Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alba revisited

A couple of weeks ago, I sent a letter to City Hall in New Smyrna Beach, asking for information about the Alba Court Inn, which I've written about previously. I got a very nice email back today from the city planner:

There were many people around town that were interested in preserving the Alba Court, but  the building is in such a sad state of disrepair, it was condemned. A site plan has already been approved by the Planning and Zoning Board to replace the existing building.
 I was told there was another building with the same layout somewhere in Maine, and the same people who stayed here in the winter would often stay there while they were vacationing in the summer. It looked like it was a really attractive building, but it was neglected far too long. I attached some photos of the interior and a few other things which may interest you.
I used to work on preserving old houses in the Greater Cleveland area and have a pretty good eye for what is repairable, and unfortunately, this building just was not. What is odd about the whole pending demolition is the previous owner used to be a member of the local Historic Preservation Commission and was instrumental in establishing the history museum located a stone's throw from the Alba Court.
<sigh> How sad! But how nice of him to write to me, and he sent eight photos! I'll put up one of the damaged interior. And he's right, it really looks to be beyond repair. Other pictures are even worse than this one:
He also sent me a couple of historic pictures, and these are wonderful! Look at the ladies!
He also sent one of what looks like the main lounge area:
See the big stone fireplace at the end? A fireplace in Florida may seem silly, but it can get chilly in the winter. I bet there were times when it was very cozy in that lounge. Can't you just picture people in 1920's garb sitting around, chatting, laughing gaily? Okay, I'm probably going over the top, but it's fun to think about.
This is also a nice lesson in polite inquiries. He didn't have to take the time to write back or send photos, but he did, and I appreciated it very much. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask--it never hurts to try, and you often get someone who is more than happy to help you out. Thanks, Mr. Baker!

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1 comment:

frankandmary said...

I know there is also an Alba, Italy~ citta(city, had to throw that in for the girl who wants to learn Italian), but I always think of those old Alba shakes when I see the name. ~Mary