Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Field Trip: St. Petersburg, FL

In October, a wrecking crew demolished the former Pheil Hotel (410-424 Central Avenue, 1916-23). Built by an early St. Petersburg mayor and his heirs,  the eleven-story building became a bank when First National acquired it circa 1959. During the 1960s, architects attached an aluminum brise soleil to unify it with an adjacent property, the former Central National Bank (400-406 Central Avenue, 1911-12).

Attempts to save the two structures failed in early 2016.  Read St. Petersburg Preservation, Inc.'s synopsis here.

Image above: 410-424 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida, as photographed 10.26.2016 by K. Rylance.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Goblet Tanks (1917)

100 years ago, the Roger W. Hunt & Company Employees' Bulletin reported on the use of reinforced concrete in the design of water tanks along the Gulf Coast. Featuring an image of the tallest tank, located at Bay Minette, Alabama, the Bulletin drew its report from Modern Building. Measuring 80 feet from ground to tank bottom, the supporting form emulated the stem of a drinking goblet. Tested by a June 29 hurricane, the Bay Minette goblet tower quickly became an engineering marvel. Wealthy coastal property owners sought information from Leonard Henderson White (1882-1962), an engineer who developed the method for his Concrete Steel Construction Company of Birmingham, Alabama.

Some Miami patrons despaired at the goblet tank's austerity, and hired prominent architects to modify White's method with neoclassical ornamentation. August Geiger (1887-1968) developed a 100,000 gallon tank at Alton Beach and Harold Hastings Mundy (1878-1932) utilized reinforced concrete on a combined tank and observatory for the John H. Eastwood Estate.

Dothan, Alabama's Dixie Standpipe (1897) was added to the National Register this month.

Image above:  "Interesting Things in Print." Employees' Bulletin [Roger W. Hunt & Company]. 4:3 (January 1917): p. 12.