Thursday, July 21, 2011

Florida History: Fort Lauderdale's 1920s architect, Francis Abreu

A 1920s-era Abreu-designed home, now Casablanca Cafe

For more Florida history, visit my history blog:

By Jane Feehan

While Palm Beach and Boca Raton bear the imprint of Addison Mizner’s distinctive style, Fort Lauderdale can also claim the influence of one architect during the 1920s land boom.
Francis Luis Abreu (1896-1969), son of Cuban sugar plantation owners Diego and Marie Abreu, moved to Fort Lauderdale (where they resided) after graduating from Cornell University. Early in his career, Abreu designed a winter home for his grandfather, Juan Jacinto Jova (today the Casablanca Cafe) and moved on to other buildings. His work featured barrel tile roofs, twisted columns, arched walk-ways, antique lanterns, iron gates and heavy dark wooden doors.

His Fort Lauderdale architecture includes:
The Moroccan-style Casablanca Café at 3049 Alhambra St., Fort Lauderdale beach, a 1920s era home converted to a restaurant
Casino Swimming Pool, 1928
Las Olas Sailboat Bend Fire Station
Dania Beach Hotel, 1925
Needham House, 1925
The Saint Anthony School at 820 NE. 3rd St.,Ft. Lauderdale, 1926, which is on the National Register of Historic Places
The Fort Lauderdale County Club, 1926
Old Post Office at 330 SW 2nd Street, 1927
Riverside Hotel, 720 E. Las Olas Blvd., 1936 (today, the city's oldest hotel, it opened as the Champ Carr Hotel )
Probably designed the Mediterranean Revival Croissant Park Administration Building
Towers Apartments, 824 SE 2nd St. (once largest apartment building, now a retirement home and awarded Broward County historic designation in 2015)

Abreu moved to Georgia where he formed a partnership with James Robeson (Abreu and Robeson) and gained recognition for designing the Cloister Hotel on Sea Island, a home for playwright Eugene O’Neal, also on Sea Island, and a number of public buildings.Copyright © 2011 All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

For more on 1920s Fort Lauderdale homes, see:
  McIver, Stuart. Glimpses of South Florida History. Miami: Florida Flair Books, 1988. 
Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, Fort Lauderdale architecture, Florida history, Francis L Abreu

1 comment:

Jim van meerten said...

Always great memories