Thanks to the generosity of a Winter Park resident that supports historic preservation, the Friends of Casa Feliz held a Celebration on May 11th to honor the owners of historic homes that are listed on the City’s Historic Home Registry. About seventy-five people attended the event. They were welcomed by Board Chair Drew Krecicki, who recognized three people for their contributions to historic preservation: well known and respected contractors Frank Roark and Lyn Gilbert who have worked on many historic homes in Winter Park, and Terry Lelonde, owner of Decorative Home Interiors and a new sponsor for Casa Feliz. Drew acknowledged the outstanding job done by Arthur’s Catering and also introduced City Architect Brooks Weiss, who explained the process of registering homes on the Historic Home Registry.
In addition to honoring residents who made the commitment to preserve Winter Park’s architectural treasures one house at a time, the celebration raised awareness of the positive aspects of the Registry. One of the most pervasive myths The Friends of Casa Feliz hoped to dispel through the Celebration is that houses on the registry cannot undergo any changes without approval from the City’s Historic Preservation Board (HPB). While significant changes to a historic home’s exterior need to be reviewed by the HPB to ensure that the historic integrity of the home is preserved, there are flexible parameters guiding HPB’s decisions regarding acceptable changes to a home’s exterior. The board does not review changes that are made to a home’s interior space.
The event highlighted a number of homes on the Registry that underwent extensive renovation by showcasing the types of transformation that still adhere to the guidelines. Posters featuring photographs of homes on the Registry were created including several with before and after images that showed the range of acceptable modifications to historic homes. These posters will be on display in the 2nd floor gallery at Casa Feliz throughout the month of May, Historic Preservation Month.
Attendees of the Celebration included longtime resident Ann Saurman who lives in her childhood home that is now also on the National Register of Historic Places, Wade and Hannah Miller, a third generation Winter Parker, who recently renovated an historic home, Michael Spencer whose restored home won a 2013 award from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and new residents, Michael and Peta Murphy, who relocated from London and recently purchased a home that was already listed on the Registry. To create more awareness of homes on the Winter Park Registry, yard signs were distributed for homeowners to proudly display in their front yards.
Thank you to all of the residents who made made the commitment to register their homes. Preserving rich architectural gems like the Comstock-Harris House, which is on the Local and National Registers, ensures that the legacy of our city founders is not forgotten. Nothing makes history come alive like seeing a historic home up close or visiting neighborhood that has changed little from its inception.
If you think your home is eligible to be on the Registry, and you would like to learn more about adding your house to the list, please contact Brook Weiss, Winter Park City Architect. You can reach him at:
The city’s Historic Preservation website is:
Homeowner party photos by Phil Eschbach
Historic home photos by Rick Kilby