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USF Libraries Exhibits

Home Building

[Restored Ybor City cigar maker's house, south facade, 9th Avenue at 19th Street, Tampa, Fla.]

Restored Ybor City cigar maker's house, 2010.

Chinsegut Hill Manor is located in Brooksville, Florida, and it sits on one of the highest points of elevation in Florida. The initial owners were Raymond and Margaret Robins. Known for its vernacular style, the main frame is constructed of heart-of-pine wood, and there is a veranda wrapping around the house. Its tall windows and doors ensure good air circulation. On the second floor is a long, narrow, glass-fronted cabinet that was part of a piece of furniture from Margaret Robins' childhood home. A grape motif is pressed into the wooden mold trimmings.

During the pioneering period in the 1800s, shotgun houses were popular. These shacks were dispersed across Ybor City, Key West, Barberville, and Jacksonville. The architecture is thought to have been influenced by small houses in Africa and Haiti. These shacks were initially built for workers near manufacturers and railroads. Each house included bedrooms, a kitchen and a porch which had connecting doors. It was said that you could fire a shotgun from the back of the house to the front due to the alignment of the rooms. The toilet was outside the house and the bath was usually within an interior room. The infrastructure was mainly made of wooden walls and ceilings. The roofs were usually flat and there was a back and front step. The ceilings were high for cooling purposes. The rooms were attached with doors, causing cross-ventilation in each room.


Bungalow, 1925/01.

The 1920s were the beginning of a "land boom" where many tourists and residents started pouring in. Many of the incoming visitors and residents brought wealth and success to Florida. Florida borrowed a considerable amount of money to improve transportation and architecture, and maintain its flourishing environment. Florida began to develop into a land for tourism and attracted family vacationers as well as retirees. The state started building to accommodate these people.  Home-building also began to increase across the state. Beach Park in Tampa became a residential community close to the urban center.

Looking from house into porch with wicker chairs and table, floor lamp, bird on hanging perch.

Wicker chairs over look the porch's view from an inside view, [circa 1920s?].

Tropical-home building after World War II began to increase; but, the environment posed challenges when it came to building. Insects, intense sun, humidity and rain caused difficulties. As such, South Florida architects built raised floors, hanging eaves, cross ventilations, and porches or patios. Although "glass houses" were thought to be modern, the "new modern homes" came to be made of stone or wood work, with sloped roofs and courtyards. During the 1950s, air conditioning was integrated into homes. This era marked the technological mastery of comfort, openness to outdoors, and natural breezes.



Bungalows, 1925/02.

Florida housing plans during the 21st century are typically ranch or 1 and 1/2 story floor plans and are usually fi nished in stucco. Stucco is used to cover cement or cracks in walls. The houses are almost always built without basements and made of concrete blocks. Florida house plans present open, dramatic floor plans with high ceilings, and frequently include covered or screened-in back porches. Some plans have Mediterranean and Spanish colonial themes, suited to the homeowner.