Historic Markers Across Florida



Architecture



Marker ID:  
Location: on Charles Ave at Plaza St., Miami, FL
County: Miami-Dade
Coordinates: N 25° 43.529    W 080° 15.072
  25.72548333    -80.2512
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXMC7
 



Text:

Architecture


Side 1:
A distinctive type of vernacular architecture found in Key West and South Florida is the Bahamian or Conch house. The name "Conch" was attached to Bahamians who worked as wreckers, ship builders, spongers, and merchants. The name is derived from the spiral shaped sea mollusk that made up part of the Bahamian diet. As the Bahamians migrated to Key West and then to South Florida they brought with them many facets of their culture. The homes they constructed in Key West were much like the homes they had left in the Bahamas. Constructed to withstand flooding and high winds, they were elevated off the ground on wood posts or stone piers. A post and beam structural system was used. It was crossbraced for reinforcement with mortise and tenon joints pegged together. Normally, the houses were two stories with balustraded porches across the front or around two or three sides on the first and second stories. Gingerbread decoration, gable roofs and shutters on the windows and doors are characteristic of this building type. The Bahamians who settled in Coconut Grove were inspired by the Conch vernacular architecture found in Key West. Instead of a post and beam structural system, they used a simpler balloon frame construction method. The gingerbread decorations were eliminated for economic reasons. The exterior was faced with horizontal weatherboard siding and basically left unadorned.

Side 2:
Another type of architect found in the African American settlement of Coconut Grove was commonly called the "shotgun" house. This building type was so named because of the linear arrangement in the interior spaces. Popularly, it was said that one could stand at the front door, fire a shotgun, and the bullet would go out the back door without touching any part of the house. This type of construction can be traced to the West Indies and Africa. A common building style found in the Bahamas and Key West, it also became popular with freedman throughout the American South following the Civil War. These homes were small and narrow, one room wide, with a steeply pitched gable roof and a full-width front porch, which also was a gabled roofed. Usually, they were built in rows on very small lots. Inside, they were three rooms deep, arranged one after the other.

Coconut Grove Cemetery Association