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

Summary of Present and Original Appearance

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The Tuscawilla Park Historic District, located in Ocala, Florida is composed of buildings reflecting a variety of uses, styles, materials, and two principal periods of historic development. The district consists primarily of one and two-story detached masonry frame residential buildings, together with a former synagogue, a former women's club, and a park. Its concentrated physical development began about 1880 with the platting of Caldwell's Addition to the City of Ocala. Contributing buildings in the district date from c. 1885 to approximately 1930. They generally are of a frame vernacular design, but among them are fine examples of a number of late nineteenth and early twentieth century styles, including the Queen Anne, the Colonial Revival, and the Bungalow. While the district has lost some of its integrity due to poor 46maintenance, destruction and alteration, it retains to a remarkable degree the physical characteristics and the concentration of buildings, which convey its historic period of development.

The proposed historic district is located in Ocala, an incorporated city with a population of 60,000. It is situated only a few blocks northeast of Ocala's downtown governmental and commercial center. It was one of the City's earliest suburbs and retains a residential character nearly a century after development began. Two major transportation arteries, NE Eighth Avenue and Silver Springs Boulevard, run through the area north and south and east and west respectively. The transition from the downtown business district to the historic district is abrupt. Tall, massive governmental and commercial buildings create the city's silhouette to the west. To its northeast few buildings rise above two stories, and except for those along the transportation arteries, they consist mainly of turn-of-the-century residences well hidden under the generous canopies of abundant trees.

The boundaries of the district are irregular. They are Silver Springs Boulevard on the south; Tuscawilla and Watula Avenues on the west; Tuscawilla Park and NE 3rd Street on the north; and NE 8th Avenue on the east.

The district features a series of gently undulating hills. Trees, shrubs, and plants lend considerable distinction. Oaks predominate, and they are generally found to the side or rear of buildings, seldom in front of them and only rarely lining a street. Streets are illuminated by modern overhanging fixtures attached to wooden electric poles. Electric wires, telephone lines, and television cable lines provide visual intrusions.

The district occupies the northern portion of a historic land division, known as the Alvarez Land Grant. The Alvarez Grant and most of the remaining area to the north were used as plantations prior to and upon conclusion of the Second Seminole War. The most prominent of these were the Humphreys, Caldwell, and Howse Plantations. The Alvarez Grant, conceded to Antonio Alvarez in 1817, was subdivided during the early 1880s to form Caldwell's Addition, the first major subdivision on the east side of Ocala.

Bird's-eye view maps from the 1880s and 1890s show that most of the area, particularly that north of the Caldwell subdivision, was planted in citrus grove. Until the discovery of phosphate, citrus was the major industry of Ocala. Only a few roads had been cut at that time. They included Ocklawaha (Silver Springs Boulevard), NE 2nd Street, and NE 8th Avenue, also known as the Anthony Road.

Growth was naturally centered along the major roads. A number of Queen Anne style and other late nineteenth century buildings appear on the early Sanborn Maps of the area. All of these except two along Silver Springs Boulevard and one along NE 8th Avenue have been razed. The areas where the highest concentration of high style buildings were located, Silver Springs Boulevard and NE 8th Avenue, are those that have been most radically altered and subjected to road widening and strip development.

With the exception of Tuscawilla Park, the district is essentially limited to the northwest portion of Caldwell's Addition. Caldwell's Addition is haphazardly laid out with blocks being called lots and lots being divided on the basis of a metes and bounds system without the benefit of an alpha or numeric system of organization and without uniform dimensions.

The setback of buildings is usually shallow, some of them placed as close as ten feet from the front sidewalk in the residential blocks. Vacant lots are found throughout the area, the result of demolition or a lack of development. Numerous historic buildings have been removed along NE 8th Avenue and Silver Springs Boulevard, and many of them have been replaced by commercial buildings dating from the post-World War II period.

The district is residential in character, excepting the two commercial arteries. The integrity and quality of the buildings in the district has suffered with the flight of affluent residents and the increase in absentee landlords.

The district includes 34 buildings approximately fifty years old or older. Of that number, virtually all were originally single-family, private residences, although many have since been converted to multi- family or commercial usage. The great majority of them are of wood frame construction. They constitute about 71 percent of the buildings in the district. Only a relative few, mainly those constructed after World War I, are of masonry construction. An additional 17 buildings are non-contributing. They post-date the period of significance and are primarily contemporary masonry, commercial buildings.

The origins of the district area reside in the nineteenth century. Many additional buildings were, of course, constructed during the late 1800s, but they were destroyed in recent decades. As the cost of their upkeep became prohibitive they fell into disrepair, or they became victims of commercial development, particularly along Silver Springs Boulevard.

The extant buildings in the district date from around 1880. Their size and design are generally very human in scale, reflecting the residential character of the area. They range in height from one to two and one-half stories. They are moderately set back from the street with modest front and back yards. They embody a number of architectural styles dating from the 1880's to the 1920's. During the aforementioned period the area was an exclusively residential neighborhood. It has since become a mixed-use area due to commercial intrusion along Northeast 8th Avenue and Silver Springs Boulevard, two of the major transportation arteries in Ocala. The historic buildings in the area contribute much to the understanding of the growth and development of the town of Ocala during the several decades before and after 1900.

Additional properties in the district include several structures and sites. The structures are the brick pillars marking the entrance to Tuscawilla Park. The pillars were dedicated in 1921 by the Ocala Woman's Club as a memorial to the men and women of Marion County who served in World War I. The principal site in the district is Tuscawilla Park.

The park covers ten acres and played an important role in the development of the area. Its centerpiece is a natural spring, known originally as Howse Spring after Captain Edmund Howse who owned a plantation in the area. It was purchased by the Ocala City Council in 1916 and improved principally through the efforts of the Ocala Woman's Club. The club arranged for the construction of a sixty-foot driveway into the park, known as "Victory Way," and planted water oaks and magnolias down the center. At the northern end of the driveway, where it broadened and made a circle, the Women's Club also planted trees. At the spring itself was the Elizabeth Maughs Grotto, dedicated to one of the principal promoters of the Tuscawilla Park improvements. Between the magnolias its members planted red hibiscus and between the oaks red oleander, with palms and crape myrtle in the circle. Other varieties of flowers, shrubs, and trees planted in the park included a South American orchid tree, the Judas dogwood, poinsettia, poincianas, trailing lantanas, and ferns. Other improvements to the park included swings, a juggling board, benches, a pergola and grandstand upon it, and tennis courts. The park presently serves as a break between the industrial section of north Ocala and the remaining survey area. With the exception of the Grotto, the historic landscape design has largely been destroyed.

The buildings in the district cover four blocks. The density of development in this area is a reflection of two primary periods of growth: the 1880s and 1890s, when Ocala boomed as a result of the prosperity of the phosphate, citrus, and tourist industries, and the 1920s when the Florida Boom occurred. Many buildings from the latter period infilled vacant lots remaining from the previous period of development.

Frame vernacular is the dominate architectural style in the district during the pre-1900 period and during the three subsequent decades as well. Frame vernacular is defined as the common wood frame construction technique of lay or self-taught builders. This type of construction is the product of the builder's experience, available resources, and responses to the local environment. It exists generally apart from popular architectural trends occurring beyond the locale in which it is practiced and is not based on formal, academic, or technical training. If any of the frame vernacular buildings can be said to have been influenced by formal architectural styles, the styles would be Colonial Revival and Queen Anne. However, many of them were the homes of the first settlers, whose primary concern was utility and whose residences are best described as frame vernacular. 207 NE Sanchez AvenueFrame Vernacular StyleBuilt circa 1905

Based on field inspection and data analysis, frame vernacular buildings dating from the pre-1900 period are generally two stories in height, with a balloon frame structural system constructed of pine, and a foundation of masonry piers, most often made of brick. They have a regular plan, usually rectangular, but often "L" plans were used to maximize cross ventilation. They have an interior plan containing two rooms (hall and parlor), two or four rooms divided by a central hall, or two rooms with a stairhall to the side. They have gable or hip roofs steep enough to accommodate an attic. Horizontal weatherboard or drop siding are the most widely used exterior wall surface materials. Wood shingles were used originally as a roof surfacing material, but they have nearly always been replaced by composition shingles in a variety of shapes and colors. The facade is often placed on the gable end, making the height of the facade greater than its width. Porches are also a common feature of the late nineteenth century frame vernacular in Ocala. They include one and two-story end porches or verandas. Fenestration is regular but not always symmetrical. Windows are of double hung sash and doors of paneled wood. Decoration is sparse. It is generally limited to ornamental woodwork, including a variety of patterned shingles, turned porch columns and balustrade, and ornamental eave and porch brackets. A good example of a typical frame vernacular building from the late nineteenth century is the Foy-Talley House, now Foxfire Realty, at 615 Silver Springs Boulevard.

Trends in American architecture are mirrored in the Tuscawilla Park District. Around 1900 a new period of American architecture began. After 1900 American architecture generally became more conservative and traditional. Popular styles such as the Neoclassical and Colonial Revival began replacing the Queen Anne and other eclectic and exotic styles of the Victorian Period. Residential buildings were generally reduced in height and became more horizontal than vertical, their design influenced in many instances by the Prairie School architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. During the period 1900-1920 the primary architectural style of buildings in Ocala appears to have remained frame vernacular. The architectural trends of the Victorian Period were largely abandoned. No new influence filled the void, although the Colonial Revival appears to have achieved some popularity. While generalizations are difficult, it appears the residential architecture of Ocala became less massive, simpler in plan, with end or facade porches, usually replacing the more complex veranda or galleried porch of the previous period, and with little or no decoration.

The year 1920 marks the beginning of another era of American architecture. The United States had returned to a period of normality following the disruptive years of World Way I. Another distinct period of economic development ensued and with it new trends in architecture. During the 1920s the United States experienced a period of intense growth. Florida, in particular, grew as never before. During the period known as the Florida Boom, the state experienced unprecedented real estate development. The Spanish and Mission Revival styles were most closely associated with the Boom, but perhaps even more popular were bungalows. Originating in California, the bungalow was given extensive publicity in such magazines as The Western Architect, The Architect, House Beautiful, and other popular magazines, thus familiarizing the rest of the nation with the style. As a result, a flood of pattern books appeared, offering plans for bungalows. The bungalow quickly became the most popular and fashionable smaller house in Ocala.

During the 1920s frame vernacular remained an important influence on the architecture of the survey area. Its design reflected a continued trend toward simplicity. Residences influenced by it appear to have been smaller than those of previous decades, usually measuring only one story in height. The decrease in size of private residences is largely a reflection of the reduction in number of the American family. Another influence on the residential design of the period was the automobile, which resulted in the addition of garages and carports. While Spanish and Mediterranean influences can be found among examples of local architecture, the bungalow became the major stylistic model of the 1920s in Ocala. Not only was it present in its pure form, but it was a major influence on the vernacular architecture of the time.

The bungalow style building is the most numerous of the "pure" style buildings found in the district. : There are buildings classified as bungalow and frame vernacular buildings that exl1ibit the influence of the bungalow style. The latter buildings possess such details as oversized structural elements, contrasting building materials, accentuation of horizontal design, and other traits associated with the bungalow, but their overall design and individual features do not collectively embody the bungalow style.

The bungalow was derived from the Bengali bangla, a low house with porches, used as a wayside shelter by British travelers in India during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was what one such traveler remarked, "a purely utilitarian contrivance developed under hard and limited conditions". In addition to major features of encircling porches and utilitarian construction, a marked attempt at the low profile, with ventilation by means of bands of windows and axial door placement were items upon which considerable attention was focused because of the hot climate. When similar locales were chosen as building sites in the United States (notably California and Florida), these features became underscored as the characteristics of the new style.

While the origin of the word "bungalow" and some of its design features were Bengalese, many of its details were of Japanese inspiration. Japanese construction techniques had been exhibited at the Centennial Exposition, the Columbia Exposition, and the California Mid-Winter Exposition of 1894. Several of these techniques, particularly the extensive display of structural members and the interplay of angles and planes, became integral parts of bungalow design.

The earliest American buildings which were consciously bungalows appeared in the 1890s. For the most part these were either seasonal homes on the New England coast or year-round homes in California. They were usually large residences designed by architects. By the turn of the century, however, the building market was flooded by catalogs of plans of inexpensive bungalows. At about the same time the Bungalow Magazine and The Craftsman appeared. Both featured series of house plans available for purchase and articles about economical use of space, modern kitchens, interior decoration and landscaping. Houses in these magazines were duplicated throughout the United States and reinforced the humbler aspects of the bungalow. In large measure the earlier grand designs were eclipsed by the smaller versions. It was this small, inexpensive bungalow which appeared in Ocala and the Tuscawilla Park Historic District. 215 NE Sanchez AvenueBungalowBuilt circa 1930

The true bungalow is a small single story house. Although the roof space may be made usable by a dormer or gable windows, anything approaching a full second story disqualifies it from the stylistic definition recognized by builders and owners of that type of dwelling. The adjective "bungaloid" is sometimes applied to residences that incorporate features of the bungalow but possess a full second story. The bungalow came in various shapes and forms, but small size, simplicity and a need for economy generally characterized the style. The most representative type would be the Western Stick Style, presenting two broad gables to the street, the gable of a porch veranda in front repeated by that of the main body of the house behind it. The bungalows in Ocala are one to one-and-a-half story buildings, generally of frame construction. The plan of such buildings is almost universally rectangular with their narrow side facing the street.

The bungalows in the district invariably present a gently sloping gable roof over the main body and porch of the building. Both gables face the street, giving a gable-over-gable emphasis to the facade. The gable ends are treated variously with natural or stained wood shingles, board and batten siding, half- timbering over stucco, or large lattice roof vents. The style emphasizes horizontal massing that is accentuated in the details of the building. Short, over-sized, tapered, and squared columns rest atop heavy brick piers extending through the balustrade. Occasionally, the piers are monumental, battered and extend to their full height without employing columns. Porch piers are constructed of various materials, including brick, rusticated concrete block, stucco, and wood shingle.

Ornamentation of the bungalow is generally massive, plain, and without intricacy. Such ornamentation is created through the addition of over-sized structural elements, such as wood knee braces. Rafter ends are usually exposed and often cut in decorative patterns in an attempt to use structural elements for ornamental purposes. Chimneys are often placed on the exterior and made a part of the building's composition. Windows typically reveal diversity and individuality. Sash windows often employ the combination of a lower single large light and three or more upper lights.

The Colonial Revival style, which became popular around the turn of the century, is found in the district in its "pure" form and in its influence upon vernacular buildings. While only a few buildings are classified as pure examples of the style, others exhibit elements of the Colonial Revival. The Colonial Revival Style traces its roots to the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where many of the exhibit buildings sought to interpret historically significant colonial structures. The colonial homes were rich in elements borrowed from Greek and Roman traditions, including symmetrical facades and floor plans and sensitive proportions. Known as "Georgian, Federal, Adam or Jefferson," the various styles that appeared between the end of the American Revolution and 1820 typically incorporated classical columns, prominent porticoes, molded geometric patterns in low relief, rectangular windows with small panes of glass, and semi-elliptical fanlights over the front door. Such features were easily imitated a century later with the introduction of new technology and materials. 714 NE 2nd StreetColonial RevivalBuilt circa 1910

The Colonial Revival style buildings in the Tuscawilla-Wyomina area are generally two to two-and- one-half stories in height. Most are symmetrically massed and generally exhibit a tall hip roof that often incorporates a symmetrically placed hip dormer, as well as a wide, one-story veranda that occasionally wraps around two sides of the building. Decorative elements include columns of all types on the porches. Wood balustrades are found, along with detailed eves with detail moldings and modillions.

The entrances to Colonial Revival buildings are often highlighted by transoms and sidelights. Such windows may present single lights or leaded glass. Windows in the building are generally double hung sash and range from 1/1 to 3/1 to decorative lozenge upper sash over one. Exterior fabrics include brick, wood weatherboard, drop siding, novelty siding, and shingles. Good examples of the style are found along the 100 block of NE Sanchez and the 700 block of NE 2nd Street.

Probably the most recognizable style commonly found in the district is the Queen Anne. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and historic photographs document the existence of numerous Queen Anne style homes along Silver Springs Boulevard, once one of Ocala's most attractive street vistas. Unfortunately, most of these buildings have been razed and replaced by franchise commercial architecture. 23 NE Sanchez AvenueQueen AnneBuilt circa 1885

While the Queen Anne Style developed in England, like the Colonial Revival Style, it became popular in the United States following its introduction at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. The buildings constructed by the British at the Exposition were well received by the American people and widely publicized in illustrations and press reports. American architects soon began to employ the style, which reached the zenith of its popularity in the 1880s and 1890s.

Queen Anne style architecture is essentially limited to residential design. Most Queen Annes are frame construction with an exterior fabric of weatherboard or drop siding. The Queen Anne makes extensive use of verandas that often extend the width of the front facade and sometimes wrap around a second side of the building. Irregular massing is a hallmark of the style, as is generous use of wood trim. Roof types include gable, intersecting and cross gable, hip, pyramid, and cone. Roofs often include prominent features like dormers, tall brick chimneys, and metal ridge cresting. The windows of the Queen Anne residence are generally placed in irregular fashion and employ a variety of forms and material. Although double hung sash windows are prevalent, there are many different light configurations, particularly in the upper sashes. Other window forms used are the casement, bay, oriel, and fixed sash. Other materials found in windows include beveled, leaded, art, and stained glass. Asymmetrically placed entrances often exhibited sidelights or transoms.

The porches of the Queen Anne house display a variety of detailing. Columns are every type: round, square, fluted, unfluted, battered, doric, composite, and so forth. Decorative wood trim includes turned and scroll sawn balustrades, friezes, and brackets. A fine example of the style can still be found in the district at 725 Silver Springs Boulevard, now Peter Dinklels Restaurant.

Several buildings in the district embody the Carpenter Gothic style. The Carpenter Gothic was popularized in the United States through the writings and plan books of Andrew Jackson Downing, Alexander Jackson Davis, and Richard Upjohn, which were published during the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. The identifying characteristic of the style is the extensive use of sawn wood ornamentation on vergeboards and the eves of roofs. According to architectural historian William Pierson: "the complex lace of the Gothic cottage represents the first instance in this country in which technology, in the form of a power-driven tool, had a major effect on the visual character of the American house." Other identifying features are steeply pitched roofs, usually with steep cross gables; windows extended into gables, frequently having a pointed-arch shape; and sometimes a flat castellated parapet.

The Gothic was also frequently associated with ecclesiastical architecture, a carryover from the Middle Ages when it was the stylistic model for churches. The former Jewish synagogue at 729 NE 2nd Street is a typical representation of the Carpenter Gothic style as applied to ecclesiastical architecture. It is characterized by elaborate Gothic motifs produced by artisans working with wood. A typical example, however, has considerable more wood trim than the former synagogue. In the late nineteenth century a large number of Carpenter Gothic Episcopal churches were constructed in towns along the St. Johns River. The synagogue is noteworthy for its steeply pitched gable roof and its decorative truss work within the gable.

A good example of a Neoclassical style building is located at 111 NE Tuscawilla Avenue. Neoclassical styling is expressed in its low-pitched hip roof with a prominent hip dormer. The main roof extends over a veranda porch, which wraps around the entire east facade and one half of the south side. It has a simple entablature supported by wooden Doric columns. The Neoclassical style is an adaptation of the classic Greek temple front, employing details of either the Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian order. The columns support a full entablature and low pitch pediment. Many houses are built without the colossal temple front. The one story Neoclassical cottage, a common subtype, usually has hipped roofs with prominent central dormers. The colonnaded porch may be either partial, or as in the case of 111 NE Tuscawilla Avenue, full length and may be included under the main roof or have a separate flat or shed roof.

An example of a rare type of building style in Florida, the Second Empire, is embodied by 119 NE Sanchez Avenue. The Second Empire style was French in origin, taking its name from the Second Empire of Louis Napoleon. It was popularized by the construction of the New Louvre in Paris in the 1850s. The hallmark of the style is the Mansard roof, which is double-pitched and four-sided, with dormers projecting from the lower, steeply-pitched section. In the United States there are early examples of the style which date from just before the Civil War, but it was most widely used during the building boom that followed the conclusion of the war. As a result, it is often called the "General Grant Style," referring to his term as president from 1869-1877. In Ocala, 119 NE Sanchez is the only example of the style. It has, in reality, an eclectic design incorporating elements of the Carpenter Gothic and Italianate architectural styles.

Beginning around World War I, the Spanish Revival, the Spanish Colonial Revival, the Mission, and other styles and stylistic influences originating in Spain and the Mediterranean area became a major influence on Florida architecture. The Spanish Colonial Revival Style had gained public attention at several expositions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The California Buildings at the World Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and the Electric Tower at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1900 introduced what later became the Spanish Colonial Revival. Both had been preceded, however, by the Hotel Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine, which was completed in 1887 under the direction of the firm of Carrere and Hastings. The Hotel Ponce de Leon was the first appearance in Florida of anything resembling Spanish architecture. The prototype of the Mediterranean influenced style in Florida was Villa Vizcaya, built in Miami from 1914-1916 for Chicago industrialist James Deering, whose family had formerly wintered in St. Augustine. Vizcaya was actually composed of Italian Renaissance motifs. Overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami, it was designed to embody features borrowed from the Villa D'Este at Tivoli and the Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola. Later architects in Florida were far less literal in their interpretations than designers of the exposition buildings or Vizcaya; elements of Spanish, Italian, and Moorish derivation frequently were used together in a single composition.

Distinguishing features of the Spanish Colonial Revival include clay tile roofs, a stucco finish (smooth, textured, or shell dash), and the use of an arch motif on windows, doors, and porches. Casements and fanlight windows are common, along with double hung sash. Ornamental ironwork is sometimes used for window grilles and balconets. Exterior colors were most often white, yellow-brown, and rose. Several buildings in the district exhibit influences of the Spanish Colonial style. The use of buildings has changed substantially since the 1920s. The district remains overwhelming residential, although commercial intrusions have crept in during the last twenty years. Originally, nearly all of the historic buildings were designed for residential use. Now all those along Silver Springs Boulevard have been converted to commercial use. A number of buildings have been converted from single family residences to duplexes and other multifamily use.

Adaptive use is the key word when talking about rehabilitation efforts in the district. The buildings which have been maintained and improved are those that have been converted to commercial use. The process of converting residential buildings to commercial use has had mixed blessings from the view point of historic preservation. While many buildings, particularly along Silver Springs Boulevard, have been spared the wrecking ball, their architectural integrity has been compromised and in some instances destroyed.

The contributing buildings in the district are mainly residences, but a church, formerly a synagogue, and the Ocala Woman's Club number among them. They meet the fifty-year rule established by the U.S. Department of the Interior for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places. Many of them date from the nineteenth century, when Ocala was one of Florida's more important communities. The remaining buildings date from the twentieth century.

The two predominant architectural styles in the district are frame vernacular and bungalow. The frame vernacular is by far the most numerous, although the bungalow style accounts for a good portion of the buildings. There are also several good representative buildings embodying the Carpenter Gothic, Colonial Revival, and Queen Anne styles.

There are few high style buildings and even fewer exhibiting the ornateness often associated with the resort architecture found in St. Augustine and other cities along the Florida coast. The buildings are mainly simple residences with a balloon frame structural system, drop or weatherboard exterior fabric, and a hip or gable roof.