Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The home as a consumptive structure

In the late 1890’s the percentage of families moving to Florida for permanent was extremely low. In Winter Park itself there were only a couple of families who had moved to the area and built residencies. The home in the south quickly became an extremely important structure due to the extreme climate. Florida is very swampy and muggy; it gets up to 100 degrees during the summer. Hurricanes were also a big concern, if the structure couldn’t hold up to high force winds then what was the point of building it at all?

The main purpose of Winter Park was to create a luxury living community for wealthy northerners to live in during the summer. This meant that one of the main selling points was where the people would live and what they would live in. If a wealth banker from New York showed up in Winter Park expecting a beautiful house looking over the side of Lake Virginia, but instead found a shack with a leaky roof and no foundation then his perception of living in Florida would be completely negative and would prevent future wealthy snowbirds from moving to town and stimulating the economy.

The home is possibly the most important consumptive structure in Winter Park during the late 1890’s. How well they were constructed and the beauty and safety of the area, which it is in, was the major concern. People of that time were becoming more and more consumer conscious; by which they began to spend more and not necessarily the money they had. The artificiality of where someone lives became a factor for when people bought homes. As a result, the more wealthy homeowners in Winter Park and the nicer the homes, the higher the property taxes. This money goes straight into the local economy and will ensure that there will be better schools, roads, and other public building because there is more discretionary spending because of the large amount of money at the town’s disposal.

The home in Winter Park represents what level of consumption the community is at: wealthy. It is the product that ensures that the town has the income to upkeep what is considered a “luxury living” community and provide a home for those who can afford it.

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