Wednesday, June 11, 2014

South Florida Social Diary

Untitled Document
"Wisdom is better than Strength." Knowles Memorial Chapel, 1932. National Register of Historic Places. Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942), architect. Rollins College, Winter Park.
Winter Park + Delray Beach
By Augustus Mayhew

Located almost equidistant north and south of Disneyopia, Rollins College and Florida Southern College are significant cultural destinations on the I-4 corridor, too often overlooked in the rush to monorail into a virtual Tomorrowland. During this past week, I was in Winter Park at Rollins, as captivated by the campus’ existing ensemble of  barrel tile-and-stucco buildings that remain from the original 1929 master plan designed by the firm of Kiehnel & Elliott as I was several years ago by the 1950s organic Frank Lloyd Wright campus at Florida Southern College. 

Rita Bornstein, president of Rollins College, left, with Harriet and George Cornell and their puppy. Photograph courtesy Rollins College Archives and Special Collections.
“At the time, Hamilton Holt, the president of Rollins, was impressed with the Miami-based Kiehnel & Elliott’s work at the Rolyat Hotel in Deland, built in 1925 and now part of Stetson College of Law. Holt commissioned the firm to formulate a new plan, designing a campus with understated picturesque Spanish-style buildings,” said Wenxian Zhang, head of archives and special collections at Rollins. 

“When Kiehnel died in 1942, associate architect George Spohn took over as campus architect,” Zhang added.  Added to Kiehnel & Elliott’s spirited Mediterranean adaptations, the ecclesiastical work of the renowned architect Ralph Adams Cram, as known for his various Manhattan churches and cathedrals as the campuses at Choate, Phillips Exeter, and Princeton, and the more recent work of James Gamble Rogers II, whose father and uncle with the same names were also architects, combine  to make Rollins College a masterwork, as distant in time and place as the archetypal ivory tower.

Along with a distinctive otherworldy setting, Rollins has been fortunate primary beneficiary of its alumni, especially the concentrated generosity of George and Harriet Cornell, of Delray Beach.  Two of the most delightful people you would ever want to meet, the Cornells’ contributions over a three decade totaled more than $105 million, not only to the advancement of academic endeavors with scholarships and endowed chairs but also to the bricks and mortars, providing the funds that facilitated several significant buildings.  I have mentioned the Cornells before, in regard to the Morikami Museum,  Palm Beach Zoo, Old School Square, and perhaps utmost for George Cornell, a local dog park named in their honor.  After Harriet died, “Don’t call an ambulance!” I always saw him driving around with his beloved dog.

And then, I motored to Delray Beach where I stopped in at Arts Garage for the opening of Rene von Richthofen's latest exhibition of auto-erotica.
Rollins College panorama. A view of what many consider Florida's most idyllic college campus from the fifth-floor of the nearby college-owned Alfond Inn.
Rollins College, gateway. Fairbanks Avenue.
George & Harriet Cornell: Alumni - Friends - Philanthropists
George Cornell, Rollins'35, and Harriet Cornell, Rollins '35. Portraits, Mills Memorial Building. Afflicted with polio as a child, Harriet spent her life in a wheelchair but you would have never known it from her warm genial personality. Their first $1 million gift to the school made possible the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, opened in 1978.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The Phipps family's Bessemer Trust underwrites the museum's entrance fees.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Gesture and Pose.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Ena Heller, director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Conversations.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum. History and Myth.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Stained glass windows, English, c. 1870-1880.
Cornell Fine Arts Center.
Cornell Fine Arts Center. Mackenzie Moon Ryan, PhD, assistant professor of art history.
Cornell Fine Arts Center. Dr. Ryan's posters describe her classes in Global Art, African Art, and African Art & Colonialism.
Cornell Social Science Center, courtyard.
Cornell Campus Center.
The dining room at the Cornell Campus Center.
Walk of Fame.
The Alfond Inn
300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park

Built with a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, The Alfond Inn is owned by Rollins College and operated by the Portland, Maine-based The Olympia Companies, headed by Kevin Mahaney. Founder of the Dexter Shoe Company, philanthropist Harold Alfond (1914-2007) is recognized as having originated the factory outlet store. Two short blocks north of the campus, the Inn is also steps from Park Avenue's parade of shops and restaurants and where an Amtrak station is still in operation.
Artfully designed by Baker Barrios Architects, The Alfond Inn is simply sensational, however sentimental I may have been about the Mid-Century Modern charms of the Langford Hotel, now supplanted since last August by this newly opened 21st-century venue
To the left, the inn's central reception area opens into the solarium; to the right, the library-lounge leads to the restaurant. Both areas open onto the courtyard.
The concierge station is across from the front desk.
Deanne Gabel, general manager at The Alfond Inn. We reminisced about Hawaii where Deanne lived for 18 years. Having previously been associated with the Four Seasons Maui and the Millennium Broadway Hotel/NYC, Gabel mentioned the hotel's net revenues benefit the Alfond Scholars program.
The lobby's interactive touch-and-go screen is at every guest's fingertips.
Along with soothing interiors and a considerable art collection, the Alfond is pet-friendly, offering water bowls, pet gift baskets, and doggy treats at turn down.
The Alfond Inn's five floors accomodate112 rooms
Courtyard dining at Hamilton's Table located below the second-level pool deck.
Nightfall at The Alfond Inn.
7 am for breakfast at Hamilton's Table.
The Alfond Inn, a welcoming urbane outpost where I never noticed any of the staff updating their Facebook pages or checking for the latest tweet.
Located mid-block between The Alfond Inn and Rollins College, the historic Woman's Club was the setting for an event as I walked over to the campus.
Rollins College … the old and the new
Robin Cusmano, assistant director of communications, kindly escorted me around the campus.
Pinehurst Cottage, 1886. The college's oldest existing building.
Built in 1938, Woolson House was a gift of Clare A. Benedict in memory of her aunt, author Constance Fenimore Woolson. The plaque on the door reads: "The Constance Fenimore Woolson English House." A decade later, when Orlando Hall was constructed to the west of Woolson House, an arcade was built to connect the two buildings.
Woolson House, courtyard.
Woolson House, east elevation.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. Ralph Adams Cram, architect.
Knowles Memorial Chapel and rose garden. The arcade leads to the Annie Russell Theater.
Knowles Memorial Chapel.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. In honor of Rev. Charles Atwood Campbell, dean of this chapel.
Knowles Memorial Chapel, looking east toward the pulpit.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. The pipe organ above the balcony.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. A view from the pulpit with a passage from Psalms at the ready, looking west toward the pipe organ.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. Ceiling detail.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. Ceiling detail.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. Let there be light!
Knowles Memorial Chapel. A series of add-ons has updated the chapel's east elevation.
Knowles Memorial Chapel. Front entrance, detail.
Annie Russell Theater
Annie Russell Theater, Architectural Model and Drawing. Kiehnel & Elliott, architect. Historical image Rollins College Archives.
The Annie Russell is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, along with the Knowles Memorial Chapel. The cornerstone was positioned in 1931.
As soon as Olivia Haine, marketing-communications director and box office manager, checked that the New York Social Diary does indeed exist, the auditorium light was turned on.
The main auditorium with colorfully designed beams. While a student at Rollins College (1951-1953), the late actor Anthony Perkins (1932-1992) appeared in several theater productions, receiving the Theta Alpha Phi Award in 1951.
Dedication plaque. Stage left entrance to backstage.
From the lobby, a view of the main auditorium.
The theater's eclectic lobby has retained some of its period flavor.
Archibald Granville Bush Science Center. Named for a prominent 3M executive, the facility opened in 1969. Werner von Braun was the guest speaker at the dedication ceremony. Winter Park architect James Gamble Rogers II, with Rogers, Lovelock & Fritz, architects and engineers, designed the Bush Science Center as well as the Cornell Social Science Center.
Bush Science Center, view from Knowles Memorial Chapel across the rose garden.
Bush Science Center.
Bush Science Center, interior.
Bush Science Center.
Rollins College's business school rated #1 MBA in Florida, according to Forbes.
Olin Library, façade after dark.
Having studied engineering at Cornell and having made his fortune as a munitions manufacturer, Franklin W. Olin (1860-1951) acquired the Winchester Rife Company in 1931. From 1938 to 1997, the Olin Foundation distributed grants for 78 buildings at 58 institutions before shutting down in 2007, according to an online website.
At the Olin Library, Wenxian Zhang is director of archives and special collections.
Olin Library, archives and special collections.
Olin Library.
Funded by the Davela Mills Foundation, the Mills Memorial Building houses the college post office and administrative offices. Before the Olin was built, it served as the campus library.
The Mills Memorial Building faces Mills Lawn.
Rice Building, entrance. Bookstore and Café.
Pugsley Hall. President of the New York State Banker's Association, The Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley (1850-1936) founded the college's Institute of Statesmanship.
Pugsley Hall, plaque.
Pugsley Hall, fireplace.
Pugsley Hall. Living room, ceiling molding trim, detail.
Pugsley Hall. Stairway, riser detail.
Pugsley Hall. Front entrance.
Andrew Carnegie Hall.
Plaques & Stones
Frederick Lyman Hall. Kiehnel & Elliott's residence halls appear at times to be an uncommon hybrid of a residential and commercial building, albeit as elusive to categorize as they are picturesque.
Rollins Hall, 1938. Rollins College Archives.
Rollins Hall, 2014.
Cross Hall, 1936.
Magnificent trees.
Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Building. The office of admissions and student financial aid is named for Marshall Rinker Jr. (1926-2006), Rollins '49.
Passageways and Gateways.
For further historical and architectural information about Rollins College, refer to Rollins Digital Collections:

Winter Park Ramble
Park Avenue. The Colony Theater has long since gone, replaced by Pottery Barn.
Park Avenue. Park Plaza Gardens Hotel & Restaurant.
Park Avenue. Peterbrooke Chocolatier. 5:15 pm, time to go …
Delray Beach

Shifting Gears:
New works by Rene von Richthofen
The Arts Garage, 180 NE 1st Street

For the past several years, automobilist Rene von Richthofen has been transforming his interest in cars into fascinating mixed-media objets d'art. Here is a look at a few of his latest.
Tell me about it! Mixed media. $5,500. Rene von Richthofen, right.
Shifting Gears, text.
The Arts Garage gallery was apropos for von Richthofen's eclectic work with a Morgan three-wheeler as a centerpiece from Chariots of Palm Beach.
Give me a Hub. Mixed media. $1,700. Rene von Richthofen. This piece had a supernatural sci-fi sense to it.
Sculptor Jane Manus. Manus and von Richthofen met and married in Palm Beach during the mid-1980s.
Skyward, a sculpture by Jane Manus was installed at the Marilyn and Stanley Katz Campus at MorseLife in West Palm Beach.
Coin slot. Mixed media. $1,200. Rene von Richthofen.
Nascar. Mixed media/Video. $2,000. Rene von Richthofen. Hot wheels.
Wave Goodbye. Mixed media. $1,100. Rene von Richthofen. A detailed view of a work conveying an expressway's twists and turns.
Fan Happy. Mixed media. $1,800. Rene von Richthofen.
Linda Marx.
The Arts Garage is in the center of Delray Beach's Old School Square Historic District. Across the street, the recently opened El Camino Tequila Bar offers Mexican "soul food."
El Camino Tequila Bar. The popular cantina is located in a 1920s automobile showroom designed by the Palm Beach architectural firm of Volk & Maass.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.