Page 92

19752BB

HISTORY Las Olas Lives On ... Long before multiple generations of the Bush family celebrated the holidays in Boca Grande, two other famous surnames put the center of Gasparilla Island on the map. The remote, seven-mile sliver of sand in the Gulf of Mexico owes its transition from a sleepy fishing village to an understated enclave for wealthy snowbirds – often with boldface names – to Francis B. Crowninshield and Louise du Pont Crowninshield. The Wilmington, Delaware and Boston-based husband and wife formed the pillars of its then non-existent high society when they followed Sam Whidden, a captain and founder of the local Whidden’s Marina, for some of the world’s top tarpon fishing in the early twentieth century. The tarpon must have been running because Francis hired Whidden as his lifelong fishing and hunting guide, and the couple decided to put down roots by building Las Olas, a private sanctuary just steps from the Gulf ’s lapping surf (hence its Spanish translation for “the waves). Their humble seasonal cottage has evolved into one of the island’s most historically significant, meticulously restored residence-and now, most coveted since being listed for $14.65 million in January 2017. “It’s the type of property that only comes to the market maybe a few times, if ever, throughout a career in luxury real estate,” said Richard Taylor, owner of Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty, who is handling the listing. “To represent this magnificent home is truly an honor.” Jeff Groff, director of interpretation and estate historian for Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, a 175-room du Pont estate in Winterthur, Del., also was intrigued by the home’s departure from the family’s vast real estate portfolio. “The Crowninshields took what was basically a traditional fishing camp and turned it into a wonderful welcoming house,” he said, of Las Olas’ highly personal design resulting from Francis’ artistic sense (he was a gifted, prolific watercolor painter) and their laidback lifestyle here. “Boca Grande was different from other winter retreats like Palm Beach, and they appreciated its simpler life of fishing, boating and informal entertaining.” The estate’s sophisticated scale and Old Florida elegance, from pecky cypress interiors to landscaping with native plants, have not only enabled it to survive 90 years but offer a rare chance to live in an original du Pont home. While many of the family’s elaborate Victorian houses have been razed and grander, early 20th-century estates turned into schools, clubs and museums, this private, seaside jewel continues to age beautifully. Realizing their responsibility as stewards, a boon for the community that emulates Louise’s generous spirit, the Noyes family took on the challenge of restoring the 1927 property, a twoyear process from the foundation up completed in 2009. Architects Randy Williamson and Mike Brock and McHugh•Porter Builders, Inc. brought it up to code and installed green initiatives in line with LEED certification. Their efforts salvaged and


19752BB
To see the actual publication please follow the link above