National Register of Historic Places, “Immokolee”

This historic home rests beneath a canopy of 300-year-old oak trees. The main house, on just under 40 acres, with stucco finish and barrel tile roof, overlooks the pool, beneath a three-story screen enclosure. Built in 1930, this 5-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom extraordinary Mediterranean revival features 6 fireplaces, original brass screens, Mizner cypress doors, fountains and floor tiles. “Immokolee” resonates with the times of a family who lived and entertained here. Also featured is a 3-bedroom, 2 bath guest house, exercise room with bar and fireplace, and walled garden, plus an additional 5 car garage with workshop. This secluded, one of a kind estate has been beautifully preserved and is listed on the U.S Department of interior National Registry of Historic Places.

“Immokolee” located at 8341 Immokolee Road, is a significant historic architectural location in North St. Lucie County. Displaying a complex roofline, contrasting balconies, materials, loggias, and textured stucco walls, the residence is a strong example of the Mediterranean Revival Style. Completed in 1931, the residence was designed and constructed by Franklin Tyler, a Fort Pierce architect and builder. Numerous appointments, including Pecky Cypress ceilings and doors. Tiles and bronze windows are believed to from Mizner Industries, a business organized by Addison Mizner in Palm Beach to produce finished architectural items. The house is among the largest historic houses in the county. It contains eighteen rooms and measure approximately 6,500 square feet and maintains its original architectural integrity to a high degree.

Setting

Immokolee lies seven miles northwest of downtown Fort Pierce on Immokolee Road in unincorporated St. Lucie County, bordering Vero Beach, to the south. Relatively isolated in a rural setting, the house is located several miles east of Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike.

A canopy formed by oak trees and stands of bamboo creates an attractive entrance into the property, which consists of the primary residence, contributing swimming pool and a non-contributing storage shed and walled garden. Several small ponds and landscaped terrain also contribute ambiance. A three-bedroom house can be used as a guest house or a caretaker’s home.

Exterior

Immokolee, an eighteen-room estate, represents a stunning example of the Mediterranean Revival style. Rising two stories and displaying a modified “Z” plan, the house measures approximately 6,500 Square feet. A complex pattern of cross-gabled and hip roofs and shed extensions provide an interesting contrast of roofline. Red ceramic barrel tile serves as the roof material, replacing the original polychromatic ceramic blue/green barrel tile surfacing. Four chimneys with arched openings and barrel tile cresting pierce the roof and serve to vent six interior fireplaces. The walls consist of poured hollowed tile, twelve inches thick on the first and eight inches thick on the second. Textured stucco serves as the exterior wall fabric and contrasts with hewn cypress detailing employed on the second story balconies. Small fountains, statuary niches, tile panels, balconies and wrought iron sconces adorn the exterior walls. Fenestration irregular and asymmetrical, consisting of bronze casement windows and wood double-hung sash and fixed windows. The use of loggias, patios, and large windows tend to blur the distinction between outside and inside.

Architectural Context

The Mediterranean Revival style is largely found in those states that have a Spanish colonial heritage. The style became popular in southwest Florida during the twentieth century. The influence of the Spanish and other Mediterranean styles found expression through a detailed study of Latin America architecture made by  Bertram Goodhue at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego in 1915. The exhibition prominently features the rich Spanish architectural variety of South America. Encouraged by the publicity afforded exposition, architects began to look directly to Spain and elsewhere in the Mediterranean where they found still more interesting and functional building traditions and materials.

In Florida, the Mediterranean Revival style displays considerable Spanish influence. A popular style in the 1920s, Mediterranean Reveal had a previous influence on building design until World War II. The style was adapted for a variety of building types ranging from grandiose hotels and mansions to two-room residences. The popularity of the style became widespread, and many commercial and residential buildings underwent renovation in the 1920s to reflect Mediterranean influences. Identifying features of the style include complex roof plans often a combination of flat, gable, and hip roofs, with ceramic tile; stucco facades; chimneys with barrel tiles, entrance loggias with arched openings, casement and double-hung sash windows and ceramic tile decoration.

Immokolee embodies Mediterranean Revival styling as expressed by an irregular plan, complex gabling, hip and shed roofs surfaced with barrel tiles, loggias, balconies, and textured stucco exterior walls fabric. Small sanctuary niches, panels of imported tile, balconies, fountains and ponds also create a rich ambiance. On the interior contrasting materials include cypress doors and ceilings, bronze windows, plaster, oak floors and ceramic tile. The design materials and setting of the house blend with one another to create a unique sense of place.

The plan sited on an east/west axis takes advantage of the prevailing breezes. It allows for a natural flow between rooms and adequate natural interior lighting and ventilation. The design separates formal functions on the south from the more informal areas on the north. A dining room on the first floor and open loggia on the second serve to divide the homes into those areas. Loggias, balconies and large windows tend to blur the distinction between interior and exterior spaces. Narrow hallways, an assortment of unusual arched doors and contrast between floor levels and room sizes make the house distinctive. Immokolee is among the largest preserved examples of Mediterranean Revival style architecture in St. Lucie County.

Kay Brown
Premier Estate Properties
866.220.7912
premierestateproperties.com