Frank Roark General Contractor
The professional team at Frank Roark General Contractor, specializes in custom, historic preservation projects. Each site presents its own challenges, yet also brings unique opportunities to convey the best features of the historic structure while updating the building for 21st century use. The historic sites our team has brought back to life include house museums, private homes, and commercial properties. We also work with our clients to renovate homes in a historically sensitive way in preparation for sale, transfer, or change-of-use.
Capen-Showalter House, Winter Park, Florida, 1885
History: In June, 2013, the people of Winter Park began a wholehearted effort to save this 1885 home from demolition. The Capen-Showalter house is one of only a few surviving buildings from the founding days of the city, purchased by James Seymour Capen for his wife and two daughters. The original home featured an old-growth, long-leaf pine balloon-frame with wood siding and pine floors; these features remained intact after a 1920s-era renovation which included stucco exterior walls and porch extensions. By 2013, the home measured more than 4000-square-feet and represented more than 130-years of Florida history. The catch: the house had to be moved from its original site or it would be demolished in six months.
Project: Frank Roark General Contractor supervised more than thirteen sub-contractors in the landmark effort to save and move the house to a new location. The house was prepared for moving, cut in half, and floated across Lake Osceola. The two 100-ton pieces—nicknamed Fred and Ginger—are now back together and being renovated by our team for the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens of Winter Park. In 2014, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation recognized this cooperative effort with an Organizational Achievement award for “Preservation Capen.” See a video of the move: www.preservationcapen.org
Casa Feliz, Winter Park, Florida, 1932
History: Noted architect James Gamble Rogers II designed this Spanish-Farmhouse style home for Robert Bruce Barbour on the shores of Lake Osceola. Named “Casa Feliz,” or “Happy House,” the brick building features an interior courtyard with fountain, spiral stairway and turret, picturesque arched porte-cochere, vaulted ceilings with hand-hewn beams, and tile roof. Rogers also designed the 1948 Florida State Supreme Court Building in Tallahassee, Florida.
Project: In 2000, the house was purchased by an owner who wished to demolish the building. The community came forward to raise the money needed to move the house across Interlachen Avenue to city property at the Winter Park Golf Course. Frank Roark General Contractor supervised the restoration of the 750-ton house on its new site. The rehabilitation including repair to the original brick work, installation of period-appropriate roof tiles acquired from a winery in Europe, and replacement of missing hand-hewn timbers using materials from a tobacco barn in Albany, Georgia. The home is now owned by the City of Winter Park and operated by the Friends of Casa Feliz. The site is open to the public for tours, community events, and rentals. http://wwwcasafeliz.squarespace.com/
Waterhouse Residence Museum, Maitland, Florida, 1884
History: In 1884, William Waterhouse and his son Charles built this home in picturesque Maitland near Lake Lily. The entire family moved in once the Victorian-era, three-bedroom house was completed. Waterhouse worked as a carpenter and builder; he designed a number of prominent structures in the area as well as pews for the local church. He served as town alderman for more than 36 years and is recognized as a major figure in the history of the area. The Waterhouse Residence was maintained by descendants of the original family for nearly a century, before the home was sold to the City of Maitland to be restored and opened as a house museum. The Art & History Museums—Maitland now operates the Waterhouse Residence Museum, which serves as a focal point for the city’s Cultural Corridor. www.artandhistory.org
Project: Frank Roark General Contractor is working with the City of Maitland to repair and paint the exterior of this 130-year-old home notable for its original wood siding and operational window shutters. Our team also stabilized areas of deterioration, repointed the old masonry chimneys, repaired the wooden front and rear porches, and conserved the wood shingle roof by removing accumulated debris with a water-cleaning process.
Art Center, Art & History Museums—Maitland, 1937
History: Noted artist Jules Andre Smith began construction of the Art Center in 1937, under the patronage of Mary Louise Curtis Bok. Started as a home, studio, and art gallery, the complex expanded over the next 22 years to include artist’s residences, a chapel, courtyards and cottages, elaborately decorated with Mayan Revival-style concrete carvings and painted murals. The expansive complex is the only National Historic Landmark in Orange County and contains hundreds of individual, custom-designed sculptural concrete works. Smith continued to add to the site each winter season until his death in 1959. The City of Maitland now owns the site and the Art & History Museums—Maitland operates and interprets this one-of-a-kind historic landmark. www.artandhistory.org
Project: Our team is working closely with the Art & History Museums—Maitland to restore a number of Smith’s outdoor concrete reliefs, sculptures, and screens that have deteriorated or cracked over time. Utilizing methods that ensure the original material is retained and not damaged, Frank Roark General Contractor is playing a key role in the long-term preservation of this historic site.
Tilden Mansion “Meadow Marsh,” Tildenville, Florida, 1910
History: The Tilden family settled Tildenville after moving to Florida in 1874. Luther Tilden built this Classical Revival-style mansion, named “Meadow Marsh,” in 1910 when he was forty years old. Tilden served as an Orange County commissioner for thirteen years and was director of the Florida Citrus Exchange. His generously proportioned Old Florida home maintains its original wooden detailing and wrap-around open porches.
Project: The architect for the owner, Oakland Park/Lake Apopka 2012 LLC, contacted Frank Roark General Contractor as project lead to restore the house in preparation for an upcoming sale. Our team of experts repaired more than 1000-square-feet of open outdoor porches, re-roofed the three-story house, and reproduced historic wood balusters and other architectural details for inclusion in the final design.