Old Pompano: Sample-McDougald House and Kester Cottages

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Have you ever played tourist in your own neighborhood? Pompano Beach is the second oldest city in Broward County and the fifth oldest in all of South Florida. I thought this warranted a little exploration of Pompano Beach’s historic neighborhoods.

I had an afternoon to spare and had been wanting to check out the Sample-McDougald house for some time.  Built in 1916 by Albert Neale Sample, and located on Dixie Highway, it was subsequently moved to 450 NE 10th Street in Pompano Beach to ensure its preservation and survival.

The McDougalds purchased the house in 1943 and their children made sure Sample-McDougald house would be placed on the historic register in 1984. In 1999, the Sample-McDougald House Preservation Society was founded and the historic house moved to its present location in 2001.

From their website I extracted some more information on the architecture of the house (www.samplemcdougaldhouse.com):

Sample-McDougald home, also known as the Old Sample Estate and Pine Haven, is a seventeen room Georgian Colonial structure constructed by Sample as a replica of a Greenville, South Carolina home he previously owned. Unquestionably one of the most architecturally significant homes in the county, the Sample-McDougald home was surrounded by an eight-acre tract of vacant property to the rear and in a northwesterly direction.

The Sample-McDougald home is built of cypress throughout, features a wide columnar porch that extends in a U-shape around the north side of the house to the rear, and faces busy Dixie Highway. A rambling two-story structure, the house has five bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom downstairs, a reception room, parlor, separate dining room, and kitchen with butler pantry. Its 11-foot ceilings and numerous windows are a good example of pre-air conditioning climate control. The foundation was reinforced with extra brick pillars and because of its superior construction it withstood the devastating hurricanes of 1926 and 1928.’

SAMSUNG CSCThe back ‘porch’ area

After a little research on the historic roots of Pompano, I realized that there were a number of interesting buildings in the vicinity of the Sample-McDougald house, so if you ever find yourself in the area, don’t forget to check out the old historic fire station and Kester Cottages from 1937.

SAMSUNG CSCKester Cottage

William Kester  was a local resident who had arrived in 1923. The following is an excerpt from www.pompanohistory.com:

‘William L. Kester had originally come to this area for the fishing, but he stayed and became a major force in the economic and social development of Pompano.
Perhaps Kester’s most lasting fame came from the rental houses he had constructed during the 1930s on the beach. These wood-frame structures, which Kester would later describe as “pepper crates,” provided employment for the local workers who built them, and a means to attract tourists to the area. The sturdy, economical “Kester cottages” soon were being built throughout Pompano, to house local residents as well as winter visitors. ‘

Two of those very cottages were preserved and moved to the ‘Founders Park’ in Pompano Beach, where they are accessible to the public at all times (outside), and open for viewing of their insides on select dates, currently 11am-3pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

A little curious fact is that 4 of the Kester Cottages were floated by barge to Key Largo in 1962, and a few were sent by truck to the Okeechobee area also.

In the same area as the Kester Cottages, you will also find the historic ‘Old Pompano Fire Station’, the city’s first fire station, and the historic center for Pompano Beach.

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