Monday, November 24, 2014

Monticello, Florida

We have had warmer weather, but now heavy rainfall has plagued us.  On Saturday we drove to Monticello, which is only about five miles from where we are parked.  The town has 600 buildings built before 1930. It has been declared "the most haunted small town in America" by ABC news.  The Big Bend Trackers, a group of people that document paranormal activity throughout northern Florida, claim that this area has more "activity" than other haunted cities.  The Ghost Trackers claim that they have filmed Mr.Perkins dancing on the steps of the Opera House.  He was the man who built the theater pictured below in 1890.
The first floor of the building originally had a general store and sewing machine shop, as well as a hardware and farm equipment supply store.  The second floor had an Opera House which boasted of  very good acoustics and the largest stage in the region.  Shortly after the turn of the century the railroads were rerouted, bypassing Monticello.  Perkins then discontinued live performances and the theater was closed until 1973 when a group of citizens organized to restore the opera house.  We returned there Sunday to hear the Flamingos, a singing group who began recording in the late 1950s.  Maybe you remember Terry Johnson who composed the new arrangement for "I Only Have Eyes for You"- he was one of the trio singing for the Sunday's performance.  They may be old, but their singing is still good!  Other of their songs are "Begin the Beguine"  and "When I Fall in Love".  We also returned to the town Sunday for services at Christ Episcopal.
The church,  built in 1885 in a classic Revival style, is not the usual style of Episcopal architecture of that era.  The service on Sunday was quite inspirational with musical accompaniment by violin, cello, and trumpet- besides organ.  After the service we attended a luncheon provided by the church and listened to a discussion related to their work in a Cuban village of providing water filtration systems.
Sorry, I have wandered off the topic of old homes in Monticello  Pictured above is a house built in 1890 by J.Girardeau.  He developed the LeConte pear and paper shell pecan.   Also, according to our tour book,  the house is in the Colonial Revival style with Queen Anne influence.  The Queen Anne style has a full length porch, as well as multiple gables and dormers.  The original owner of this home planted a row of oaks along Dogwood road which runs in front of the house.  Dogwood trees have red leaves in the fall, which may explain what the red tree is in the picture below.  It certainly stands out among the live oaks!

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