History of The Southend: The Belair Historic Distric

Between Plymouth Road and Pilgrim Road lies the Historic District of Belair. Originally the area was a land grant to James Wood Davidson from President Chester Arthur in 1885. In 1886, it was sold to John Huntington Jones. In 1895 the tract of land served as the dowry of Mary Jones who married an Englishman named Richard Hone. Together they turned the area into a pineapple and citrus plantation. Their house was considered to be the finest in the area and it still stands today at 211 Plymouth Rd.

During a severe thunderstorm in 1902, as Richard Hone sat in his dining room writing a letter to his sister in England, his wife reading beside him, an assassin approached the dining room window on horseback and shot Richard Hone, fatally wounding him.

The house was later sold to Mr. George Currie in 1906. Currie was one of the first real estate developers of the area and created the Currie Development Company. In 1923, William and Sophie Ohlhaber bought the property, allegedly to provide dockage for Mr. Olhaber’s 90 ft. yacht. The same year, Mr. Ohlhaber, an architect, constructed the mission style home at 205 Pilgrim.

In the mid 20’s members of the Ohlhaber family created a coconut palm and fern nursery. The Belair area was further developed between 1925 and 1935. In 1947 Hone’s house was bought by Mr. Max Brombacher, Henry Flagler’s chief engineer, and it remains in the family today.

Most of the historic buildings such as the John Stephens home (1927), the Eric Shroeder home (1926), John Sirich home (1927), and B.V Zeigler home (1926), epitomize the architecture style of the  Florida Land Boom era. This beautiful Historic District consists of Mediterranean Revival, Mission Revival, Frame Vernacular, and Masonry Vernacular style homes.

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