History-based fundraiser highlights architecture
By Jessica Creagan
VERO BEACH -- Buildings, like people, have a story to tell, and who better to tell them than the buildings and people that occupied them?
The fourth annual Heritage Celebration, "If These Walls Could Talk," a fundraiser for The Heritage Center, will begin at 5 p.m. on March 13 at The Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach.
Admission is $10 per person, however, if a guest purchases a membership, entry is free, said Rebecca Rickey, executive director.
The center will be transformed into an architectural touring ground of 10 significant structures in nine communities within Indian River County that are still standing, and in some cases, still occupied, Ms. Rickey said.
"Many people probably drive by these places and don't give them a second thought," she said.
Some of the buildings will be old schools, private homes, businesses or churches, and they will be from all over the county, including Fellsmere, Sebastian, Wabasso, Gifford, Vero Beach, Oslo and the historic Riomar neighborhood in Vero Beach, a press release said.
Large photographs and information sheets will be available at each stop on the "tour" and at the end, visitors will be able to assemble all of their information sheets into a neat package of historical sites in Indian River County, Ms. Rickey said.
"And another fun part will be that we have asked people with connections to the buildings to talk about the buildings at the event. For example, we know we will have some graduates of Gifford High School there," Ms. Rickey said.
In learning about the history of the buildings, you also learn about buildings that no longer exist, and some of those buildings will also be featured in the tour.
"A 'Wall of Shame' will show historic buildings, such as the Royal Park Inn and Del Mar Hotel, both former Vero Beach landmarks that didn't escape the wrecking ball. The Royal Park Inn site is occupied by condominiums and the Del Mar Hotel made way for a downtown parking lot years ago," a press release said.
Conversely, a "Wall of Fame" will highlight buildings that the community has saved, Ms. Rickey said.
There are so many interesting history tidbits that can be gathered about the history of a town by learning about its buildings, Ms. Rickey said.
One former bank in the heart of downtown Vero Beach, Farmer's Bank, where Vero Beach Furniture Mart is now located, had a drive-through site across the street, but in order to operate out of it legally, the owners had to find some way to connect the two locations safely.
The solution? Build a tunnel connecting the bank and the drive-through facility underneath State Road 60.
"I'm not sure if it is still there, but people say it is," she said with a laugh.
At press time, sponsors of the event included Edlund, Dritenbas, Binkley Architects and Associates, P.A., Graves Brothers Company, Capital Investment Advisors, Bill Mitchell, Golden River Fruit Compnay, Schacht Groves, Grances Ellis Graves, Center State Bank, Stewart Evans Stewart and Emmons, P.S. and Could and Associates, P.A., C.P.A.
The Heritage Center and Indian River Citrus Museum is located at 2140 14th Ave., Vero Beach. For more information about the center or upcoming events, call (772) 770-2263 or visit www.veroheritage.org.