Villa Am Meer, Chapter 14
The Florida Master Site File, and a few other tidbits
I just returned from another whirlwind trip, this time to Quebec, Canada. It was a rare chance to spend some time alone with my parents, so I went for the fun of it… and man did we have fun! Check out our pictures…
For those who don’t know me, my father is a Minnesota Christmas tree farmer who runs two cut-your-own farms, several tree lots, and a large wholesale operation from his company just north of Minneapolis. Last week, he wanted to go look at some trees from a grower in Quebec, so my mom decided to go along because she’d never been there, and I got invited along because I know how to speak French (sort of). I’d been to Quebec once before, on a 9th grade French trip, but truth be told, I couldn’t remember a single thing about the city or the trip. So, we did the town, took some tours, drank some wine, ate a lot of great food, and had a fabulicious time.
While I was in Quebec, I received a few blog comments that I thought I’d pass along. First, I heard from someone named Frank who mentioned he’d been good friends with Ralph Smith, a husband to one of the six Benedict daughters. It turns out Ralph had been the best man in Frank’s wedding, so every now and then, the two couples would vacation together at Villa Am Meer. Frank mentioned that he and his wife spent many evenings sleeping in the southwest bedroom of Villa Am Meer, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. If my bearings are correct, I believe the southwest bedroom is the one with the beautiful stained glass window that faces the beach.
(Note… I went back to my Flickr photo album to see if I had a photo of that bedroom, and noticed that several of my Villa Am Meer photos were missing/corrupt. Not sure what happened there, but I’ve now re-published the entire album, so if you’ve never had a chance to view all the beautiful photos, I invite you to view my Flickr album. If you view the slideshow, make sure you click the link that says “Show Info” in the upper right corner in order to view the captions, and under “Options” click “slow” so you don’t go bananas trying to read the captions before the next photo appears.)
I also heard from someone named Annette who mentioned that she’d worked on the Tilly Foster Farm from 1985-1999, and served as Manager for the last five of those years. She mentioned that Elena called Mrs. Kohl “Tante” which means “Aunt” in German. It was Mrs. Kohl (Hertha) who was the one with the parrots, and in the attic of one of the barns at the Tilly Foster Farm, there were several large, ornate bird cages that used to belong to Mrs. Kohl.
A while back, I also heard from Shannon O’Donnell who is a Historical Data Analyst for the Florida Master Site File, a State maintained inventory and archive of recorded cultural resources in Florida. She had found a link to my blog in a recent issue of Sarasota History Alive, and contacted me about recording the Villa Am Meer property with the FMSF. That way, if it was ever to be torn down in the future, there would be a permanent historical record of this beautiful home. I was concerned about whether this “historical designation” would hinder the future development of the property, and she assured me it would not. I was also concerned that I had no direct link to the property, nor its original owners, but she assured me that anyone could register the property, regardless of whether I was an owner or not.
So, with a little guidance, I completed the form and now Villa Am Meer is officially recorded with the Florida Master Site File for all posterity. Shannon also included all the posts from my blog, along with the photos I had taken of the property. For future reference, the Florida Master Site File ID number for Villa Am Meer is SO6900.
I’m afraid I’m coming to the end of my Villa Am Meer story, not for lack of interest, but simply because I’m running out of material. If you have any thoughts, memories, or photos of this house, please send them my way.
Next time: A few final thoughts and a new mystery to solve…