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During the recent 3rd Annual Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board Awards presented in Pinecrest Gardens, the City of Homestead Historic Preservation Board and the City’s Public Information Office were recognized with the Excellence in Preservation Media Award. The two organizations collaborated on a booklet entitled “Homestead: Then & Now” which provides visitors and residents with a comprehensive understanding of the city’s history including a walking tour of its most reputed and important buildings and homes. The booklet is currently enjoying its second printing and, very soon, will be entering its third edition.
Yvonne Knowles, the director of not-for-profit organization Homestead Main Street and member of the Homestead Preservation Board, was among the honorees and spoke during a Special Council Presentation in October 2014. “I would like to extend my gratitude to Begoñe Cazalis, Communications Manager for Homestead’s Public Information Office with whom I share these accolades,” said Ms. Knowles. “We are beholden to our local historians Bob Jensen, Ruth Campbell and George Grunwald for fact-checking the text of the booklet and to Kim Foster Designs for the publication’s unique look and feel.”
The “Homestead Then & Now” booklet contains an easy to follow map of a historic tour that can be taken for the most part walking or by hopping on the free Homestead Trolley. The guide contains old and current photographs of each property and they are each accompanied by a description of the architecture style and colorful stories of the historically-designated building and its proprietors.
The “Homestead Then & Now” booklet was designed as a self-guided tour to help visitors and residents learn more about how the City of Homestead developed. Starting in 1903 with the early railroad days that opened South Florida to commerce and to homesteading, the past unfolds on the walking tour by taking visitors through the heart of the early pioneer’s town in the Historic Downtown Homestead District and unto additional designated historic structures outside of the historic district. All properties identified in the map have been designated Historic by the Homestead Historic Preservation Board and as such are protected for future generations. The guide also includes beautiful Homestead postcards from decades past and a timeline of the most important events in the City’s history.
The publication can be found for free at various designations such as the Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum, 41 N. Krome Ave. Homestead, the Pioneer Museum, 826 N. Krome Avenue, Florida City, Homestead City Hall, 650 NE 22nd Terrace, Homestead, as well as in some of the designated historic buildings that are open to the public such as the Hotel Redland and Art South. You can also view a digital copy here.
The booklet was made possible thanks to the collaboration of various Homestead residents and organizations. Yvonne Knowles, chairwoman of the Homestead Historic Preservation Board and Executive Director of Homestead Main Street, compiled the information, drafted the text of the guide and tracked down the historic photos. Robert Chaplin, from R.L. Chaplin Photography, donated the current photographs of the historic buildings. Local historians Bob Jensen, George Grunwell and Larry Wiggins collaborated in providing and fact checking historic information. The Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum, Florida City Pioneer Museum, and the Gentner, Bow, McMichaels and Chipley families donated the historic photography from their collections.