Givens (Heard) Block, DeLand, FL-1926

Givens Building0001 GIVENS  (Heard) BLOCK-210-224 N. Woodland Boulevard -1926

 

Originally known as the Givens Block, this complex of eight store/office buildings was probably DeLand’s first ‘strip mall’.  Wm. J. Carpenter is the accredited architect, according to Sidney Johnston in his Biography of  the architect. Very little other historical information has been discovered, other than that the design of the complex was commissioned by George Bushnell, who may also have been responsible for the construction of the Smith’s Drugs Building.

The basic complex consists of eight stores, with the basic floor plan the same for all units.  But with time the storefronts were altered to meet tenant’s needs for such things as show windows and larger doors. All the units had high ceilings (11-12 feet) front to rear, which allowed for year round ventilation in the occupied areas, but provided two-level storage in the rear if desired.  The design met DeLand’s Fire Code, of concrete block or brick.

The Statement of Significance from the Florida Site Survey records notes that this one-story masonry vernacular commercial building is influenced by Mediterranean styles, as evidenced by a parapet with pierced arches and use of pantile as decoration.

It is still enjoying 100% occupancy by all small enterprises, with most occupying individual spaces.  About 1999 the Market Basket and the Christian Book store joined facilities and removed a portion of the wall between them, thus making one double-wide unit with a single entrance.  There are some signs that this type of accommodation for tenants was done on other occasions in the past.

At first, it might appear to the observer that the original design consisted of only six units and that  soon thereafter two similar units were added on the north end.  These two units  appear identical on the fronts except that there were six arched openings in each facade, whereas 210-220 only had five.    But Mr. Richard Heard, a previous owner, states that it is his understanding that all eight units were designed and built at the same time.  Perhaps someday we will discover why the two end units are different. Another difference is that in order to gain more floor space these two units extend 10-15 feet to the rear beyond the other six units.

The records of the Volusia County Property Appraiser’s Office show the structure type to be  concrete/masonry walls, and the exterior wall as solid brick.  Total ground floor area is 11,625 square feet.  These records show the year built as 1942, but this was most likely the date of a renovation permitting. Appraised value in 2002 was in excess of $400,000.

Mr. Heard recently sold the complex and the new owner has done some remodeling, but no further information is available at this time.

CARPENTER BUILDING-Piggly Wiggly, Tampa

My research has found a photograph of a similar building called the Carpenter Building, built in Tampa, FL in the early 1920s that may be attributed to Wm. J. Carpenter.. The photo appears in the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System archives, with a caption “Piggly Wiggly Store, Hillsborough Plumbing and Hardware Company, and Horton-Ost Tire Company in the CARPENTER BUILDING at 5400-5412 Florida Avenue, Tampa, FL”. Contacts with several historical organizations in the area have not produced any further information. We know that Mr. Carpenter was practicing in St. Petersburg/Tampa at the time and the similarity of the buildings is certainly remarkable.  Perhaps some reader can tell us more of the history?  The photo may be viewed at http://zerver.thpl.lib.fl.us/archive01/248.jpg.

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