Florida Brothers Building
Constructed in 1936, the Florida Brothers Building is a commercial property located at 319 West Hale Avenue in Osceola (Mississippi County), directly across the street from the Works Progress Administration–built post office building. The structure is a one-story, flat-roofed building that features Indiana limestone and reflects the Art Deco style of architecture.
The structure was built by Thomas P. Florida at the same time that he and his brothers, Andrew J. Florida and George H. Florida, constructed the First National Bank Building on the same block. It was designed to house the brothers’ real estate business, which had enjoyed considerable success during the Great Depression, allowing the Florida Brothers to lend millions of dollars to Mississippi County farmers and homeowners. The dedication of both buildings was celebrated in Osceola with parades, picnics, and speeches given by local dignitaries.
The simple styling of the edifice makes it a unique feature along historic Hale Avenue. A stone stringcourse runs across its façade (north elevation) and east and west elevations. The inscription “Florida Bros. & Co.,” which is recessed above the stringcourse on the façade, identifies the building. A centered entrance door is outlined by a vertically laid stone projection punctuated by reeding, over which is a decorative stone carving. The entrance is flanked by two plate-glass windows topped by cut stone lintels. The design of the lintels, made to resemble dentilling, is reflected in a cut stone course that runs along the top of the façade. When it was finished, the building also had the distinction of being air conditioned at a time when that was rare.
In recognition of its historic relevance and unique architectural features, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 6, 1987. The building is occupied by the Gibson Law Firm.
For additional information:
“Florida Brothers Building.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/MS0168.nr.pdf (accessed September 27, 2021).
Toney Butler Schlesinger
Granite Bay, California
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