Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Casements, Ormond Beach, Fl.

Color sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Zuri Artsy crafty and card by Carla Brooke
The clinking of the champagne glasses and he murmur of the party goers echoed across the still waters of the Halifax River. Time went by and with the decades came people, highways, bridges and more people. If buildings could talk, the “cottage,” now called “The Casements,” located in Ormond Beach (near the Ormond Memorial Gardens), would have some great stories to tell. The Casements, named for the large hand-cut casement windows that adorn the mansion, has been beautifully restored to function as the Cultural Center for the City of Ormond Beach, Florida. Set on the shore of the Halifax River, and just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, the late John D. Rockefeller's winter home is known as "The Jewel of Ormond Beach."
Color sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Zuri Artsy crafty and card by Carla Brooke
 Reverend Harwood Hunting built the Casements in the early 1900s for his wife, the daughter of Mr. Goodhue, manufacturer of the Pullman automobile. Standard Oil billionaire, John D. Rockefeller purchased the house in 1918 and lived there during the winters until his death in 1937 at the age of 97. The building gets its unusual name from the charming casement windows, which face out onto the Halifax River.
Color sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Mo's Digital Pencil and card by Carla Brooke
Life for Rockefeller consisted of golf, riding in his chauffeured car, and attending concerts at the Ormond Hotel, which was right across the street from the Casements. Rockefeller attended the Ormond street fairs where he passed out dimes to children and adults. He started with nickels but his pockets became to full and heavy with the change. Rockefeller entertained celebrities either at the Casements or on the golf course. Will Rogers, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Sir Malcolm Campbell, the British race driver; were among his invited guests. Campbell drove his racecar on Daytona Beach in 1932 at 253 miles per hour, carrying a Rockefeller dime for good luck. Rockefeller was interested in the races held on beaches at Ormond and Daytona and watched from his car. He was delighted when Henry Ford gave him the first Ford V-8 to come off the assembly line in 1931. Rockefeller’s winter sojourn included his annual Christmas party attended by friends and neighbors. His activities were curtailed in 1932 due to poor health, but continues to reside in Ormond until his death.
In 1941, the Casements was sold to Maud Van Woy. She enlarged it and added a building on the south side for students of her Junior College for Young Women. She sold it in 1951 to the Fellowship Foundation for $150,000. The foundation intended to use it, along with its Ormond Hotel, for a fellowship center and room and board for transient guests. The venture failed in 1953. Lavin-Johnson bought The Casements in 1959 for $100,000, and later that year sold it for $128,000 to Ormond Hotel Casements, Inc., which had already bought the Ormond Hotel. A 180-unit condominium was proposed for the property in 1971, but a seven-year fight by local citizens defeated that project.
The Casements was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 30, 1972, and was purchased by the city in 1973 for $500,000. On December 7, 1979, it was dedicated as The Ormond Beach Community Enrichment Center. The Casements houses displays of Rockefeller memorabilia, plus exhibits on early local history, Boy Scouting and a collection of Hungarian festival costumes and artifacts..
Color sketch by Sandy Brooke, Digital Image by Polkadoodles and card by Carla Brooke
 The Casements is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 10:00a.m. to 3:30p.m., and Saturday from 10:00a.m. to 11:30a.m. The Casements hosts numerous events throughout the year.

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