News & Announcements

Posted: February 16, 2017
Florida Trust Begins 2017 with New Leadership

The statewide non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage is seeking nominations for the Florida’s 11 to Save program, the annual list of Florida’s most endangered historic places, and its Florida Preservation Awards

Tallahassee, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2017) – The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation began the year with a new executive director and a renewed commitment to connect with, protect and share the diverse historic places throughout the state.
Melissa Wyllie Headshot
Melissa Wyllie began the year as the new executive director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Wyllie, a Floridian and dedicated preservationist, returns to Florida after 10 years in Nashville where she served as President of Historic Nashville, consulted for the Tennessee Preservation Trust and collaborated on preservation campaigns throughout the state including working to secure Music Row as a National Treasure. In Nashville, she was recognized as a Female Entrepreneur to Watch and named to the 2016 40 Under 40 by the Nashville Business Journal. Under her new leadership the Florida Trust will connect with a broader community to protect places of architectural, historic and archeological importance throughout the state.

Nominations are open for both the Florida’s 11 to Save program and the Florida Preservation Awards, celebrating 38 years of acknowledging those making a difference in historic preservation in their communities. The two programs represent a significant opportunity for the Florida Trust to hear from preservationists around the state.

“We believe this will be an exciting and successful year for the Florida Trust,” Clay Henderson, Board President of the Florida Trust said. “We are confident Melissa will head the organization in a dynamic direction while keeping its roots in place. Her broad skill set and experience will help us reach and engage the community to raise awareness and protect Florida’s historic places.”

The Florida Trust will continue to expand this year, broadening its audience and membership to better serve a diverse state. In support of that goal, the Florida Trust asks for community input through nominations to Florida’s 11 to Save and the Florida Preservation Awards.

The Florida’s 11 to Save list reflects the preservation concerns of the people of Florida, and helps to guide the organization’s advocacy and education focus for the year. The 2017 Florida’s 11 to Save will be announced at the Florida Preservation Conference in St. Petersburg on Thursday, May 18.

“Historic places are an important part of our neighborhoods and our shared Florida story,” Wyllie said. “We have to be the voice for all of Florida, collaborating with communities to advocate and protect our state’s extraordinary heritage. I look forward to working together to preserve Florida’s unique history.”

The Florida Preservation Awards recognize significant contributions to the preservation of Florida’s historic resources through outstanding historic preservation projects, programs and achievements by individuals and organizations. The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the 2017 Annual Preservation Conference in St. Petersburg on Friday, May 19.

Additional information, including nomination forms for both Florida’s 11 to Save and the Florida Preservation Awards are available online. The nomination deadline for both programs is Tuesday, February 28.

The 2017 Florida Preservation Conference is May 18 – 20 in St. Petersburg, and provides an opportunity for education and advocacy for Florida’s preservation community, as well as hands-on workshops and tours. This year’s theme is Preservation Reinvented for Art and Enterprise. Additional information about the conference is available on the Florida Trust website“”.

Media interested in attending the Florida Preservation conference, the Florida’s 11 to Save media event or the awards ceremony may be added to the media list by emailing

About the Florida Trust
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is the state’s non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary heritage and history. Founded in 1978, the Florida Trust has collaborated to save irreplaceable Florida treasures like the Historic Florida Capitol and is a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Learn more at and follow on Twitter: @FloridaTrustHP.

Posted: January 24, 2017
We Want to Know your Florida - Share your Preservation Stories

The Florida Trust is your nonprofit dedicated to preserving and protecting Florida’s unique historic places. We represent a big state full of different people, histories and unique stories. Do you have a Florida preservation story? We would love to hear your story and build our knowledge and understanding of our members.

Here are some ideas or points of interest:Frank Willis

  • Successes, wins, losses and/or threatened historic sites, including structures, landmarks and archaeological sites
  • Local preservation award winners and upcoming educational programs
  • Inspirational stories related to historic preservation
  • Governmental issues and updates as it relates to preservation and saving our sense of place

Library Box - Ponce InletAll of these stories will help build our knowledge of Florida’s historic places, and some may be shared in our publications or social media.

Here’s how you can share your story: message the Florida Trust on Facebook, send email to or call us at (850) 224-8128.

Posted: January 18, 2017
Member Merger a Win-Win in Business & Preservation

SpecializedProperty_Jodiw/GroupLong Standing Member and Florida Trust Trustee Announces Merger.

Tampa, Florida, January 17, 2017: Specialized Property Services, Inc. recently purchased the window and door restoration company CCS Restoration, owned by Florida Trust Trustee Jodi Rubin. The combined team of craftsmen and women at Specialized can undertake complete historic preservation projects across Florida.

For more information visit the website.

Posted: January 17, 2017
Call for Nominations - 2017 Preservation Awards

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announces its 2017 Call for Nominations for historic preservation awards, with a deadline for submitting nominations of February 28, 2017.

Those interested in nominating an individual or project for award recognition can view complete information on the 2017 Call for Nominations by downloading the announcement located at the bottom of this page. The announcement includes a description of all categories and processes for submitting nominees.

Each year the Florida Trust solicits nominations for outstanding examples of preservation of architectural, archaeological and cultural resources in Florida. Award winners in a variety of categories are announced and celebrated each year at the Florida Trust’s annual conference, this year held May 18-20, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Florida Trust also chooses individuals to receive the Carl Weinhardt Award, the Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award, and the Roy E. Graham Award.

  • The Carl Weinhardt Award is given to an individual to recognize his or her significant achievements and leadership in non-governmental state historic preservation arenas.
  • The Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award is given to an individual whose life exemplifies the guardianship of Florida’s historic properties through philosophy and actions.
  • The Roy E. Graham Award is given to an individual who has made a long-term contribution to the field of historic preservation education, ensuring that future generations understand the importance of preservation of the architectural, historical and archaeological heritage of Florida.

View the list of former winners or learn more about our preservation awards under the “What We Do” tab of this website.

Nomination Form

Posted: December 31, 2016
2016 is About to be History

Miami Marine StadiumIt’s the final day of 2016, a crazy year of ups and downs for the preservation community – particularly in Florida. Before we welcome 2017, let’s take a look at five big preservation wins, and five big losses and concerns.

Big Wins

1. This year, Florida and the nation commemorated 50 years of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Act laid the groundwork for programs and procedural protections that are fundamental to historic preservation efforts today. A big part of the Preservation Act is protecting archaeological sites, so we are incredibly grateful our partnership with Florida’s Division of Historical Resources and other concerned organizations and individuals led to the defeat of the proposed Isolated Finds bills during the 2016 legislative session.

2. There was also positive movement in preserving historic places in Florida in 2016, with the Division of Historical Resources reached 74 Certified Local Governments (one of the highest in the nation) and achieving 40 Main Street Communities throughout the state, including a new historic Main Street district in Northwood Road in Palm Beach.

3. The 53-year-old Miami Marine Stadium is designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a National Treasure, one of the historic places that reveal the richness of the American story. After appearing on the National Trust’s 11-Most Endangered list in 2009, the Stadium is well on its way to being saved. In November, Miami commissioners voted to borrow up to $45 million to restore the unique piece of Miami history.

4. The Old Boynton Beach High School, built in 1927, is under plans to be saved from demolition and to create a new community hub. The High School was threatened for many years, and was included on the Florida Trust’s 2014 Endangered-11 list.

5. There has been some exciting preservation wins in Pensacola this year, including the groundwork for a new ordinance preventing demolition without review of a home older than 50 years. Also, the discovery of the Tristan de Luna settlement, the site of a 1559 Spanish expedition led by Tristan de Luna which was doomed by a hurricane. Related to that expedition was the discovery by the University of West Florida archaeology program of a third shipwreck from the Tristan de Luna fleet in Pensacola Bay.

Losses, Big Concerns 2.  Belleview Biltmore Hotel  Pool View

1. Probably no single preservation story attracted more attention this year than the fate of the Belleview Biltmore in Pinellas County. For a decade the National Trust collaborated with preservation organizations, including the Florida Trust and Friends of the Belleview Biltmore, to find a workable solution for saving the building. The hotel was included on the National Trust’s 2005 list of Most Endangered Historic Places and the Florida Trust’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 Endangered-11. Unfortunately new owners of the 1897 hotel and resort were ultimately not convinced. Demolition began in 2015 and was completed this year as developers prepare for building condos and townhouses in the iconic hotel’s place. The silver lining on the project is that the original lobby and 35 guest rooms have been preserved, moved and, according to developers, will be turned into a boutique hotel.

2. On October 7, Hurricane Matthew brushed along the East Coast of Florida bringing high winds, a significant storm surge and flooding. The storm was devastating for many historic property owners and historic buildings, particularly on the coast. In Summer Haven in St. Johns County the storm carved a new inlet making a portion of Old A1A, along with several houses, an island. Wood-frame homes over 100 years old were devastated by the storm surge. The storm also created archaeological site damage along the East Coast of Florida.

3. Riviera Beach’s Spanish Courts Cottages, an irreplaceable piece of Old Florida, were destroyed this year. Spanish Courts had appeared several times on the Florida’s Trust Must Watch list. The 77-year motel with stucco cottages, red-tile roofs and wrought-iron gates opened for business in 1939.

4. After a tense legal battle, the historic John Sunday House in Pensacola was demolished this year. The home was built by and lived in by one of the most prominent black Pensacolians of the early 20th century. Members of the John Sunday Society will continue to work in Pensacola to share the story and importance of John Sunday.

5. In 2016, Florida experienced the continued looting of archaeological sites on state lands and sovereignty submerged lands. These looters were caught near a site where researchers have found stone tools that may be up to 14,550 years old. Here is some great information and answers to frequently asked questions about archaeology in Florida.

So, while there was good news in 2016 there is still much work to be done to preserve Florida’s unique history and heritage. We have learned from this year and are ready for the challenges ahead.

Melissa Wyllie Trinity Church
A good way to kick off 2017? Nominate a historic place that matters to you for the 2017 Endangered-11.

Have a very happy new year – I look forward to working together in 2017!

Melissa Wyllie is the Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Posted: December 20, 2016
A House Can Have A Soul

Spring_House_Lewis Family 1950sThe Florida Trust for Historic Preservation promotes the preservation of the architectural, historical and archaeological heritage of Florida. At its heart, we exist to remember and protect the buildings and places which stand as a record to our shared history.

Spring_House_ChristmasTreeIn Tallahassee, there is a turn off to a small road almost hidden in the bustle of North Monroe Street. It’s four lanes of asphalt and speeding cars across from a Waffle House and a Baymont Inn, but sixty years ago it was the middle of nowhere.

If you follow that street down a small hill and around a corner, offset from the street so it is barely visible if you aren’t looking, you will find an architectural masterpiece – the only private home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in the state of Florida.

The Spring House is an accomplishment in its own right. Today, architectural students and engineers that visit the property don’t understand how the upstairs is suspended over the living room downstairs. The house is constructed of graceful curves and glass walls. The design is part of Wright’s hemicycle style of concentric and intersecting circles – the last creative phase in Wright’s career.

In the 1979 nomination for the National Register of Historic Places, then Florida Historic Preservation Officer J. Rodney Little said, “The plan of the main bloc is composed of intersecting circles resembling a boat.” And that’s what visitors see as they pull into the grounds of Spring House, a boat floating amid a lush 10-acre property filled with native plants, ferns, pines, magnolias and live oaks.

Known for its architectural significance, the Spring House is also a remarkable Florida story.

Byrd Lewis Mashburn grew up in the Spring House. Her parents were Clifton and George Lewis. She is the only person who has called each of the three bedrooms in the house her own, and knows the unique traits of each– which has the most light, which one a dove flew through a window. Today, she is also the president of the Spring House Institute, a non-profit organization seeking to purchase and restore the building to Wright’s original plan and ultimately create a teaching institute and public uses.

The house is filled with original details and irreplaceable building materials, like huge custom-made glass walls, “Ocala” limestone/concrete block with deeply raked horizontal joints, tidewater red cypress, green Formica counters in a circular kitchen (Formica was new at the time) and a round table custom made to fit in the living area beside a curved fireplace.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were ardent admirers of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. And in the early 1950s they had grown out of their house in the Los Robles neighborhood in Tallahassee. There were four children, and the yard in their current house was small. The Lewis’ needed space – both inside and outside of their home.

Mrs. Lewis read a magazine story her mother-in-law shared with her from Better Homes & Gardens with the title “A House Can Have a Soul.” She agreed, and knew that is what she wanted for her own home.

After World War II, the Lewises joined a group who wanted to do everything in their power to prevent another world war. In 1950 Mr. and Mrs. Lewis attended one of the organization’s meetings at Florida Southern College.

Florida Southern in Lakeland is on the National Register of Historic Places itself, as home of the largest single-site collection of Wright architecture in the world.

Because of this connection, it turns out Mr. Wright was at the College for an event during the same time – and the Lewises managed to meet him and Mrs. Lewis asked if he would design a new home for their family in Tallahassee. Amazingly, he said yes, and worked with the family over the next five years to make the unique Spring House a reality. The family lived in the house when construction finished in 1954 until the spring of 2010.

A coincidental meeting in a small town in central Florida created an irreplaceable treasure for Florida, and an interesting note in the career of what many people consider one of the greatest modern architects.

Today, the Spring House Institute is working to preserve the architecture, the story and the land the building sits on.

“I care about the land as much as I do about the house,” Ms. Mashburn said. “The house draws you outside. The wood going through the glass to the balcony draws you outside. You feel outside even when you are inside.”

The Spring House appeared on the Florida Trust list of most endangered places in 2015 and the National Trust’s list of most endangered places in America in 2014. Today, it needs our help. Please visit the website to learn more about giving, and tours.

Do you have a Florida story you would like to share? Please email me, or share it with us on Twitter at @FloridaTrustHP and hashtag: #MyFlorida.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Melissa Wyllie Trinity Church

Happy Holidays!

Melissa Wyllie is the Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Posted: December 09, 2016
Call for Nominations--Florida's 11 to Save (formerly 11-Most Endangered Historic Sites)

Milton Historic District
Each year, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announces Florida’s 11 to Save as part of the Annual Statewide Preservation Conference. The 11 to Save program is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the urgent need to save Florida’s neglected or threatened historic resources. We do that to empower local preservationists and preservation groups in their efforts to preserve Florida’s rich history.

The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2017 11 to Save in Florida is Noon on March 3, 2017.

The 11 to Save will be announced on May 18, 2017 at the Opening Session of the Florida Trust’s 39th Anniversary Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Nomination Form

Posted: November 09, 2016
The Florida Trust welcomes a new Executive Director, Melissa Wyllie to its Tallahassee Staff
Melissa Wyllie Headshot

The Florida Trust announces hiring a new Executive Director, Melissa Wyllie who’s first day on the job in Tallahassee will be November 28, 2016.

Melissa Wyllie is a passionate preservationist, writer and nonprofit leader, as well as an award-winning communications strategist and successful entrepreneur. In November 2016, after a decade living in Nashville, Tennessee, she returned to her home state of Florida to serve as Executive Director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
In Tennessee, Melissa served on the boards of Historic Nashville, Inc. and Historic Lebanon, and was a consultant for the Tennessee Preservation Trust. From 2013 to 2015 she served as president of Historic Nashville, focusing on public outreach and strategic positioning to support the organization’s mission. As president, she worked with city, state and national organizations to save irreplaceable Nashville landmarks like Music Row and grow the organization’s membership. Under Melissa’s leadership, Historic Nashville sharpened its focus on education and advocacy, and emerged as a leading voice in the national conversation around the importance of historic preservation during a period of unprecedented growth for Nashville.

Prior to joining the Florida Trust Melissa led marketing and strategic communications for a publicly-traded healthcare company and a highly-acclaimed PR agency, as well as founding and running her own successful integrated communications firm. She has been recognized as a leading female entrepreneur and in 2016 was named to Nashville’s ’40 Under 40’ by the Nashville Business Journal.

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Melissa is working to finish her master degree in Public Service Management from Cumberland University. She, along with her husband and two daughters, now lives in Tallahassee. You can follow her on Twitter at @mswyllie.

Posted: October 25, 2016
2017 Preservation Awards--Call for Nominations

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation continues to accept nominations for the 2017 Historic Preservation Awards, with a deadline for submitting by February 28, 2017.

Nominations may be for an individual or project. A (printable) detailed description of all categories and processes for submitting nominees can be viewed by downloading the Call for Nominations located at the bottom of this article.

Each year the Florida Trust solicits nominations for outstanding examples of preservation of architectural, archaeological and cultural resources in Florida. Award winners in a variety of categories are announced and celebrated each year at the Florida Trust’s annual conference.

This year’s award winners will be announced at the Recognition Ceremony scheduled for Friday, May 19, 2017, during the 39th Annual Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, followed by a ticketed reception honoring the awardees.

View the list of former winners or learn more about our preservation awards under the “What We Do” tab of this website.

Nomination Form

Posted: August 04, 2016
NSDAR 2016-2017 Grant Cycle Open to Non-profit Applicants

The Fort San Luis Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) announce a grant opportunity for non-profit organizations.

Funding is offered to community projects which support the NSDAR’s mission of Historic Preservation, Education and Patriotism. This Special Grants Program is open to organizations determined by IRS to be public charities under section 501© (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Grants of $1,000-$2,000 are encouraged, with a maximum amount of $10,000. Applicants are required to match the grant award one-to-one allowing for broader distribution of funds. A wide variety of funding sources are eligible as local match. Projects must be completed within one year of initial grant funding (official grant year is July 1 – June 30).

Organizations wishing to apply for the grants must submit a letter of intent along with contact information via email before October 15, 2016. Email to

For more information on the program and how to apply, visit the website.