Monday, September 24, 2012

Carleton Terrace - Cocoa, Florida

Carleton Terrace - Cocoa, Florida

Carleton Terrace is a neighborhood in Cocoa, Florida, which was developed in the 1920s by David Paul Davis and his brother M. H. Davis. David P. Davis had been involved in real estate development in Miami and was about to embark on the eponymous Davis Islands development in Tampa. To the Carleton Terrace project he brought architect Martin L. Hampton, who had worked with Addison Mizner in Miami, to create a group of Mediterranean Revival homes that still speak of the intention for the new neighborhood on Indian River Bluffs.

Davis bought 100 acres along the Indian River from the Wells family who had citrus groves there. Dixie Highway (now MacFarland Drive) was part of the neighborhood and on the west side of this street, the majority of the Hampton houses were built.

"Carleton Terrace" was announced on December 13, 1923. Building lots averaged 50 X 130 were offered at $550. Construction began at once.

Davis and other investors and residents built house there. The Martin L. Hampton designed homes were offered for sale at prices from $4,000 to $10,600.

Below are photos of some of those homes along with brief descriptions of each, and as always, you can double click on each photo in order to view it large:

24 Carleton Drive is a large one story dark orange stucco with red barrel tile roof Mediterranean Revival bungalow. It sprawls all over the lot, with a tower effect to the right and a recessed wing to the left. Features include an arched opening for the entry porch, a bell niche over the wing to the left. It is a pleasing house and in good condition. There is a very low wall surrounding the property:

Across the street also on Carleton Drive is an asymmetrical two story Mediterranean Revival house with stucco exterior and barrel tile roofs. The house seems to be undergoing a sympathetic restoration. It was in a state of partial renovation when the most recent Google maps photo of the street was made. Since that time, the stucco has been painted a bright white color. There is an awning roof over front door, grouped windows, and an arched gateway into auto court or side patio. It is a largish house, very deep but somewhat narrow, that could be very charming when completely renovated:

2109 Indian River Drive is an elegant two story pale shell pink stucco with trim and barrel tile roof Mediterranean Revival house overlooking the Indian River from the uphill (western) side of the street. At the time it was built there would have been no dwellings on the east side to obscure the view--indeed that area was still orange groves. The asymmetric composition includes French doors on both floors. The second floor features several balconies, one with a small column-supported roof. The arched front entry porch is partly shielded by a softly curved buttress. This property is surrounded by a low wall that appears to be original to the house. A privacy wall with gate screens the left side yard. There is a second house on this property, more or less hidden from view from Indian River Drive but discernible from MacFarland Drive.

The following photo is looking at the rear of the same 2109 Indian River Drive property picutred above, but from MacFarland Drive. The garages are accessed here. This house is said to have belonged to or inhabited by D. P. Davis while the Carleton Terrace neighborhood was in its initial stages:

Next is 2105 MacFarland Drive (at the corner of MacFarland Drive and Coquina Terrace) This is grand two story rectangular Mediterranean-meets-Tuscan-Revival yellow stucco with white trim and barrel tile roof house. A low, one story entry porch faces Coquina Terrace. French doors and windows predominate throughout the design. The long façade on MacFarland Terrace is enlivened by an asymmetric two story chimney, a one story round bay, with arched balcony above, and a recessed entry door. There is a period-original open carport on MacFarland Drive. This is definitely the showplace of the Hampton houses in Indian River Bluffs, and was the home of D. P. Davis' brother M. H. Davis as he oversaw the Carleton Terrace development:

2119 MacFarland Drive is a one story Mission Revival bungalow with a flat roof that has been added later (one can see the parapet line of the original roof below the overhang of the flat roof). This may have served as the sales office for the Indian River Bluffs development—has that sort of a look. It is one of several homes of a more modest demeanor, still in keeping with the theme of the 1920s development. There is a 1920s “two track” set of driveway sidewalks back to a recessed one car garage—this is a very narrow space-- a Model T would have fit fine but not the land yachts of the mid-20th century:

2125 MacFarland Drive. (to the right of the above), is a two story taupe stucco Mediterranean Revival house with barrel tile roof. This house is graced by a low driveway entry wall with curved forms. The house is L shaped and there is an entry patio in the space formed by the L; interesting roof forms include a pent roof over a balcony, curved buttress parapet walls and a dramatic chimney. The house has a one story original garage to the right rear of the property. The large lawn between this property and the next allow good viewing of both of them from the street. The owner of this house had a lovely impromptu conversation with us. He bought the house 34 years ago and has lovlingly restored it all these years. He told us that MacFarland was once the Dixie Highway, and also recounted the sad story about D. P. Davis' demise at sea (read more about that at the end of this post):

2127 MacFarland Drive (immediatly to the right of the house above), is a one story Mediterranean Revival with asymmetric triple arched entry porch and tower effect main front façade. French door, round vent above, corner chimney with arched buttress all add to the charm of this smallish home. The current color scheme is perfect and the striped awning is very chic:

More Carleton Terrace houses follow...
2203 MacFarland Drive (below) is a small Mediterranean Revival bungalow with gable end toward street and detached garage, arched front entry porch, arched front door, grouped triple windows. This house seems to be in an undiscovered state, and the condition does more to obscure than show its intent as an Arts and Crafts meets Mission Revival home.

One of the prettiest homes in the neighborhood, 2405 MacFarland Drive is a two story L shaped home finished in a creamsicle shade, with a glazed sun porch, side entry, French doors on both floors and a balcony.

The next two photos show the house immediatly to the left of the above house, at 2411 MacFarland Drive. It sits on a large lot with a big side yard to the south. The house is a one story Mediterranean Revival stucco and tile composition with French doors, decorative buttresses and a faux-tower...

Below is 2415 MacFarland Drive, whose owners claim is the second largest home out of 112 homes in this small riverside community. The house is currently for sale. A 1928 Mediterranean Revival on a triple lot, with original details including Merritt Island Heart of Pine floors, plaster walls and ceilings, balcony, sunroom with terra cotta tile, formal living and dining rooms, upper master loft suite. Pool with custom concrete gazebo, original French doors with brass and glass knobs, picture rails.
2413 MacFarland Drive (next door to the left of above house) is pictured in the two photos below. A two story Mission style home in pale ivory stucco with barrel tile roof, this home has the look of a small California Mission chapel, with complimentary detached garage which may or may not be original to Martin Hampton. On the corner of MacFarland and Carleton Drive, the home's Carleton Drive façade is starker, reminiscent of the work of Irving Gill. Behind the house is what appears to be an original two story building, with a one car garage below and an apartment above. The connecting link shows some curved and flat parapets over the one story section. The entire complex is very well maintained and visually appealing:
Here is a bit of background about architect Martin L. Hampton…

Architect Martin L. Hampton was born in Laurens, South Carolina, and educated at Columbia University in New York. He settled in Miami in 1914. Hampton was hired by Addison Mizner in 1919 to design interiors and supervise details for the many projects he was designing in Palm Beach.

Hampton was one of 6 original architects (along with H. George Fink, Walter De Garmo., Richard Kiehnel, Harold Hastings Mundy, and L.D. Brumm) who comprised George Merrick’s original design team in the creation of Coral Gables, Florida. In 1921 George Merrick sent his design team to Europe to study the prototypical architecture that was chosen as the inspiration for the buildings in Coral Gables.

Having traveled extensively in Spain, he was a master of the Mediterranean Revival style, which he adapted to the Florida landscape. He designed numerous other buildings in Miami Beach, including Miami Beach’s original City Hall Building. The Colony Hotel in Delray Beach, The Beverly Terrace Apartments in Biscayne Blvd., The Country Club of Coral Gables, The Biltmore Hotel and Country Club, The Congress Building in Downtown Miami, are all by Hampton.


I promised to tell you more about D. P. Davis. His initial offering of land at Davis Islands in Tampa was a success but it was not enough to stave off disaster when the 1926 Florida Land Bust occurred. Davis booked passage on the RMS "Majestic" to France, along with his two sons, his friend and famous detective Raymond Schindler, some of his business associates and his mistress, a former Mack Sennett bathing beauty of the Mabel Normand and Gloria Swanson era, supposedly named Lucille Zehring. I say supposedly, because practically nothing is known of such a person in Hollywood, apart from the D. P. Davis story. At any rate, the "Majestic" left New York with Davis and party, but Davis never made it to France. He parted ways with the liner mid-ocean, and to this day there is great debate about whether he jumped, fell or was pushed into the Atlantic through a "Majestic" stateroom porthole. Eyewitness accounts vary greatly, but drinking and arguing seem to have been on the evening's programme.

Oh yes, there are those other persistant rumors that Davis didn't really go overboard at all, but continued on to Europe and lived there quitely under an assumed name. Isn't this fascinating?


Speaking of mystery, who was Lucille Zehring, anyway? I have made an exhausting, if not exhaustive, list of Mack Sennatt Bathing Beauties, and there is a little about each of them (and a lot about some of them) to be found in a general search. But nothing to be found about Lucille Zehring, apart from the D. P. Davis tragedy. I think I have a lead on Miss Z, her Hoosier origins and her twin sister. But... Does anyone out there have more to tell about the ellusive Lucille? Let me know. Here is the list of other "Bathing Beauties" some of whose names you will know and a few who will surprise you; there are names both obscure, and that endure:

Claire Anderson
Josephine Banks
Lillian Biron
Olive Borden
Mae Busch ("The Ever-Popular")
Betty Byrd
Ruth Carbury
Louise Carver
Marjorie Conover
Julia Faye Covell
Ivy Crosthwaite
Bebe Daniels (Mrs. Ben Lyon)
Alice Day
Marceline Day (sister to Alice Day)
Alice Davenport
Dorothy Dorr
Julia Duncan
Gonda Durand
Sally Eilers
Cecille Evans
Elinor Field
Virginia Fox
Evelyn Francisco
Anita Garvin
Carmelita Geraghty
Harriet Hammond
Juanita Hansen
Sunshine Hart
Phyllis Haver
Thelma Hill
Madeline Hurlock
Isabelle Keith / Isobel Keep
Lucille King
Myrtle Lind
Carole Lombard (Later, Mrs. Clark Gable)
Marion Mack
Mae Madison
Alice Maison
Mae Marsh
Roxana McGowan
Lucille McVey / Jane Morrow
Dolores Mendez
Virginia Nightingale
Marie Prevost
Mable Normand (The first and most famous Bathing Beauty)
Peggy O’Dare
Peggy Pearce
Della Peterson
Katherine Anne Porter (Yes, the writer)
Sally Rand (She had many fans)
Marvel Rea
Vera Reynolds
Madeleine Sherwood
Vera Steadman
Yvonne Stevens (Mrs. George Stevens, Sr.)
Valeska Suratt
Gloria Swanson (The biggest of them all)
Elsie Tarron
Ethel Teare
Isabel Thomas
Mary Thurman
Edith Valk
Carol Wines
Toby Wing (Busbey Berkeley's favorite chorus girl)

(If anyone is looking for an interesting name for a baby girl, there are some winning possibilities on that list, to be sure...!)
The very best collection of photos of the Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties, with many of them identified by name, may be seen on flickr, at:

Just think of it: All of this history, from one little neighborhood of houses with architectural character. As Joe E Brown says..."Zowie!"


TampaPix said...
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TampaPix said...

I have information about Lucille Zehring. She was born Lucille W. Smith on July 5, 1902 in Wales, a daughter of Englishman Frederick Morse Smith and his 2nd wife, Cardiff, Wales native Alice Edith Winters. They came to the US through Canada in 1907 and settled in Los Angeles. Read more about her background, including how she became Lucille Zehring, and what happened to her after her trip on the Majestic with D. P. Davis, on my website, at --Dan