My Grandfather on my mother's side, Harold Steward, was a remarkable man.
He was a leading Architect in South Florida for over fifty years - extending his design services abroad on occasion as well.
He was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 1896 and attended Syracuse University in New York graduating with a degree in architecture.
he joined the Navy and served during World War I.
Coral Gables City Hall
Coral Gables City Hall
He and my Grandmother, Marcelia Bearmore, wed in 1918 and moved to Miami in 1924.
They had four children, my mother Virginia, her sister Janet and their brothers Jerry and Jack.
My mother describes the Steward family in the attached, hand written, Virginia Mackle Notes.
Miami - at the time the Stewards arrived - was in the midst of a real estate and construction boom.
Upon his arrival in Miami Harold Steward formed a partnership with Phineas Paist - another accomplished designer - and for the next sixteen years practiced as Paist and Steward, Architects.
They designed many of the early civic structures of Coral Gables including the Collonade Building and the Granada Shops (later the Charade Restaurant) in 1925 as well as the conceptual plan for the Merrick Building in 1926 and Coral Gables City Hall in 1927
By the end of the decade the boom had turned to bust. In 1926 Miami was struck by a devastating hurricane which not only brought destruction to the city but much negative publicity to South Florida. Following the hurricane by three years was the market crash of 1929 and - on its heels - the Depression of the 1930s.
During the Depression, their firm completed several Work Progress Administration (WPA) projects most notably the Coral Gables Women's Club and Library and the Coral Gables Police and Fire Station. They also designed the Coral Gables Methodist Church in 1933.
At Paist and Steward Granddad also designed the U.S. Post Office building in Miami, the Douglas Entrance Apartments in Coral Gables - now an Historical Preservation site, the Belle Isle Courts Apartments on Miami Beach and the Surfside Town Hall in Surfside.
Granddad and his partners designed many South Florida homes during his long career.
In 1938 Frank Mackle Senior and his sons contracted with Paist and Steward to do the design of their first homes in Delray Beach.
In 1940, after his partner's death, Granddad teamed up with John and Coulton Skinner and formed the firm of Steward and Skinner Associates.
During World War II Steward and Skinner were the designers on several projects in Key West. These included a hospital for the Navy and design of the airport terminal building for the city of Key West. On some of these buildings Steward and Skinner were the architects and the Mackles were the General Contractors.
Also during the War Granddad served as head of the local Federal Housing Authority in Coral Gables.
Over the next thirty years many of Miami's most notable design projects were awarded to his firm.
Among many other projects - they designed the Miami Seaquarium, Tropical Park Race Track and Gulfstream Park Racetrack. The did all of the original design work at Mercy Hospital. Their projects also included Richard's Department Store in downtown Miami, much of the early work at the University of Miami, the Federal Office Building and the old Public Library which stood in Bayfront Park for many years.
Other projects included the Dade County Auditorium, Brickell Townhouse, the Eastern Airlines and Pan American executive and administration buildings in Miami as well as an addition to the Coral Gables City Hall on which Granddad had done the original design work years earlier. Much of the early work at Jackson Memorial Hospital was done by the firm including the University of Miami Science Building and Medical School.
Many other hospitals throughout Dade County and the State of Florida were done by Steward and Skinner.
Steward and Skinner - in the 1950's - did the original terminal at the Miami International Airport - one of the first airport buildings designed for the jet age. Over the next twenty years much of the building design work of the Miami International Airport was done by the firm of Steward and Skinner.
As a result of the attention they received from the Miami International Airport they were awarded the job of designing the first jetport in Bogota Colombia.
Granddad was a director of Barnett Bank. He was active in the Rotary Club and was involved in the operations of LaGorce Country Club.
Granddad and Grandma lived on Sunset Island #4 from 1950 until the 1970s when they moved in to a home on Sunset Island #1 where they lived until the end of their lives.
Grandad was a very active man owning a sailboat for many years. But his real passion was golf. He was a life-long member of LaGorce Country Club where he played frequently. He was also a frequent visitor to the race track and an enthusiast for plants and flowers. In fact, his death in 1987 at the age of 91 resulted in part from a fall he took from a ladder while pruning a tree at his residence!