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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Farm Village and Villa and Gardens

The Farm Village (courtesy of Vizcaya)
Historian Arva Moore Parks sent me the following regarding the changes going on at the Museum of Science. 

Twenty fifteen will bring new opportunities for two important Miami institutions. The Museum of Science will vacate its present site and move to its spectacular new home in Museum Park.  Besides Miami finally having a state-of-the art-science museum, the move will also make it possible for Vizcaya to reunite an important part of the historic Vizcaya Farm Village with the Villa and Gardens.   

The Village, created by James Deering, is an historically important part of Vizcaya and it holds a pivotal role in Vizcaya‘s future as a community resource and world-class historic destination. In another era, before people realized the singular importance of the site, the Farm Village’s glass greenhouse was demolished and the Museum of Science built a new facility that was welcomed by the public. In the early 1970s, the Historical Museum of Southern Florida also moved to the site—a step forward for them. The Dade County Parks Department occupied the remaining Farm Village buildings — including the garage, dairy barn and chicken coop. Most people did not even know the Village existed or was part of the Vizcaya story. This will soon change.

Vizcaya ‘s leadership is in the process of updating plans for transforming the Village, including the Science Museum site, into a vital civic space that relates to Vizcaya and serves the needs of our community. An important part of any plan for the Village is the restoration of a green space which once served as James Deering’s farm. It would relate to Vizcaya and South Florida history, provide hands-on gardening and farming opportunities for our community, and better connect Vizcaya with various countywide open-space, pedestrian and bicycle initiatives. I have participated in this process and support it, and have confidence that Vizcaya‘s volunteer and staff leadership will arrive at the right solution for the Village property.

As a historian and preservationist, I now realize that the non-historic Science Museum building should not have been built on the Vizcaya site and that it should eventually be demolished. I am confident Vizcaya‘s leadership will arrive at informed recommendations for how to handle the non-historic Science Museum building in the short and long term. I also know that we are on the same page in seeing the need for a visitor center at the Farm Village site to continue to illuminate the story of James Deering and his singular contribution to South Florida. 

Arva Moore Parks
Miami, FL

There is so much history here, it's nice to see it preserved. Arva tells me that the chicken coop has egg shaped windows and the dairy barn has a cow jumping over the moon weathervane. It is all still in tact, all these years later. She sent me this photo from December 31, 1918. You can clearly see Vizcaya on the bay and there behind it is the cleared out land of the Farm Village.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should stop by some day and see what volunteers have done. There is a beautiful vegetable garden !

January 10, 2014 3:25 PM  

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