Seacrest Boulevard Architectural Styles

Seacrest Boulevard Architectural Styles


Seacrest Boulevard

Located along Seacrest Boulevard between Ocean Avenue and 2nd Avenue are a number of residential structures which illustrate a variety of designs in the Frame Vernacular and Mission architectural styles.

The following photographs show three examples of one-story Frame Vernacular houses which incorporate wood siding of various sizes and a two-story example where the wood frame has been coated with stucco. Decorative elements include porches, shutters, exposed rafter tails, decorative vents, and shutters. Two of the examples also include chimneys with decorative caps.

Frame Vernacular housesFrame Vernacular houses

The following photographs illustrate three examples of residential structures built in the Mission style which incorporate stucco coated wood frames, shaped parapets, chimneys with decorative caps, and arched openings and window surrounds.

Mission architectural stylesMission architectural styles

The City of Boynton Beach contains fine examples of residential structures designed in various architectural styles. The following provides a description of the most common styles and lists their characteristic design elements.

Frame Vernacular

Frame Vernacular sketchFrame Vernacular
Although pattern books were sometimes used, vernacular buildings were normally built without plans by local builders using traditional construction techniques passed from one generation to the next. The design of the buildings was based on local needs and traditions, available materials, the environment, and technological capabilities. As technology improved in the late 1800s, many of the building elements were standardized through mass production. This style of construction was most prevalent in the City from approximately 1900 to 1945.

Typical construction is of a wood frame clad with horizontal siding, stucco, board and batten, or asbestos shingle with a pitched gable or hip roof surfaced with composition shingles. The structures are one to two-and-a-half stories in height and foundations normally consist of brick or concrete block piers.

The term ‘vernacular’ refers to a structure that is not of a pure design style but is loosely based on the features of other architectural styles. Therefore, although decorative detailing is normally minimal, when it is incorporated, the details reflect decorative elements from other styles such as Mediterranean Revival, Mission, Classical, etc. Common decorative elements include jig-sawn woodwork, exposed rafter tails, decorative vents, brackets, simple columns, trim and corbelling on chimneys.

Masonry Vernacular

Rusticated Concrete BlockRusticated Concrete Block
In Florida, masonry construction was far less common than wood framing until around the 1880s when brick became more readily available due to the expansion of the rail network. As new colors and textures were introduced, brick was increasingly used for the construction of commercial buildings, private residences, apartments, schools, and governmental buildings. Beginning in the 1920s, hollow tile and concrete block became widely used as these materials were as strong as brick, but were lighter and cheaper. In later years concrete block almost exclusively replaced brick as a structural material.

Very few pre-1950s masonry vernacular buildings remain in the City. A survey, undertaken in 1996, lists only seven examples comprising four residences, two commercial structures, and the Elementary School. Since the 1950s, many masonry vernacular buildings have been built due to a significant increase in the City’s population and the low cost of building with concrete block. There are also a limited number of brick examples from this time.

Similar to frame vernacular buildings, masonry vernacular structures are relatively simple and built using local materials. Examples may be one or two stories in height with a hip or gable roof surfaced with composition shingles. The primary exterior material is stucco although there are examples of rusticated concrete block. Ornamentation is limited but can include quoins, decorative stonework and brickwork, and decorative vents. Many buildings from the 1950s onwards incorporate a masonry veneer of brick, stone, or rock.


Mission styleMission style
Mission styleMission style
The Mission style originated in California during the 1880s and 1890s in response to increased interest in the state’s colonial Spanish heritage, particularly the ecclesiastical architecture of the Franciscan missions. The style was widely popularized when the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads applied it to railroad stations and hotels throughout their systems. The style became popular in Florida during the Land Boom of the 1920s. Almost all of the existing Mission style buildings in the City were built between 1920 and 1930.

Construction is normally of a wood frame coated with smooth or textured stucco resting on concrete block piers or a continuous foundation. Structures may be one or two stories in height with a flat roof surfaced with tar and gravel or composition roll. Some examples include pitched roof elements covered with barrel tiles. Porches are typical on the main façade although many have been enclosed. Decorative elements include shaped parapets, scuppers, and moldings.

Mediterranean Revival

Mediterranean-influenced designMediterranean-influenced design
Spanish and other Mediterranean-influenced styles were most common in states with a tradition of Spanish colonial architecture such as California, Texas, and Florida. The principal Mediterranean-derived styles were Italian Renaissance, Mission, and Spanish Colonial Revival. Spanish Revival architecture, popularized at the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition at San Diego, swept through California, the southwest, and Florida within a few years.

Florida’s Spanish heritage and semi-tropical climate favored the use of Mediterranean designs. The roots of Mediterranean-influenced architecture in Florida can be traced to the Spanish, Italian Renaissance, and Moorish Revival churches and hotels in St. Augustine developed by Henry Flagler and others during the 1880s. During the great Florida land boom of the 1920s architects and builders applied Mediterranean-influenced designs to a wide spectrum of buildings. One of the most significant architects associated with Mediterranean-influenced architecture was Addison Mizner.

Most examples of this style in the city are constructed of a wood frame coated with stucco although a limited number are built from concrete block or clay tile. The structures are one to two stories in height with either a flat roof surfaced with tar and gravel or a pitched roof surfaced with barrel tiles. Decorative detailing may include plaster and terra cotta features, arches, columns, window and door surrounds, cornices, quoins, parapets; exposed rafters, brackets, medallions, ceramic tile, iron grilles, and balconies.

Minimal Traditional

Minimal Traditional is a residential style that was popular from just before World War II through the 1950s. The mass-production of these small houses and their simplicity of design offered an affordable option for many first time homeowners including servicemen returning from the war. The Minimal Traditional style is a simple form based on the Tudor style popularized in the 1920s and 1930s; however, the steep Tudor roof pitch is lowered and almost all ornamentation is omitted. The simplicity of the design is a character-defining feature of this style.

Structures are one story in height and construction is of frame and clapboard, or masonry and stucco. Roofs consist of a low-pitched gable with minimal eaves overhang. There is normally a front-facing gable and a chimney. Windows may be wood frame sash, metal awning or fixed metal. Some examples have a small portico at the front entrance and some include a single car garage or car port which may be attached or detached. Decorative detailing is limited; however, it may include shutters, gable vents, quoins, and masonry veneers.


Ranch Style sketchRanch style
The Ranch style originated in California in the 1930s and became the most dominant style throughout the country in the 1950s and 1960s. Its popularity was due to the availability of the automobile which allowed people to travel beyond existing streetcar routes into the suburbs where land was more affordable. As a result, houses were built on much larger parcels that accommodated one-story dwellings of sprawling proportions. Ranch houses emphasize this by maximizing the façade width which, in most cases, is further increased by a built-in garage.

The one-story dwellings normally have low-pitched roofs surfaced with concrete tiles or asphalt shingles. The roof may be hipped or gabled and will usually have a moderate or wide eave overhang that may be boxed or open to expose the rafters. Cladding may be of brick, stone or wood and may sometimes be a combination of materials. Ribbon windows and large picture windows are common in the living areas. Modest detailing may include decorative iron or wooden porch supports and decorative shutters1.

  • 1. City of Boynton Beach Historic District Design Guidelines.