Summer Ramble: Birthday Cake & Hard Hats @ Palm Beach

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On Saturday night, Camden and Alana attended their grandfather David Reese’s 90th birthday dinner at Palm Beach, along with 50 multi-generational family members, friends, swells, and North End surf legends. A statue of their great-great-great grandfather Elisha Newton “Cap” Dimick (1849-1919), Palm Beach’s first hotelier and first mayor, stands at the entrance to Palm Beach on Royal Palm Way in front of The Society of the Four Arts. Cam and Alana brought along their parents, Ashley and Jason, from Lake Tahoe. David’s daughter Ashley co-hosted the 90th with her sister Courtenay Reese Farrell.

Swimming in seaweed as waves roll in from the Sargasso, counting down the minutes until the seasonal hurricane frenzy begins, unimaginably far from a clam boat at the Two Lights shack or breakfast at the Bellavista in Brunate. Adrift. Then again, there was surfing legend and lifetime Palm Beacher David Reese’s milestone 90th birthday dinner on Saturday night at the venerable Sailfish Club — surf tales, sushi, lobster salad, tenderloin, and flashback Beatles tunes.

A century ago, David’s grandfather Tip Reese was mayor, first treasurer of the Everglades Club, bank president, and vice-president/manager of Bradley’s Beach Club. His father, Claude Dimick Reese, E. R. Bradley’s godson, served 18 years as mayor and 38 as a Town councilman. And today, more than 145 years since his great-grand landed on Palm Beach and opened the Cocoanut Grove Hotel, David still has beach sand beneath his feet.

Though never mayor, he was one of the generous supporters who fought the Town of Palm Beach’s surfing ban on its 13 miles of beachfront. Palm Beach banned surfing in 1965 to protect the town against “unwanted surfers.” Three years later, Circuit Judge Hugh MacMillan ruled the Palm Beach law unconstitutional. The Town of Palm Beach appealed that decision. On July 1, 1970, the Florida Supreme Court upheld MacMillan’s verdict and in a 4-1 decision ruled the Town of Palm Beach could regulate but not ban surfing. In September 1970, the Town of Palm Beach Shores on Singer Island rescinded its anti-surfing ordinance that fined violators $100 and/or ten days in jail.

Happy Birthday David!

Left, a statue of Elisha Newton “Cap” Dimick stands at the foot of Palm Beach’s Middle Bridge on the west end of Royal Palm Way. The Dimicks’ Cocoanut Grove Hotel was located just north of the statue.[Palm Beach Post archive] Right, Cap’s great-grandson David Reese is featured on the cover of the most recent issue of the Tustenegee, a journal published by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, honoring Reese’s work that legalized surfing on Palm Beach. [Photo Augustus Mayhew]

A party guest reads the latest issue of Tustenegee, edited by Rose Guerrero, HSPBC’s research director.
David Reese was honored by the Eastern Surfing Association and the Surfing Florida Museum for his 50 years of support for surfing, including the late 1960’s campaign to “save surfing” led by lawyers Joel Daves and Billy Jackson. The Surfing Florida Museum welcomes your support. Become a member!

Courtenay Reese Farrell and her husband Kris Farrell.
Great-nephew Charles “CJ” Phillips Reese and his wife Hayley Reese.
Great-niece Jennifer Reese Garcia and her husband Mike Garcia.
Mary and Tom Warnke, a Surfing Florida Museum founding member, who presented the Surfing Museum’s appreciation plaque to David.
Guests interpreted “Surfer Formal” in various modes.
Edy and Doug Knowles.
Photographer Tony Arruza and Marcia Gasparini.
Carol McGrath.
Leslie and Mike Feaganes.
Neil Estu.
Dave took care of all the birthday candles.
You have probably wondered, ‘Whatever happened to Kleenex heir Jim Kimberly’s 904-pound Blue Marlin that he caught off the coast of Hawaii?’ Wonder, no more. It landed on Palm Beach at the Sailfish Club, only a few houses north from the olde Kimberly NLW compound. Lower left, above the sushi trays, Peter Mettler Jr.’s more than 100-pound Tarpon.
Camden and Alana with their father, Jason.
Sailfish Club of Florida, 1914-2022.

Finishing touches

Summer. Scaffolds obscure the landscape! Will Palm Beach ever be finished?

Southways, 130 Barton Avenue (2019 @ $16.85 million). Façade. In April 1919, Theodore Frelinghuysen (1860-1928) and his wife Elizabeth Coats Frelinghuysen acquired 300-feet of frontage on Barton Avenue in two separate transactions. By June, Beaux-Arts architect Francis Hoppin, of Hoppin & Koen, completed plans and builder Cooper Lightbown began building the $100,000 mansion. Later additions were by John Volk. Although born to a New Jersey political dynasty, Mr. Frelinghuysen was a thread manufacturing executive with his father-in-law Sir James Coats’ family company, J. & P. Coats Ltd. His brother Joseph was a US senator from New Jersey between 1917 and 1923.

Southways, 130 Barton Avenue. Façade and west elevation. Landmarked in the 1990s, the new owners desired to build/reconstruct a two-story, 1600 square-foot addition + a 1700 square-foot basement + a reflecting pool on the west lawn in front of garage and guest house + redesign of the existing pool, according to submitted plans. I was at the house a few times when the Gallants owned it. After scanning the 33 pages of F & S plans, I could not find the whereabouts of the garden exedra along the south boundary that perhaps may have been removed before the property was sold or is being transformed.

209 Phipps Plaza (2003 @ $3 million-2021 @ $7.9 million). In 2021, Phipps Plaza Partners, headed by bespoke designer Scott Snyder, sold the building to a Hobe Sound LLC entity. Once owned by John & Jane Volk, the building’s longtime tenant was grand dame society decorator Polly Jessup who lived above her atelier.

206 Phipps Plaza (2018 @ $4.2 million). John and Jane Volk lived upstairs above Mr. Volk’s architectural practice. For the past several decades, the Smith Architectural Group has been housed on the ground floor at 205 Phipps Plaza.  John Volk’s first wife Betty Taylor Volk first moved into an apartment at Phipps Plaza in 1935, shortly before she and John married. The couple lived at 206 Phipps Plaza until their divorce in December 1946. The first Mrs. Volk moved to New Mexico and remarried. The following April, he married Lillian Jane Kenney After a wedding trip to New York, the newlyweds moved into 206 Phipps Plaza. John & Jane Volk called it Casa de los Arcos although there was already a Wyeth-designed Casa de los Arcos on Middle Road. John L Volk & Associates was established in 1952 at the Phipps Plaza office.

206 Phipps Plaza. Casa de los Arcos, under reconstruction. In the X-File department, sometime during the late 1980s, I will never forget sitting in the living room, and there, as clear as day even though he had died in 1984, was a flash of John Volk sitting in the blue club chair with his pipe. He had lived there for more than 40 years. I had never met him.

236-238 Phipps Plaza. Under wraps. Adjacent to the Carriage House, the onetime E.F. Hutton Building, reported to be a “classic conception of an English social club,” with “international elegance,” and “Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine.”

127 Dunbar Road (2020 @ $17 million – 2021 @ $26.215 million). Readers may recall I wrote extensively about the former Shephard-Guardabassi house – Past Lives: Recollections on Dunbar Road – variously named Villa Firenze, Casa del Pastor, and Villa Fontana. A stylistic hybrid of dubious worth as an architectural landmark that never quite harmonized with the adjoining stellar Treanor & Fatio arcade addition. Maybe 2022 will add some verve that 1922 did not.

127 Dunbar Road, Arcade. Treanor & Fatio, architect.

756 Hi Mount Road (2021 @ $14.2 million – 2020 @ $15.2 million, apparent internal transfers). Having demolished the existing 3,800 square-foot house on a compact .6-acre lot, the new owners, believed to be a major cable company executive and his wife, according to sources, have proceeded with an 8,000 square-foot ++ MedRev lakefront mansion (pictured above) with construction well under way. At nearby 726 Hi Mount (2017 @ $22.5 million), the Kravis’ new neighbor Irimar Ocean Properties LLC,  an acronym perhaps for AtlasInvest co-founders, Irina Liner and her husband, Carlyle’s Marcel van Poecke, is nearing completion.

New World Order at Palm Beach?

“Bring Deliveries To Front Door.” North Ocean Way.

An Oasis of Quiet Calm amid …

Cluett Memorial Garden, Outdoor Chapel. Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea.

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