innumerable appearances before the Town Council to plead the cause for historic preservation.
Through the generosity of hundreds of Palm Beachers, the Preservation Foundation has been able to save the town's oldest house, Sea Gull Cottage; restore the historic Town Hall; create the Earl E.T. Smith Park; establish a Heritage Education program for fourth-grade school children throughout Palm Beach County; restore the Little Red Schoolhouse, the oldest one-room school in Southeast Florida that offers a living history program under its roof; and create Pan's Garden in the heart of the town that offers educational programs about native plants and butterflies. Town-owned open space has been safeguarded and neighborhood zoning strengthened and upheld through the efforts of preservationists. Facade easement donations to the foundation protect buildings as well as bring tax savings to owners. Millions of dollars have gone to purchase property, and into restoration and rehabilitation over the years.
The Preservation Foundation's prestigious awards recognize dedicated property owners and leading architects each year for projects that preserve the character and traditions of Palm Beach.
- The Ballinger Award commemorates the restoration or rehabilitation of a landmarked estate or public space that best exemplifies Palm Beach's architectural heritage. The Ballinger Award was first presented by the foundation in 1988 in honor of the late Robert I. Ballinger Jr., former chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission. Mr. Ballinger worked tirelessly for many years to instill pride in the island's architectural heritage. The medal itself, struck by noted sculptor Edward Grove, bears the likeness of a bust of Mr. Ballinger that was sculpted by Mr. Ballinger's wife, Didi Ballinger. The award is presented in December of each year at the foundation's membership luncheon.
- The Polly Earl Award was established in 2005. Honoring the work of the late Polly Earl, who served as Executive Director of the foundation for over twenty years, the award recognizes property owners for the restoration or rehabilitation of a landmarked property integral to the charming neighborhoods of Palm Beach. The first award was given to a residence located in the “Sea” Streets, a neighborhood originally platted and developed by Polly Earl's grandfather, Oscar Jose.
- The Elizabeth L. and John H. Schuler Award was founded in 2005 by Mr. and Mrs. Schuler to recognize new architecture that is designed and built in keeping with the traditional styles of the town's architecture. John Schuler served as chairman of the Town of Palm Beach Architectural Review Commission.
- The Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award was founded in 2011. The award recognizes a landscape design that is both in keeping with the character and traditions of Palm Beach, yet also original and forward-thinking. In recognition of her dedication to the Town of Palm Beach, the award is named in honor of former Mayor and Foundation Trustee Lesly S. Smith. Her late husband, Earl E. T. Smith, was the Preservation Foundation's first chairman. Earl E. T. Smith Park, located directly west of Town Hall, is named in his honor.
Bradley Park Beautification
Completed in December 2017, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach's $2.7 million beautification project at Bradley Park was the result of a public-private partnership with the Garden Club of Palm Beach and Town of Palm Beach. The project activates a formerly underutilized 4.4-acre public park located on the town's historic main street and showcases its historic and natural features. Formerly the location of Colonel E. R. Bradley's Beach Club and personal residence, the land was donated to the town in 1946. The Gilded Age buildings were demolished with the exception of the historic tea house and Artemis fountain. Previously lacking a comprehensive landscape design, the refreshed park is now a gathering place and a source of pride for the community that marks the northernmost entrance to the town. The project encompasses every aspect of the Preservation Foundation's mission to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage and unique scenic quality of Palm Beach.
Enhancements include a quarter-mile-long meandering crushed shell path that incorporates benches and leads pedestrians through a series of garden rooms separated by tall Podocarpus hedges. The historic tea house was restored and a broken coral stone terrace installed with a restored Artemis Fountain at its center. An existing restroom east of the tea house was demolished and replaced with a new facility. Chinese screens and hand-made tiles decorate the facade and reference the Chinese fireplace located inside the tea house.
Five interpretive panels were installed inside the tea house to educate visitors on the history of Palm Beach. The history of Palm Beach's indigenous people is recognized for the first time on the island with this installation. Local students were also able to participate in an archaeological dig during the project. The four additional panels cover the early pioneers, Standard Oil tycoon Henry Flagler, Colonel E. R. Bradley and the Preservation Foundation's beautification project.
Increasing accessibility, a new entrance was added to the northeast corner of the park to mirror the existing entrance at the southeast corner. The Lake Trail was extended along the existing sea wall and an overlook structure, inspired by the demolished Casa Bendita tennis pavilion, constructed. Permanent open space, dedicated by this project in the center of the park, was leveled and resodded. A collection of shade trees, additional landscaping and lighting completes the project.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the organization, the Preservation Foundation moved into a new headquarters on Peruvian Avenue built adjacent to Pan's Garden in 2005. The building is a locus for lectures, exhibitions, and cultural events during the months of November thru April. In addition to housing administrative offices, the property also provides a home to the foundation's library and archives.
311 Peruvian Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm
Closed on major holidays
Established in 1994 by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, Pan's Garden takes its name from the bronze statue of Pan of Rohallion that graces the garden's entrance pool. Designed by Frederick MacMonnies in 1890, the statue depicts Pan – the ancient god of shepherds who protects and guards the flocks – in idealized human form playing his enchanted pipe of reeds. It is a fitting name and symbol for a garden that serves to protect and showcase Florida's indigenous plants.
The one-half acre garden features over 300 species of native trees, shrubs, grasses and wild flowers, many of which are endangered. These are incorporated into upland and wetland areas designed to display their naturally occurring relationships to one another. Each year cultivars of native species are planted in seasonal floral display areas to highlight possible choices for residential landscaping.
A significant feature of Pan's Garden is the Casa Apava wall. The historic tile wall, which dates to the 1920s, was rescued from the Casa Apava estate on South Ocean Boulevard and forms a dramatic backdrop for the western boundary of the garden.
The foundation offers interdisciplinary educational programs for grades K-12 during the school year. Visit our Education page for more information.
386 Hibiscus Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
(561) 832-0731, ext. 113
Monday-Sunday 9 am-5 pm
Closed on major holidays.
Library and Archives
The foundation's archives preserve two collections, the Jack C. Massey Architectural Archives that house a significant collection of large-format architectural drawings, and the Mr. and Mrs. Paul Van der Grift Architectural Image Archives containing historic photographs, slides, and digital image collections. These collections advance the foundation's mission by facilitating preservation of and access to invaluable historic documents. Housed in a climate controlled vault on the first floor of the foundation's headquarters, the archives and library house plentiful resources that are available to Foundation members as well as researchers, architects, students, and historians.
The foundation's most precious collections are the architectural drawings of four prominent Palm Beach architects: Marion Sims Wyeth (1889–1982); John L. Volk (1901-1984); Belford W. Shoumate (1903–1991); and Henry K. Harding (1904–1984). The architectural drawing collections contain over 50,000 original renderings, some nearly a century old. The archives also house over 3,000 property files arranged by address, containing photographs, newspaper articles, historic designation reports, and other information about the built environment of Palm Beach.
The foundation is committed to research initiatives that enhance its collections and document the architectural history of Palm Beach. Books and archival materials are acquired through purchase, exchange, and donations.
The Robert M. Grace Library, named in honor of a founding member of the foundation, is a beautiful reading room with a comfortable seating area overlooking Pan's Garden. The library houses a circulating collection of books and periodicals on topics such as architecture, historic preservation, gardening, landscape architecture, urban planning, and local history.
The foundation's library also hosts periodic museum exhibits which celebrate the lives and works of prominent Palm Beach architects, designers, and residents whose contributions to the beauty of the island are still evident today. The library complements the foundation's archival collections and promotes historic preservation advocacy and education initiatives.
Research assistance is available by appointment. Appointments may be scheduled with the Director of Archives to use the foundation's library and archive facilities. Initial registration and daily sign-in is required and access limitations apply.
Facility use is one of many benefits included in Foundation membership fees. Non-members of the foundation are charged a daily facility usage fee. Fees are charged for one-time use of digital photograph and video footage, document reproductions, and other services. Photocopies of certain materials may be made for personal, educational, or research purposes. Fees are assessed based on the type of use, such as personal, commercial, exhibition, or publication. A complete list of policies and fees will be provided upon request.
311 Peruvian Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
(561) 832-0731, ext. 112
Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm
Closed on major holidays.
John L. Volk Collection
The Preservation Foundation is pleased to announce the generous gift of the John L. Volk Collection by his son, John K. Volk, Jr. Acquisition of the Volk Collection fulfills a longtime goal of the foundation to house the last available architectural collection of one of Palm Beach's great architects. The Volk Collection will join the architectural collections of Marion Sims Wyeth, Belford Shoumate, and Henry K. Harding.
Shellie Labell, Director of Archives, is working with a team of consultants and interns to appraise, accession, and prepare the collection for storage in the foundation's climate-controlled archives. The collection contains over 26,000 architectural drawings by Volk, 300 volumes from his personal library, 4,000 photographs, and a collection of Volk family correspondence and social history documentation.
The foundation will commence digitization of the Volk Collection in 2019 to facilitate more efficient access and preserve the condition of the documents. Donations are currently being accepted to advance this effort and naming opportunities are available.
Since its dedication in 1989, Earl E.T. Smith Park has been a proud landmark in Palm Beach and a noteworthy illustration of the Preservation Foundation's community-oriented goals. A beautiful tribute to Smith, a resident of Palm Beach for over 50 years, the park is an integral part of the area's historic charm as it remains true to the Garden Club's original plan for a town square dating back to 1929. Located directly west of town hall, the park's charismatic architecture and lush landscaping provide a peaceful and tranquil escape for residents to truly enjoy.
Earl E.T. Smith Park
Earl E.T. Smith was a respected civic and political leader whose government career was distinguished by appointments from four presidents. He served his country and community as U.S. Ambassador to both Cuba and Switzerland, Mayor of Palm Beach and as the first chairman of the board of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach. This park honors Smith's legendary public works, his efforts to better the lives of his fellow citizens and his passion for preserving the beauty of the town he loved – Palm Beach.
356 South County Road
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Sunrise to Sunset
Little Red Schoolhouse
Founded in 1886 as a community project, the Little Red Schoolhouse was the first schoolhouse in southeast Florida. Its first seven scholars were taught by Miss Hattie Gale, the 16-year-old daughter of the Reverend Elbridge Gale, former Professor of Horticulture at Kansas State Agriculture College who came to the Lake Worth area of Florida to be a minister and local botanist.
Today, the Little Red Schoolhouse is home to the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach's “living history” program that takes children back in time for a mini-day in a one-room school of the 1890s. Education in America's one-room schoolhouses stressed discipline, moral values and the three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and aRithemetic. Modern Little Red Schoolhouse scholars will relive the school day as it was at the turn-of-the-century: learning Spencerian script, practicing arithmetic, reciting stories from McGuffey's Readers, participating in a spelling bee, and experiencing classic recess games. Furnished with period pioneer education artifacts, the Little Red Schoolhouse provides children with a true early American educational experience.
2185 South Ocean Boulevard
Heritage Education is an approach to teaching and learning about history and culture. In 1987, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach introduced its Heritage Education Program. The program teaches the concept of learning about the history and culture of a community through the medium of local architecture. The Florida Sunshine State Standards are used as a reference as the program continues to grow. Since its creation, the program has grown in popularity and is currently offered in several public and private schools in or near the Town of Palm Beach.
Through the Heritage Education Program students will be able to identify local historic structures and historic personalities related to community history, recognize architectural details and styles, associated styles of local architectural and there relation to the local community, and understand the need for historic preservation.
In 1993, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach its Outstanding Achievement Award in Education for the Heritage Education Program.
The program is a free resource, can be tailored to your school, and each child receives a Heritage Education Workbook.
Anthony K. Baker Internship
The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is proud to offer a six-week summer internship program for undergraduate and graduate students of architectural design and historic preservation. The internship program is named in honor of the late Anthony K. Baker, a dedicated advocate of historic preservation, history and architecture throughout the United States.
The Anthony K. Baker Internship Program incorporates a multi-faceted approach to providing experiences related to the field of historic preservation. Interning students will be exposed to challenging, professional opportunities while working in the offices of leading architectural, interior, and landscape design firms. They will assist preservation planners in both the Town of Palm Beach and the City of West Palm Beach with documentation of historic properties and participate in current urban planning and design projects. Interns will attend architectural and preservation commission meetings and learn more about the inner workings of the Preservation Foundation. The program will culminate in the completion of annual project addressing a pertinent town preservation issue. A detailed schedule will be assigned at the start of the program.
Housing will be provided at a landmarked Addison Mizner designed apartment building located in historic Phipps Plaza, the locale for architects and designers of past and present. The fully equipped apartment is centrally located and within walking distance of the foundation's headquarters. A $1,000 stipend is included with the internship.
Sallie B. Phillips Archival Internship
The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is looking for graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in a degree-seeking program in Public History, Library and Information Science, or Historic Preservation to participate in a six-week program this summer. The foundation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic, architectural, and cultural heritage of Palm Beach, Florida. The foundation's mission is to encourage the community to learn about and save the historic buildings that truly make Palm Beach special.
Interns will be exposed to challenging, professional opportunities while working in the archives of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach. Interns will learn to properly store, preserve, digitize, and restore architectural renderings, rare photographic materials, and other special collections items. Additionally, interns will assist Preservation Foundation staff in creating an updated version of Landmark Architecture of Palm Beach and will conduct research for a commemorative book celebrating the 30th anniversary of the prestigious Ballinger Award.
John D. Mashek Scholarship
The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is proud to offer the John D. Mashek Scholarship, named in honor of its late President and chairman.
John D. Mashek led the Preservation Foundation for 27 years. He joined the foundation in 1982, while it was forming, and became a trustee and executive committee member in 1984. He was named president in 1988 and assumed the title of chairman in 2009.
The John D. Mashek Scholarship will provide an ongoing scholarship opportunity for high school seniors in Palm Beach County. Seniors who wish to pursue a collegiate course of study in architectural design, interior design or landscape design will benefit from a financial award of $5,000.
Jerry A. Tishman Scholarship
The Preservation Foundation is proud to offer two scholarship opportunities available to graduate students who study architecture in the state of Florida and have an interest in historic preservation. The scholarship is named after Jerry A. Tishman, who bequeathed to the foundation the scholarship funds. The scholarship fund will provide architecture graduate students with funds to help support their education costs during the school year and for a summer program.
For assistance with annual tuition, the chosen graduate student should be enrolled in a school of architecture within the State of Florida and be in good academic standing. The student will receive an award of $10,000 made out to their school of choice in Florida.
A second opportunity is available for graduate students pursuing a summer program in the field of historic preservation. The chosen graduate student will receive an award of $3,300 made out to a summer program of choice that focuses on the preservation of historic properties.
- Ash, Jennifer & McLean, Alex (1992). Tropical Style: Private Palm Beach. Abbeville Press; 2 Rev Ed. ISBN 978-1-55859-489-0.
- Earl, Polly Anne (2003). Palm Beach: An Architectural Legacy. Rizzoli International. ISBN 978-0-8478-2510-3.
- Schezen, Roberto & Johnson, Shirley (1991). Palm Beach Houses. Rizzoli International. ISBN 978-0-8478-1313-1.
- Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach