Tag Archives: florida

Photo by Bullet, 2011

Clemenzi Homestead

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This 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home was built in 1928 and sits quietly on the side of two major highways. It was once owned by World War II and Vietnam veteran, Edmond J. Clemenzi and later to be claimed by the county Solid Waste Management division.

Clemenzi, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, came to Fort Pierce in 1925, at the age of 3 with his family. He graduated from Fort Pierce High School in 1934, and went to work with his father. He joined the army in September 1941 after he learned he was about to be drafted.

He trained as an aviation mechanic at Chanute Field in Texas, but after being told to take the flight cadet examination by his sergeant, he ranked 13th out of 165 applicants and was later sent to MacDill Field in Tampa for bombardier school, where he would fly a B-26 Marauder.

His squadron went to England in May 1942 and began bombing runs over Europe and one of his 71 missions, his plane sustained 311 hits from anti-aircraft fire. On D-Day, he was also lead bombardier in the attack on German guns in Normandy.

In 1945, Clemenzi came home to Fort Pierce to operate a cement block company. He and his wife, Novella, had five children. As an Air Force Reservist, he was recalled for the Korean War where he was assigned to B-52 bombers during the Cold War.

Arthritis grounded him and he was sent to Vietnam to serve as deputy director of the 315th Special Operations Wing.

After his retirement, he spends most of his time fishing, boating and traveling in his camper.

Photographer: Bullet
Year Taken: 2011
Website: Abandoned Florida

Photo by Bullet, 2014

Harder Hall

State Archives of Florida, 19-
Photo: A postcard depicting Harder Hall, circa 19-.

During the 1920s, Florida experienced a land boom, a period in which tourism was on the rise and many hotel were built such as the Dixie Walesbilt Hotel, the Don CeSar and this one. Construction began in 1925 and was carried out by Schultze & Weaver, who were also responsible for the construction of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and was designed by William Manly King who designed many buildings in the Palm Beach area such as the historic Boynton Beach High School.

Harder Hall was named after it’s developers, Lewis F. Harder and Vincent Hall and opened in 1927 on the shores of Little Lake Jackson.

In 1953, it was bought by Victor and David Jacobson and partners Larry Tennenbaum and Sam Levy. Victor commissioned acclaimed golf architect Dick Wilson to transform the resort’s golf course into a championship layout. Victor and Eva Jacobson operated Harder Hall Golf and Tennis Camp at the hotel and was the first and last co-ed, teenage golf and tennis camp in a resort ever. During this time, the resort was host to many famous guests such as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Ali MacGraw and Mario Andretti.

Victor operated the hotel until 1982 when he sold it to Land Resources Corp., a North-Miami based time-share developer. After a fair amount of work done on the inside, the group went bankrupt and were unable to complete their plan. The hotel has sat empty since.

unknown, 194-
Photo: A photograph of Harder Hall from the 1940s.

Over the years, many groups have tried completing the renovation project but none got far. Demolition looked imminent for the building until it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

The last attempt was by an investor in Florida, who worked on the project between 2005 and 2006. Though this group got more work done than previous attempt, they ran out of funds and work stopped again. Harder Hall was put up for auction in 2007 and was purchased by the city of Sebring. The golf course is still in great condition and is used on a pay-to-play basis.

The city of Sebring is currently looking to sell the property. More information can be found on the city’s website.

Photo by Bullet, 2014
Photo(Bullet, 2014): The main lobby as you enter the hotel.

Photographer: Bullet
Year Taken: 2014
Website: Abandoned Florida

Photo by Bullet, 2014

Beyond Florida: Roughneck Mine

Photo by Bullet, 2014
Photo(Bullet, 2014): Close to the entrance, the tracks immediately split off.

Roughneck mine operated between 1886 and 1953 to supply the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Company with red iron ore. The ore that was produced was essential to the production of iron at the Sloss Furnaces, consequently making it an important element in the formation of adjacent Birmingham and Bessemer as cities.

This particular mine has some significance as it exhibited a wide variety of techniques, tracing the evolution of mining practice in Birmingham. The mines originally employed drift mining techniques before switching to slope mining in 1908. The operation was upgraded in 1929 with a 200 horsepower Hardie-Tynes steam-powered hoist and the surface plant, which also served adjoining mines, used a McCully No. 8 gyratory breaker capable of crushing 100 to 180 tons of ore each hour.

Photo by Bullet, 2014
Photo(Bullet, 2014): Portions of the mines have collapsed over the years.

In 1939, long after the other mines in the area were abandoned, Roughneck was modernized. In the early-1950s, a benification plant was built below the crusher and was the first plant in Alabama to employ heavy media separation for the improvement of ores before they were sent to the furnaces.

Operations at Roughneck were abandoned in 1952 and the area soon became an illegal dumping site. By 1993, the mine entrance was sealed and the property was ceded to the city of Birmingham and turned into a nature preserve.

Photo by Bullet, 2014
Photo(Bullet, 2014): All the paths eventually lead to caved-in portions of the mine or flooded tunnels.