R.I.P. Wahl Snyder Landmark in Miami Shores

Another sad day for historic preservation efforts after mid-century architect, Wahl Snyder’s own home, was demolished yesterday in Miami Shores.  I wrote a post on FB that received quite the commentary from locals:

Sad day when no one sees the value of an architectural landmark and gets demolished to make room for some nondescript home.

This home being demolished as we speak in Miami Shores is not just a Wahl Snyder home, but the architect’s own home!! Shameful

“Wahl Snyder is renowned as the architect who introduced the split-level house (1939) and townhouse designs (1964) to the Miami area. Snyder’s architectural hallmark was a keen interest in bringing the outside world into a house’s living space. Many of his designs feature open garden spaces within the building’s frame, outdoor patios which seamlessly blend into interior space and large overhanging roofs which shade the building, allowing doors and windows to remain open. Even as air conditioning freed architects to isolate buildings completely from the elements, Snyder continued to make the outdoors an integral part of his designs, never forgetting climate’s central importance to Florida and Caribbean life”

The home sold an additional time after my 2007 article for $1,070,000 in January of 2020.

Here’s what I want to clear up.  This article is about bringing awareness and not back lashing the architect and new home owners (although they will forever be known as the ones that demolished Wahl Snyder’s home).  It’s about bringing forth education and encouraging home owners to designate their homes historic, in order to avoid unfortunate events like this one.

Coral Gables automatically designates homes historic after they are a particular age.  Miami Beach has a 6 month demolition moratorium to give the city time to assess the integrity of the home, and other cities have other ways of protecting these structures.  The conflict always comes down to having property rights – doesn’t the owner have the right to do anything they want since they purchased it?  Do we, as citizens have any say on what happens to our history?  Will there only be photos to remind us of the past, of our journey and evolution?

No one claims that restoring a historic property is easy and is not costly.  The easy way out is always to demolish and build new – we are, sadly, a disposable society.  RIP Wahl Snyder Home

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