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Ocala historic district
Building in the ocala historic district
Ditmar Wissel Family Dentistry
Building in the Ocala Historic District

Historic Commercial Structures and the Downtown Districts

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Specific boundaries were established for the evaluation of downtown Ocala's contiguous commercial structures for the purpose of this survey and for preliminary consideration of the establishment of a National Register of Historic Places or local historic district. These boundaries extend from N. First Street to S. Second Street and Pine Avenue to West Second Avenue.

The majority of Ocala's surviving early commercial architecture within the survey area was built between 1884 and 1946. Three buildings bear the distinction of being the oldest documented structures that have survived since the 1884 date. These are the Agnew-Gary Block, the Gary Block, and the Union Block, located at 10 S. Magnolia, 4 SE Broadway, and 14 SE Broadway Street, respectively. Regrettably, none of these buildings have retained their historic architectural integrity. The oldest historic commercial building within the survey area that has retained most or much of its original appearance is the Marion/Holder Block at 26 SE Broadway Street, completed in 1885. The most recently constructed building within the survey area that would contribute to the district is the 1941 Marion Theater at 50 S. Magnolia Avenue. This building has been well-maintained and remains relatively unaltered.

With little exception, historic architecture in Ocala is Masonry Vernacular, Commercial Vernacular, or Art Moderne in style. The existing form of the primarily two-part commercial blocks within the survey area and proposed district have vertical and horizontal elements combined into what can be conceived as an implied grid. First floor fenestration generally consists of, or originally consisted of, large plate glass storefronts set in rectangular openings between display windows flanking a center entrance. Several buildings have chamfered first floor entrances. Fixed transoms often appear or are concealed above entranceways. Display windows and horizontal kickpanels rising several feet, appear at the ground level or are at ground level.

Most of the existing historic masonry commercial buildings within the proposed district were constructed of brick, although many have since been covered on the exterior with a smooth stucco finish, which is a non-sympathetic alteration to a building's original architectural integrity. A considerable amount of wood or masonry decorative details survive but in many cases has been removed or obscured by modern storefronts, a number dating from c.1939-1941, or applied in the 1960s and 1970s.

Shed roof canopies, in the form of porches supported by full-length posts, were incorporated into the design of the earliest buildings, whereas frame canopies suspended with simple chain brackets attached to the front facade typically appeared on buildings subsequent to 1920. The incorporation of this element into the design of early downtown Ocala buildings was to provide for a relatively contiguous covered shopping area but the design function is no longer evident due to the loss of most historic canopies, although canvas canopies of modern design have been applied to some storefronts.

Originally, canopies were intended to relate each of the buildings to the street. Their purpose was not only to protect pedestrians from sun and rain, but for the placement of signage. They acted as transitional elements visually linking the activity of the commercial street with the town center, making the intervening street and the enclosed interiors of the commercial blocks a continuous space. Much like the front porches attached to homes which provide a transition between the public sidewalk and the private building interior, these canopies were intended to form a "street porch," a longitudinal transition between the commercial block interiors, the sidewalk, and street. Canopies offered a place to walk, promenade, sit, and partake in the commercial and communal activities which enlivened the town center. They are symbolic fronts as well. Like the front porch of the house or the portico attached to the church, town hall, or county building, the canopied walk functions as a longitudinal stage-set for the enactment of the daily community rituals which define the relationships of the public as they conduct their essential and commercial interactions of the day. Canopies and awnings are a uniquely positive architectural feature which typified commercial structures of the 19th and early 20th century and often figure prominently as a core element for the revitalization of disappearing and threatened historic commercial districts such as Ocala's downtown.

A number of historic commercial buildings survive within the downtown core although a number have undergone considerable modification, most notably the oldest three buildings, the Agnew-Gary Block, the Gary Block, and the Union Block, located at 10 S. Magnolia, 4 SE Broadway, and 14 SE Broadway Street, respectively. Nevertheless, the most concentrated number of historic buildings, encompassing both these buildings and others that have retained a larger portion of their original exterior architectural features, are located within the boundaries of the proposed National Register of Historic Places Historic District and include:

The Gary Block is located at 4 SE Broadway Street, on the southeast corner of SE Broadway Street and S Magnolia Avenue. It was built in 1884 and, although it has been severely modified, is one of the three earliest surviving historic structures within the downtown survey area.

This three-story, Masonry Vernacular Style building is a combination of two historic commercial buildings. The dominant, north facing building was constructed in 1884. The adjoining two-story south building faces west. It was constructed c.1888. When the two were combined in 1948, the resulting building took on a distinctive 'L' shape. Available data indicate that original cast stone details, including an accentuated cornice, quoins, and window lintels, were among the ornamentation that was removed from the north and west portions of the combined building at about that time. The cornice was replaced with a more subdued design and the pedestrian level canopies were removed. The resultant building recently lost the details that defined its renovated c.1948 character when, c.1991, contemporary facades were applied as the building was undergoing conversion to office space. The contemporary public elevations now have a textured stucco surface and, on the horizontal banded north elevation, curvilinear arches over ground level openings and square arches over third floor openings. No openings currently exist at the second floor level. The extensive non-historic and non-sympathetic alterations this building has undergone have adversely impacted its historic architectural integrity. Consequently, it does not appear to meet NRHP eligibility criteria.

During its early years, the Gary Block housed the Palace Drug Store and the S.R. Birdsey & Co. Hardware Store on the first floor. In 1890, the hardware store relocated. Office space for the New York Life Insurance Company, the Florida Hedge and Fence Co., the Capital Phosphate Company, a printing plant, an artist, stockbroker, and the offices of a realtor, attorneys, physicians, and other professionals were also located in the building on the second floor. By 1891, the Anglo-American and Glen-Alice Phosphate Companies, were occupying office space in the building.

In 1929, McCrory & Co. purchased the building for the establishment of a store as part of its national chain. The building was expanded to incorporate a separate structure at the rear in 1948 to provide additional space for McCrory's. The second floor continued in office use and provided meeting space for the Odd Fellows and other fraternal groups. By 1935, the upper floor of the building was only in use by a dentist, Dr. G.C. Shephard and the OOF Lodge and the Order of Moose. Two years later, in 1937, it appears that McCrory's had taken over the use of the entire building, perhaps with the upper floor in use for storage. The company continued to occupy the building until c.1991 when it was converted into a law office which continues to occupy the space today.

The Union Block at 14 SE Broadway Street was completed in 1884. It bears the distinction of having most severely altered original facade within the survey and proposed National Register Historic District boundaries.

The original paired storefront was extensively modified c.1991, completely obscuring any remaining historic building features from public view. The original, Commercial Vernacular Style design had features that included an accentuated brick cornice, second floor bay windows on the west and east ends of its facade wall, and a shed roof pedestrian canopy supported by posts. The contemporary facade features the use of black glass and panels set in a ribbon pattern. Other modifications include a c.1901 southeast room addition, as well as c.1965 southeast and southwest room additions.

Early tenants in the Union Block included: Richmond & Batty, real estate brokers; attorneys Herbert Anderson and H.M. Hampton; insurance agent J.H. Livingston, Jr.; J.H. Livingston & Sons, realtors; and David S. Woodrow, Real Estate and Loans. On September 15, 1904, E.T. Helvenston opened Helvenston's, a dry goods, apparel, and shoe store in the building. The first floor space was placed in use for the store, while the second floor was used mainly for stock. Helvenston later became active in the local real estate market. In 1928, the store was taken over by Ed Blocker and became Blocker's, Inc. By 1930, the Swindall News Agency occupied the building. By 1935, the agency had changed hands and was owned by John McKay. The business concern remained in place until c.1940. Other occupants from the 1930s included Dentist Daniel M. Sears and the Personality Beauty Salon.

Although of interest as one of the two oldest surviving buildings within the historic business district, the public elevation of this building has been so extensively modified with contemporary materials it no longer looks historic. As a result, it does not appear to meet NRHP eligibility criteria.

The Whaley Building, located at 18 SE Broadway Street, is a two-story Art Moderne Style commercial building constructed in 1939. The building's facade is organized in two distinct zones. The pedestrian or street level is sheltered by a suspended shed roof canopy. It has a recessed entry, contemporary storefront glass windows, and marble kickplates. The second level is characterized by paired, arched windows with square metal attic vents above, as well as accentuated stuccoed masonry banding along its perimeter. The horizontal banding on the parapet is interrupted by the building's relatively unadorned name block centered along its length. It has also a comparatively small c.1969 three-story, south room and garage addition. Although available data have demonstrated no significant historical linkages, the public elevation of this building has remained essentially unaltered. Given the number of proximate historic commercial properties, it would seem to contribute to a historic district.

For a number of years up until the 1970s, the Whaley Building housed Kennedy's Mens furnishings.

The Rheinhauer Block at 20 SE. Broadway Street, between SE. 1st Avenue and South Magnolia Street on the south, was completed for Charles and Morritz Rheinhauer in 1888.  Sons of a Jewish cantor, Charles Rheinhauer and his brother Morritz, came to the United States from Germany in 1871 and first lived in Thomasville. They arrived in Ocala in 1880 to open a dry goods and clothing store on the west side of the public square. A third brother, Benjamin, arrived in 1885. Morritz Rheinhauer left Ocala in 1895. Benjamin and Charles continued to own and operate the store and became prosperous local businessmen. Benjamin took an active part in the cigar business in the 1880s and 1890s and was co-founder of the first bank in Ocala, the Bank of Ocala, later the Merchant's National Bank.

In 1888, Charles and Morritz Rheinhauer commissioned the subject building on the south side of the square. The original two-story building, giving the impression of three-stories, was constructed of brick, iron, and plate glass. Frontage on the square was 42 feet and the building's depth was 115 feet. At the time of its completion, the interior featured the most modern decor. The fixtures, wainscoting, etc. were of native woods in various decorative designs. A spacious arcade was at center of the building and a glass dome (skylight) lit the space. First floor ceiling height was 17 feet and that of the second floor was 14 feet.

The building's two-part facade was extensively altered c.1939 when the original cast stone ornamentation, including a gable front, bracketed parapet wall, pedimented door lintels, and a sheet metal pedestrian canopy supported on posts, were removed. Art Moderne features in keeping with its neighbor, 18 SE. Broadway Street, were then applied. The pedestrian level is sheltered by a suspended shed roof canopy. Other existing details include a recessed entry, contemporary storefront glass windows, and ceramic tiled kick plates. The second level is characterized by three pairs of single-hung sash windows with square metal attic vents above, as well as accentuated masonry banding along its perimeter. Metal fire shutters flank original second floor windows along the south elevation. One-story c.1965 and c.1975 room additions are located below. Although this building's original facade was extensively altered, the alterations were in keeping with historic trends in downtown Ocala. Furthermore, the now historic Art Moderne Style facade has remained essentially unaltered. Since the building, of some interest for its historic association with a family important to Ocala's business history, is located within a contiguous group of historic commercial buildings, it would appear to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

In its early years the Rheinhauer store carried groceries, clothing, and dry goods. The Rheinhauer store, first a dry goods store and later known as a department store, remained at the Broadway location for over 50 years before relocating to the Ocala Shopping Center. The store continued in business at that location until September of 1997 when Rheinhauer and Co. ended their 117 year history of doing business in Ocala.

The Marion/Holder Block, with a street address of 26 SE Broadway Street, was erected in 1885 by D.C. Wharton Smith of Philadelphia.

This Commercial Vernacular Style building is both large and well-detailed when compared with its contemporaries. Notable characteristics include an embellished parapet, cast stone banding, classically influenced cast iron pilasters and entablatures at the pedestrian level; and contemporary lintels on the north windows. The lintels are c.1990 replacements, a result of a renovation that had a minimal impact on the historic building elevations. Modifications at that time also included the select removal of cornice brackets and the application of six and nine light wood, fixed glass storefront windows with paneled kickplates. It was further modified with the select removal of original chimneys, spires along the cornice, and a non-original first floor canopy, each at an unknown, but apparently historic date of more than 50 years ago. Thus, this building, of interest for its historic linkages, has maintained a respectable degree of its historic architectural integrity. In addition, it is located proximate to other historic commercial properties that essentially maintain their historic integrity. As a result, it would appear to meet NRHP individual eligibility criteria were it not included in a proposed Downtown Ocala Historic District.

Shortly after the Marion Block was completed, Nathan Emanuel and Herman Kaminski opened a retail establishment, Nathan's, offering dry goods, clothing, boots, and shoes. The store was soon purchased and operated by Solomon Benjamin and Louis Fox who had lost their store in the downtown fire. The Court Pharmacy, which used the slogan "The Drug Store on the Square" occupied storefront space on the Broadway side of the building beginning in 1912. H.W. Walters was the company's President and H.L. Walters served as Secretary and Treasurer. The store featured solid plate glass show cases with marble bases and wall cases and cabinets. A large and attractive soda fountain with adjoining tables was a feature of the store making it popular with both local residents and tourists until its closure in the late 1930s. Original mosaic tile flooring from the drug store remains and the words "Drug Store" are spelled out on the floor at the first floor main entrance facing Broadway.

S.W. Teague & Co., real estate brokers, maintained their offices in the building shortly after its completion. The firm did extensive and large volumes of general business. D.W. Davis, an insurance agent, also occupied an office in the building in its early years. Davis was also a real estate agent for city and suburban property, including the Marion Opera House Block and was considered one of Ocala's most progressive and energetic young business men. Dr. Dan M. Smith was a physician maintaining his office in the building. Another early tenant was D.D. Rogers, a native of Plainfield, New Jersey, a former City Engineer of the city, and a leading civil, mining and consulting engineer in Ocala.

When the building was first completed in 1884, the third floor of the Marion Block became the Marion Opera House with a seating capacity of 800. A stage was located at the south end of the building and that building space also served as a ballroom and convention hall. In addition, the third floor became Ocala's first theater. On December 2, 1890, the six day national convention of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union met in Ocala at the Opera House. The event was attended by 88 delegates and hundreds of visitors. A number of traveling theatrical troupes and opera companies performed on the stage of the Marion Opera House in the 1890s. By 1908-1909, the building had been sold and renamed the Holder Block. By that time, it appears that the entire second and third floors of the building were in use for professional offices. Other early occupants of the building included: the office of the Lemon Bay Fruit Co., several phosphate companies and/or dealers, the McKean Lumber Company, Florida Retort Co., realtor David S. Woodwrow, the Woodmar Sand and Stone Co., dentist J.E. Chace, the offices of attorneys R.A. Burford and Herbert L. Anderson, and Robert L. Anderson, as well as an additional number of attorneys and physicians up until the present. By 1940, it was again being identified and referred to by its original name, the Marion Block.

The two-story Commercial Vernacular Style building located at 16 SW Broadway Street, was constructed in 1891. It was named the Hafele Building after its original owner, H.F. Hafele.

The Hafele Building's simple two part facade clearly distinguishes the public street level from the more private office functions of the second floor. Notable features include articulated brickwork and arched windows at the second floor level, and a classically influenced cast iron window enframement at the ground level. Based on an examination of the 1930 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, the building was modified prior to 1930 with the removal of a two-story, three-bay, shed roofed porch supported on full-length posts and demolition of several small one-story south room extensions. The building has been recently modified by the application of a stucco finish over the brick facade, window replacements, and the addition of a south garden wall. Although also of interest for its historical association and significance in the area of commerce, this building retains a respectable amount of its historic, albeit modified, architectural integrity and is located among other historic commercial properties of similar merit in downtown Ocala. As a result, it would appear to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

The Hafele Building's original first floor occupant was the Ocala Bakery, followed soon by the City Bakery, a bakery, confectioner, and grocery concern, that was a holding concern of H.F. Hafele & Company, the original owners of the building. The business occupied the building from the time of or shortly after its completion in 1891. The bakery was operated by August Wolff. Second floor offices were maintained by real estate brokers, Samuel Biting and George W. Brown, beginning in 1893. By 1908-1909, the bakery was being operated by Chris N. Schlemmer. He continued to operate the bakery into the 1920s. Historical data from 1925 indicates that the Marion Seed Company, owned by John G. Wellinghurst & Son, were occupants at that time. Whereas, the 1930 Ocala City Directory indicates that the building was being occupied by the All American Grocery Store and another grocery concern, Lovett's Groceteria, occupied the building from c.1935 into the 1940s. Second floor offices were maintained by real estate brokers, Samuel Biting and George W. Brown beginning in 1893.

The Masonry Vernacular Style commercial building located at 18 SW Broadway Street was constructed c.1906. Character defining features of the one-story building include; contemporary metal hand rail on the cantilevered front (north) canopy, regularly spaced paired ornamental shutters along the stuccoed masonry parapet. Contemporary divided light storefront glass is set in a ribbon pattern above stuccoed kick panels at the pedestrian level. Non-public modifications to the building include a c.1945 one-story, shed roofed, full-width room addition and successive two-story, gable roofed, southeast room addition. The historic architectural integrity of this building has been compromised by non-historic and non-sympathetic alterations. However, it is located within a contiguous grouping of historic commercial properties in downtown Ocala that do maintain a respectable amount of historic integrity. Therefore, it would appear this building is located within a NRHP district, although it does not contribute to the district.

J.W. Alexander had a tennis racket store, the New Racket Store, in the building following the completion of the building c.1906. By 1920, Nick Sakiostis & Co. and the New York Meat Market were in located in the building but the meat market had changed names and/or hands by 1921 when it became the Ocala Cash Market and Meats. By 1935, Julia Turner, a real estate broker, had office space on the second floor. Jaudat J. Katiba's had taken over the grocery store by 1937. Nathanial H. Jones, a dentist, had an office on the second floor at that time. Marion Liquor Store was the first floor occupant by 1940 with Dr. Jones remaining in place in his office above.

The one-story, Commercial Vernacular Style building located at 20 SW Broadway Street was constructed c.1909.  Although this structure is positioned on the southeast corner of SW Broadway Street and SW First Avenue, the only public access to the building is from the north. Nonetheless, historic character defining details such as an articulated brick parapet and arched openings are evident on both the primary and subordinate public elevations. Field data indicate transoms above the two north entrance bays were sealed with v-groove plywood c.1975. Otherwise, the commercial glass storefronts, with fixed glass set in a ribbon pattern above kick plates are in keeping with historic building practices. The historic canopy that once extended across the facade was removed sometime after 1930. A c.1924 southeast room addition was removed when a two-story, gable roofed, concrete block room was added c.1965. A one-story, flat roofed, stuccoed masonry south room was also added c.1975, west of and adjacent to the southeast room addition. This simple building has maintained a reasonable amount of its historic architectural integrity. Furthermore, it is located on the outer edge of a collection of historic commercial properties possessing similar integrity. Thus, it appears to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

Limited historical data regarding the original and early occupant(s) of the building could be located. L.C. Smith and Co. had a dry goods store in the building from 1920 until the early or mid 1930s when the Ocala Bargain Store, selling general merchandise, set up shop on the first floor for the next few years. The store closed prior to 1940.

50 SE First Avenue is the location of a two-story Commercial Vernacular Style building originally known as the Hood Block but within a few years identified as the Holder Building. The simple four-bay arrangement of this two part commercial block, constructed in 1893, has a distinctly vertical emphasis. The rectangular building features articulated brickwork on the east (public) elevation, a rectangular attic vent at each regularly spaced bay, and a simple wood enframement at the first floor level. Available data indicate a one-story east porch was removed from the facade sometime after 1930. Original transoms apparently remained covered during a c.1990 rehabilitation at which time exterior stucco was removed, windows were replaced, and canvass canopies were applied over the east windows. This building is located within a contiguous collection of historic properties and seems to have retained sufficient architectural integrity to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

Tydings & Company, a drug store founded c.1895, was an early occupant of the first floor storefront space. The firm also handled seed sales. They remained in the building at least until the mid 1920s. The second floor of the Hood Block also accommodated several professional offices in the years immediately following completion of the building. Attorney Robert A. Burford, a prominent Ocala resident and attorney, was one those that maintained offices in the building shortly after its completion. The Company des Phosphates de Frances and Charles Peyser, a cigar manufacturer, also maintained space in the building during its early years. Attorneys and other professionals were occupying the building by the 1930s.

The two-story Commercial Vernacular Style building located at 56 SE First Avenue is known as the Banner Block (See Figure 24) according to a number of early Ocala City Directories. Construction of the building on the northwest corner of SE First Avenue and SE Ft. King Street was initially completed c.1886.

At that time the building was completed c.1886, what is now the rear (west end) of the building was completed as a free-standing structure that faced south and housed Ocala City Hall. However, by 1888 the larger east end of the current building was constructed. Field data indicate that, at that time, the metal coping was extended to the older building to better integrate it. Historic character defining details include a three-bay, symmetric, brick, two part facade with recessed entries; articulated brickwork; an accentuated, pressed metal clad coping; arched window openings; as well as brick kick panels below wood frame storefront glass and historic wood transoms set in a ribbon pattern. The east elevation of this building is currently being rehabilitated and is generally being returned to its original configuration and materials. Sometime after 1930, a pair of historic east porches (one at each first floor store entrance) were removed. Available data has shown this well-detailed example of the Commercial Vernacular Style to be historically significant based upon an early use as Ocala's City Hall. In addition, it maintains its historic architectural integrity and is proximate to other historic properties in downtown Ocala that have maintained a respectable degree of their historic architectural integrity. Thus, it would appear to contribute to a NRHP district.

The Banner Block was built to house the Ocala Banner Job Office. Following the building's construction in c.1886, it appears that the first floor of this building served as a City Hall, as early 1891, perhaps earlier. The second floor was in use as offices by two physicians, Dr. Jno. M. Thompson and Dr. E. Van Hood. By 1907-1908, Dr. Thompson's office was still in the building and W.M. King maintained his insurance office there also. By 1920, a grocery store was in the building, undoubtedly on the first floor, while R.L. Bridges occupied space above. Cox Furniture and a gift shop were in the building during the 1930s. By 1940, Cox Furniture had taken over the entire building.

The building at 9 SE Ft. King Street is an example of Commercial Vernacular Style construction and was built in 1886. It was constructed as two separate one-story, buildings which are now located on the same parcel. The west building, historically known as the LaFayette Block, according to early Ocala City Directories is located on the northwest corner of S Magnolia Avenue and SE Ft. King Street. It was constructed in 1886 with three storefronts. Two of the storefronts face S Magnolia Avenue. One faces SW Ft. King Street. The three-bay storefronts generally share characteristics including articulated brickwork; historic wood frame, fixed glass storefront windows with transoms, each set in a ribbon pattern; ornamented wood kick panels; recessed entries with historic wood panel and glass doors; as well as cast iron posts and pilasters. The second building, adjacent on the east, was constructed c. 1888. It was constructed to house four offices. Field data indicate each had a single arched door and window set in a pattern that repeated along the south facing facade. The unusual 2/4 wood double-hung sash windows appear original. The simple building was ornamented with articulated brickwork at the parapet and at each arched opening. Sometime since 1930, the two easternmost offices were removed along with historic porches from the consolidated building. Field indications are that the north storefront was stuccoed c.1946. These buildings retain sufficient historic architectural integrity and are located with a sufficient collection of historic properties to appear NRHP eligible as a contributor to a historic district.

Mary Peacock, a dressmaker; L.F. Ballard, a painter and decorator; and N.F. Kearns, an upholsterer, had shops in LaFayette Block in the early 1900s. Stewart's Printer was an occupant in 1930. A tailor, restaurant, jeweler, and gift shop were in the building by 1935 and remained in place until 1940.

The Davis/Goldman Block is located at 2 SW Ft. King Street, at the southwest corner of S Magnolia Avenue.  Historical data label the masonry veneered building at this site as the Davis Block-1891. The two-story, Commercial Vernacular Style building is constructed of brick. Notable features include a chamfered entrance corner, an articulated brick coping, and a shaped parapet. The original second floor windows and the first floor fixed storefront glass were replaced c.1975. The original pedestrian canopy was also replaced about that time. The building nameplate, located on the corner parapet, suggest major alterations occurred to the building in 1925. This is supported by a 1930 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map that depicts this building sharing an interior space with 6 SW Ft. King Street. Although they continue to share this space, they remain separate parcels. In 1925, when the building was given a more modern exterior facade treatment, a masonry sign at the second level of the chamfered first floor entrance was applied with the raised letter inscription "Goldman's Block 1925".

Original or early occupants of the Davis/Goldman Block included; the Ocala Commercial & Bazaar Co., selling general merchandise in the 1890s; a cigar manufacturer, Boney & Sutherland; and an attorney's office. In 1908-1909, the building quartered the Theus-Zachry Co. Furniture Store. Blockers Furniture Store occupied the space several years later. Beginning in about 1925, the building housed Goldman's Furniture Store and the store had expanded to occupy the adjacent structure at 6 SW Ft. King Street. Babcock Furniture established their business in the building in 1957 and remains there today.

This building, of some historic interest for its significance in the area of commerce, is proximate to a collection of historic commercial structures that have also maintained a reasonable amount of historic architectural integrity. Thus, it appears to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

6 SW Ft. King Street is the site of a two-story Commercial Vernacular Style building constructed c.1910.  The three-bay, two-part commercial facade, suggests the building was designed as three separate storefronts with offices above. Limited data, however, suggest that by 1925 this building was opened to 2 SW Ft. King Street (adjacent on the east) and was serving as a single commercial store. The public (north) elevation is essentially symmetric. It features the interplay of rusticated and flush concrete block, as well as the application of a concrete luster parapet. These concrete elements were typically fabricated and set on site. Second floor windows, regularly spaced in groups of three in each bay, were replaced c.1975 with contemporary metal 3/2 single-hung sash units. Furthermore, contemporary metal storefront glass was set in a ribbon pattern across the ground level of the facade, and the transoms above were boarded over. Field data also indicate the east bay provided access to the building at that time. That entrance has since been boarded over. This building is located within a contiguous collection of historic properties. It appears to have sufficient architectural integrity to meet NRHP eligibility criteria as contributing to a district.

Beginning in about 1925, Goldman's Furniture Store expanded its operation to encompass 6 SW Ft. King Street, being adjacent to 2 SW Ft. King Street which Goldman had recently purchased and updated.

The 1884 two-story Masonry Vernacular Style building at 10 S Magnolia Avenue was historically identified as the Agnew-Gary Block, according to early Ocala City Directories. Available graphic data, including photographs, historic post cards, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, indicate that although the building plan was maintained, extensive exterior alterations occurred c.1912. At that time, a two-story masonry east room replaced the one-story frame room extension depicted in the 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map and, more significantly, the former symmetric, three-bay facade was divided. The two south bays assumed a decidedly different appearance from the single north bay. The original Commercial Vernacular Style, two-part facade was simple, with three recessed storefronts, storefront glass over ornamented wood kick panels, regularly spaced double-hung sash windows along the second floor level, and a bracketed cornice. The south bays of the c.1912 configuration had three sets of paired windows along its second floor, a more elaborate bracketed parapet than the original, and utilized cast iron posts and balustrades along the first floor pedestrian level. The north bay was characterized by a simple parapet and regularly-spaced windows along the second floor. Although the facade changes were substantial, available data did not indicate these were replacement buildings. Field data indicate the ornamentation was removed from the southern facade c.1950. Unlike many other downtown commercial buildings, its facade was not molded into another contemporary style. Available data further indicate the windows were replaced c.1985. The northern bay was demolished as a result of the widening of Silver Springs Boulevard.

This building appears to have been sufficiently modified by non-historic alterations in a non-sympathetic manner to currently preclude NRHP listing individually or as a resource contributing to a historic district.

First occupants of the three first floor storefronts of the Agnew-Gary Block were two, or one large, dry goods store(s) and a funeral parlor. By 1891, M. Fishel's dry goods store and A.E. Delouest's general hardware store were located in the building, although the hardware store was relocated a few years later.

The two-story Goldman and Malever Building located at 14 S Magnolia Avenue was constructed c.1904.  Early photographs show the building featured Commercial Vernacular traits including a fixed glass storefront with transoms set in a ribbon pattern and wood panel kickplates; a recessed, centered entry; a full-width, one-story shed roof porch supported on full-length posts, and a three-bay second level with somewhat elaborate cast stone ornamentation and articulated brickwork. Notable characteristics included blind arches, round attic vents with accentuated frames, and paired gable parapet ends topped with cast stone finials. The original facade was replaced c.1940 in an apparent attempt to update its appearance. At that time Art Moderne features were applied. Original fenestrations were not maintained; however, the facade retained its symmetry. The five original second floor windows and attic vents above were surfaced with stucco. Two slightly larger windows now face the east second floor elevation. The gabled parapet ends and ornamentation have been replaced with a streamlined parapet adorned with horizontal banding interrupted by the vertical bands of the building's raised stucco motif centered along its length. The original canopy was removed, and contemporary kick plates and storefront glass was placed along the pedestrian entrance. Later, c.1950, a one-story room was added on the west.

The Goldman and Malever Building first housed a dry goods, furnishings, and shoe store. A grocery store occupied the building in 1935. By 1940, the building was renamed the Hogan Building.

The three-story Art Moderne Style building located at 18 S Magnolia Avenue was constructed c.1895 as a Masonic Hall.  This building's original Commercial Vernacular Style features included a one-story shed roof porch supported on full-length posts, an exposed brick wall surface, wood windows on the second and third floors with transoms, and cast stone features including window lintels and sills, relief, and a particularly ornate parapet. The bracketed parapet had an arched center, echoing the arched relief centered above the third floor windows. "Masonic Hall" was set in raised letters in the arched portion of the parapet. This building was modernized c.1940 when its west (front) elevation was reworked, giving it the outward appearance of a new, Art Moderne Style building. The brick surface was stuccoed, the cast stone parapet was removed and replaced with streamlined, stuccoed banding, and the shed roof porch was replaced with a suspended canvass canopy. C.1955, a one-story room was added on the west (non-public) side of the building. Field data further indicate that c.1978 the facade windows were replaced. Nonetheless, although significantly modified in c.1940, the changes to this building, of interest for its long-time use as a Masonic Lodge, are historic and reflect a historic trend in downtown Ocala. Given its proximity to related examples and other historic properties, this building appears to contribute to an NRHP historic district.

The Art Moderne Style building at 26 S. Magnolia Avenue was constructed in 1939 and could be identified as the Lerner Building, although that establishment appears to have only occupied one of the two storefronts of the building. The single building on the northwest corner of S Magnolia Avenue and SW Broadway Street has the appearance of two abutting structures--a two-bay south building and a one-bay north building. The south portion features a slightly curved end wall, recessed corner entry, paired recessed bands along its parapet, and glass block openings facing south. The north portion features a fluted parapet wall with accentuated banding. Both portions share a smooth stucco finish, a cantilevered canopy above a contemporary canvass canopy, and a contemporary metal storefront windows. This building, of significance in the area of commerce, has essentially retained its historic architectural integrity. Furthermore, it is located within a relatively contiguous collection of historic properties in downtown Ocala that have generally maintained their architectural integrity. Thus, it would appear to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

Lerner Shops occupied storefront space in this building from the time of its completion until the store relocated to a shopping center in the 1960s.

The First National Bank/Commercial Bank Building is a consolidated historic building at 36 S Magnolia Avenue.  It is an example of the Commercial Vernacular Style. The dominant building, historically referred to as the First National Bank, was constructed in 1886 by E.W. Agnew and Company. It is located on the southwest corner of S Magnolia Avenue and SW Broadway Street. The three-story brick masonry building features a chamfered northeast entrance wall, articulated brickwork, and cast stone ornamentation. Each level of the stacked window and door openings on the public (north and east) elevations are treated slightly different. Openings at the first level have square, keystoned lintels, whereas openings on the second level have arched, keystoned lintels and only a minimal horizontal masonry bands are located above third floor windows. Available data show that in its earliest years, the historic and highly ornamented cornice was not present and a classically influenced pedimented door surround was in place at the northeast entrance. By the early or mid 1920s, the building essentially assumed its present appearance, except for the contemporary ornamental shutters over third floor openings and stucco application at the first floor level.

The adjacent, attached two-story building on the west was constructed c.1912. The Commercial Vernacular Style building facing SW Broadway Street took the form of a two-part commercial block. The masonry building features articulated brickwork along the parapet, as well as a cast stone coping, lintels, sills, and an ornamented horizontal band between the first and second floor levels. A one-story shed roofed porch was removed from the public (north) entrance sometime after 1930. Furthermore, field data indicate that the contemporary first floor storefront, with its flush entrance wall, small commercial storefront glass openings and single offset entrance door, was the result of work performed simultaneously with its eastern counterpart.

E.W. Agnew, a contractor and diversified investor, established the First National Bank in 1886, with authorized capital of $150,000. The bank was constructed on the former site of his father's Palace Hotel, destroyed in the downtown fire of 1883. At the time of completion, the bank had the "largest and finest" depository safe in the State with the safe having been built expressly for the banking facility. By c.1909, (1910) this bank again changed names and became the Commercial Bank with J.H. Therrell as President. Other bank officers included; W.M. Palmer, Vice-President, A.H. Richardson, Cashier, and J.H. Barge, Assistant Cashier. The upper floors were maintained as professional office space. Belgium born Dr. Victor La Fosse, M.D. was an early upstairs office occupant. La Fosse came to Ocala as a young man c.1890. Another early tenant, maintaining an office on the second floor, was dentist James Chace. Other tenants occupying the upper floors of the building from the 1920s to the 1940s included an attorney, a dentist, and a several physicians. A Christian Science Reading room was in the building in 1920. In 1930, the Mayor of Ocala maintained an office in the building. The bank remained in the building until the 1940s.

In later years, the First National Bank/Commercial Bank building was commonly identified as the Keystone Building due to its occupation by Keystone Jewelers. Office space was provided on the upper floors of the building for professional use.

This building, of interest for its historic association with the early banking industry in Ocala, has recently undergone inappropriate rehabilitation not consistent with its original architectural integrity. In its current state, it does not appear individually eligible for NRHP listing. Nonetheless, it is located within a contiguous collection of historic downtown Ocala commercial properties, suggesting it would contribute to a historic district.

The two-story Commercial Vernacular Style building at 40 S Magnolia Avenue was constructed c.1886.  It was, at that time, identical to its southern neighbor, 42 S Magnolia Avenue. The two-part commercial facade features three office bays at the second level, accentuated with arched window openings and articulated brick masonry. The brickwork takes the form of pilasters, horizontal banding, keystoned arches, and a parapet centered on its ornamented parapet wall. Wood louvers are currently positioned within the second floor window arches. A contemporary shed roof canopy extends from the second floor window sills to the storefront glass ground floor entry and north door opening leading to the second floor. Field data indicate select windows were replaced and a one-story west room was added c.1985. This building appears to have retained sufficient historic architectural integrity to contribute to a NRHP historic district composed of proximate historic properties.

The 1888 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map indicates that a drug store was located in the building at that time. This would have been the Anti-Monopoly Drug Store, beginning in 1886. The store was established by Mr. Will Koehnie and, by October, 1890, the store was managed by H.C. Groves. The 1893 Brick City Directory indicates that Ed Delouest maintained a drug store in the building by that time. The 1912 Sanborn Map indicates that a drug store still remained in the building. In actuality, the same drug store concern remained in the building into the 1960s.

The building at 48 S Magnolia Avenue was constructed c.1891.   Available data indicate this one-story, brick masonry structure in downtown Ocala underwent a Moderne facade application c.1940. The simple one-part form is composed of a bi-symmetric facade with round, accentuated attic vents centered above each public entrance, and a stucco wall finish with accentuated banding along the parapet. Flush-front storefront glass rests atop stuccoed kick plates along the front (east) elevation. Although this building was extensively altered, the modifications are historic and it has remained essentially unaltered since. Furthermore, the change was consistent with historic architectural trends still evident throughout historic downtown Ocala. Thus, this building would apparently contribute to a NRHP historic district composed of commercial properties in the immediate vicinity.

Limited information regarding historic occupants of this building could be determined due to an inability to cross-reference conflicting street numbers on both Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and historic Ocala City Directories. The 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map does indicate that a barber occupied the building at that time. Attempting to match this information with the 1893 Brick City Directory and Guide to Marion County, indicates that only barber located on S. Magnolia at that time was Serenius Snyder.

According to the 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, a saloon was located in the building at the time. Attempting to match that with the Brick City Directory, published in 1893, would indicates that it was possibly the Palace Saloon.

The Marion Theater is located at 50 S Magnolia Avenue, on the corner of S. Magnolia Avenue and SW Ft. King Street. The Art Moderne Style building has continually maintained its historic character defining features. Its fine materials and detailing is unusual for Ocala. The building's street (east) elevation features smooth, largely stuccoed wall surfaces; rounded forms in both the building and its components; and an interplay of both horizontal and vertical emphases. Other characteristics include a stone veneer pedestrian level wall, historic wooden storefront doors set in a ribbon pattern with portholes, a shed roofed marquis that shelters pedestrians, and a southeast tower supporting the theater's  vertical marquis that projects well above the tower itself. The historic neon signage on each marquis appears to be in excellent condition. The less public elevations on the south, west, and east are constructed of brick. The only apparent exterior alteration is a c.1987 circular brick stair tower centered on the south wall which does not alter the original building block.

The building lot on which the theater was constructed was purchased c.1940 from the by then defunct Ocala National Bank whose interest in the property was taken over by the Florida National Bank. Construction of the theater was commissioned by Florida State Theaters, who owned and operated two other theaters in Ocala, the Ritz and the Dixie. The Marion Theater was specifically designed as a modern air conditioned motion picture theater by Roy A. Benjamin of Jacksonville, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and son of early Ocala resident and prominent merchant and businessman, Simon Benjamin. The younger Benjamin (1888-1964) spent part of his youth in Ocala but moved to Jacksonville with his family in 1902 and began his professional career five years later. Roy Benjamin became one of Florida's most prominent architects, renowned in the area of theater design in the South. He was responsible for the design of over two hundred movie houses. A charter member of the Florida Association of Architects, Benjamin also designed a number of landmark buildings, most notably in Jacksonville.

He was considered one of that city's most prolific and talented architects. His work in Jacksonville included the Kirby-Smith and John Gorrie Junior High School, the Florida Center, Riverside Theaters, the Chamber of Commerce Building, the Jacksonville Jewish Center, the State Board of Health Building, the Elks Club, the Scottish Rite Temple, and the Park Lane Apartments. He is also credited with designing the first skyscraper in Lakeland, a ten-story marble arcade, erected in the 1920s.

S.S. Jacobs Co. of Jacksonville served as the general contractor of the theater. William Needham Co. contracted for the plumbing work and the Ocala Heating and Roofing Co. did the roofing work and other miscellaneous work. Construction was to be of brick and steel. Besides the auditorium space, the interior plan included a spacious lounge, smoking room, and attractively decorated powder room. Plans were modified early on to include a balcony in the auditorium to provide for additional space allowing the seating of 900 patrons. Construction was completed in September of 1941. Original plans called for the building to be set back from Fort King to allow for the construction of stores along the Fort King side of the theater. Parking was to be in the rear of the building. The storefronts on Fort King were never built and eventually this area was paved and used for additional parking. The total cost including construction and equipment was approximately $100,000. The theater was the first air-conditioned building in Marion County.

The theater's grand opening was held on September 11, 1941 with a dedication by Mayor M.C. Izlar. The movie's first showing that evening was Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall in "Aloma of the South Seas" before a full house. The President of Florida State Theaters, Frank Rogers of Jacksonville, was also in attendance. Tickets for evening performances were 39 cents for adults. Tickets for matinees were sold for 33 cents. Lower ticket prices were available for children. Although one of Ocala's earlier theaters, the Dixie, was slated for closure, movie attendance continued to be strong throughout World War II and for several years later. Ocala's two other theaters, the Dixie and the Ritz remained opened into the 1950s and 1960s while the Marion Theater continued in operation until the 1970s.

This building appears significant for both its historic association in the area of entertainment, for its architecture, and as a well-preserved example of the design work of Roy Benjamin, a prominent Florida architect, most notably recognized for designing a number of theaters throughout the south and a considerable number of period buildings in Jacksonville during his lifetime. Given that it is proximate to a number of historic commercial structures in downtown Ocala that have also maintained a fair amount of their historic architectural integrity, it would appear to meet NRHP eligibility criteria and to contribute to a downtown Ocala commercial historic district.

The one-story Commercial Vernacular Style building, located at 112 S Magnolia Avenue was constructed c.1925. Its one-part commercial block brick frame remains essentially identical to its southern neighbor, 114 S Magnolia Avenue. Features that are of note include brick pilasters at either end of the east facing facade, an accentuated coping, a single bay with a contemporary stucco finish, canvas canopy, and commercial storefront glass with concrete block kick plates. Field data indicate the stucco finish and glass storefront were c.1950 modifications. This simple building is located within a collection of contiguous historic structures in downtown Ocala. It appears to have maintained sufficient historic architectural integrity to contribute through its inherent characteristics to a NRHP commercial historic district.

Limited information regarding historic occupants of this building could be determined due to an inability to cross-reference conflicting street numbers on both Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and historic Ocala City Directories. What could be deciphered from the 1935 Ocala City Directory was the first floor storefront space was then occupied by Eddie Miles and S.W. Lipscomb. In 1940, Walter G. Squire Feeds occupied the storefront, according to that year's Ocala City Directory.

114 S Magnolia Avenue is the site of a one-story Commercial Vernacular Style building constructed c.1925.  Its brick masonry, one-part commercial block frame is unmistakably similar to its northern neighbor, 112 S Magnolia Avenue. Character defining details include brick pilasters, a brick parapet, and an accentuated coping. Field data indicate curvilinear glass block storefront walls resting atop masonry kickplates were a c.1950 modification, and the integrated, contemporary fixed glass storefront was a c.1995 application. This small storefront unit is proximate to a collection of downtown Ocala historic commercial properties. Additionally, it has appears to have retained sufficient integrity to contribute to a NRHP historic district.

Limited information regarding historic occupants of this building could be determined due to an inability to cross-reference conflicting street numbers on both Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and historic Ocala City Directories. It could be determined that Reams Electric occupied this first floor store in 1935, according to that year's city directory. They remained in the building at least until 1940s, according to the 1940 Ocala City Directory.

The two-story masonry building at 116 S Magnolia Avenue was built c.1920 as the Terrace Hotel. This example of Commercial Vernacular Style construction has an essentially symmetric, two-part, five-bay facade. The building is essentially rectangular, with the exception of an apparently original one-story northwest room and adjacent one-story, c.1965 southwest room addition. The commercial storefront glass and second floor windows were also apparently replaced about 1965. The building is relatively unadorned, but does have stuccoed masonry banding at the second floor level with a pronounced horizontal emphasis. Available data suggests this building was originally more elaborately ornamented and, furthermore, most original ornament was removed c.1940 in an effort to give the building a contemporary appearance. That practice was common in downtown Ocala, as evidenced in the number of proximate historic buildings that underwent similar alterations about that time. However, unlike most other such buildings, the architectural characteristics applied to this building were not sufficiently well-detailed to be considered Moderne. Nonetheless, this building, of significance as a small early hotel, appears to have retained sufficient historic architectural integrity to contribute to a local NRHP downtown commercial historic district.

Limited information regarding historic occupants of this building could be determined due to an inability to cross-reference conflicting street numbers on both Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and historic Ocala City Directories. It could be determined that the Ocala Radio Service occupied storefront space in 1935, according to that year's city directory. The second floor of this building is believed to have first been the St. George Hotel. By 1930, it was known as the Francis Marion House, offering furnished rooms. By 1935, it had been renamed the Terrace Hotel and remained in business into the 1940s.

The 1911 Ocala National Bank at 1 E Silver Springs Boulevard bears the distinction of being the only Classical Revival Style building within the survey area.  It is one of the city's most impressive and well-preserved historic architectural resources. The building was constructed in 1911 to house the Ocala National Bank which was organized in February, 1911.

The exterior elevations of this rectangular, two-story, Classical Revival Style building are well-maintained and remains essentially unaltered. It has a temple front with a three-bay, recessed entrance and fluted, doric columns set between enframing walls. Other noteworthy character defining features include: a large skylight atop a hip roof, a stone balustrade parapet, entablature and overdoor, arched window openings, and a large copper clock suspended from the building?s southwest corner. The former bank occupies most of the corner lot northeast of E Silver Springs Boulevard and N Magnolia Avenue. It abuts its eastern neighbor. Its non-public north wall is brick masonry. The west elevation displays materials and details similar to the dominant south elevation, including five slightly recessed bays. Available data suggest the large, arched wood windows on flanking the south and west walls were screened with pierced masonry units c.1969, when it was being renovated for use as legal offices. Field data also suggest three original windows centered on the west bay were sealed (date unknown) with a stone similar to the original. This building type and technique was not unusual for the nation?s banking industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, this well detailed and well maintained Classical Revival Style building is unique for downtown Ocala.

Original Ocala National Bank officers included: John L. Edwards, President; Charles S. Cullen, Vice-President;, Henry D. Stokes, Cashier; and H.H. Henderson, Assistant Cashier. Original or early directors of the bank were Dr. J.E. Chance, Charles S. Cullen, John L. Edwards, Henry D. Stokes, Ed L. Warmann, L.K. Edwards, Neil Ferguson, and Robert A.D. McKay. From its beginning, the bank operation achieved a successful record of growth and played an important role in the financial affairs of Ocala and Marion County. The bank's quarters were said to have one of the finest systems of fire and burglar-proof safes and vaults in central Florida. Interior fixtures were of highly polished marble and bronze. Given that the building retains its historic exterior architectural integrity, has significant historical linkages, and is located proximate to a contiguous grouping of historic properties in Ocala?s downtown, it appears to meet NRHP eligibility criteria and would be individually eligible for listing if it were not included as a contributing structure to the proposed National Register historic district.

The Public Square

The site of today's City Park, the Public Square, established on the former site of the 1884 and 1907 Marion County Courthouses, has historically served as the central core of the city of Ocala. It was from this block that the city expanded.

The present park encompasses all of Block 56 of the original 1846 survey of Ocala, which was set aside as the Public Square at that time. The site is bounded by E Silver Springs Boulevard on the north, SE First Avenue on the E, SE Broadway on the south, and S Magnolia Avenue on the west. City Park is now municipally owned and the block or public square continues to function as a center of community events and celebrations as it has for over 100 years. Its location within the historic downtown commercial core continues to draw area residents to the site. The park serves as a meeting place for residents and site for city sponsored functions, area events, and family and group picnics. A 1987 wood frame gazebo, an apparent second reconstruction of an original c.1888 bandstand is located in the park, presently near the original structure's present location. A bandstand, in that approximate location, existed in 1888 but appears to have been demolished or moved by 1906. A reconstruction appeared by 1912.  By 1930, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map indicates that it is again no longer present. A number of majestic oaks and palm trees are located in the park. A contemporary World War II memorial is located in the north central section of the park. The large oak canopies and regularly-placed benches provide a cool respite for town residents.

Over the years, the Public Square was and continues to be the site of most major city celebrations. Dances, barbecues, Easter egg hunts, youth parties, and many other local recreational activities are held at the site. Its location at center of the historic downtown core, continues to draw area residents to the site. The park has continually served as a meeting place for residents, and a site for city sponsored functions, and area events although there are currently no historic structures on the site.