|Comeau Building (Yellow Building with Arches|
at Street Level Behind Palms) 2012
is still there on Comeau Building Clematis Street.
It was built in a Classical Revival style from 1916 and was completed in 1925. The
building withstood hurricanes (including the horrible one of 1928 which
destroyed buildings all over South Florida) and a fire in the mid-1980s that gutted the 10th floor. The building, named after Alfred J.
Comeau, an early entrepreneur of the area, has been through foreclosures and
several owners over its eighty-six year life span, yet it still stands. It was
named to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on September 6, 1996.
At one time, a company was going to turn it into a hotel. That would have been something to see. I would have loved to stay there, but the hotel plans never materialized. The latest information in the May 4, 2011 South Florida Business Journal. AW Property “plans to completely renovate and modernize the 90,000 square foot icon with about $2 million in initial capital and tenant improvements. The building’s use will remain office, with ground-floor restaurants and retail storefronts.” I’m glad that building isn't being renovated out of existence.
Being on Clematis Street itself is an odd feeling for me. In my mind, I have the pictures of how it looked when it was a big event to go downtown and fancy patent-leather shoes and socks with lace were required to go with a fancy dress to meet my dad. The buildings on Clematis are the same shape and size, but the facades are totally different. My memory takes me back and forth between what was and what is now. The last time I was on Clematis, 2010 or thereabouts, the old Woolworth store space was occupied by a design store. The lunch counter had disappeared as had the bins of ten and twenty-five cent knick-knacks that I loved to sort through while my Mom looked at more interesting things.
After dragging my dad out of his office in the 1960s, we’d head to the lunch counter there in Woolworth's to eat. I’d pester to sit in a booth by the front window so I could watch shoppers and businessmen walk by as I devoured lunch. I don’t think anyone in town made a grilled hotdog quite as good as the cook at Woolworth's and if I could find a way to time-travel, that would be one of the silly, little things I’d want to go back and try just one more time.