by Murray Balkcom
Seaside, Florida is “hot” even in the winter. Not too many years ago, you could walk around Seaside in January and February and see a mostly empty beach village. Times have changed greatly. Today, as you walk around Seaside in our relative warm winter, you will find numerous things to do and see a beach neighborhood which is full of life. The high temperatures in winter are mild, in the low 70′s. You will find interesting programs to attend, such as the ever-growing 30A Songwriters Festival and Escape to Create, a little-known artist residency program based in Seaside, celebrating its 20th year! Robert Davis, Seaside Town Founder, is often seen riding his bicycle around the new-urbanist community this time of year. Winter is also the time when the Seaside Institute awards the Seaside Prize to “individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the quality and character of communities.” This year’s winner is Scott Merrill, architect and lead designer for Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects.
Behind the scenes, the Seaside Town Council has much more going on with a week long charrette, where anything and everything about Seaside is discussed in numerous meetings and seminars.
The Seaside Institute has been compiling much historical information about Seaside, including some incredible
the early days of Seaside. Can you imagine buying a home or lot in the middle of nowhere with the sales person promising you that the middle of nowhere will grow to be the heart of a global new-urbanist movement? That would be a tough sell with only small bushy Sand Live Oak Trees and a few planted Palms growing on white sand. Really, in the middle of nowhere? Today, Seaside is studied world-wide by community planners and architects. Seaside is only 31 years old, but has the charm of an old historic beach town. The town inspires artists and dreamers, and is the ideal sanctuary for many hard-working people, if only for a few weeks a year until retirement. I’d like to share with you, some of the
Seaside Institute’s photos of the early days of Seaside. They are tiny treasures which show the incredible vision of Robert Davis. At the time he was developing Seaside, many people told him that it would never work, especially not in the middle of nowhere. (Robert’s story reminds me of the story of Fred Smith, founder of another impossible venture known as FedEx.) Thanks to the Seaside Institute and the Seaside Town Council for the following photos.