Explore Venice History

Although many buildings in the downtown area look old, only those constructed during the 1920’s have been included in this tour. In 1987 the city recognized the need to continue the architectural character of the original city and established the Architectural Review Board. The downtown area is part of the Historic Venice District administered by this Board. Any new construction or modifications to the exterior façade of a building in this district must conform to guidelines established by this Board. These standards will ensure the continuation of the “Northern Italian Renaissance” style of architecture within the city. Because of these efforts, the City of Venice will continue to be the beautiful "City on the Gulf".

200-220 St. Augustine: The Hines Building

220 St. Augustine  By the fall of 1927, Ira A. Hines had constructed this office and apartment building for an estimated cost of $22,000. Mr. Hines, described as “noted architect,” designed and built this structure for use as a “tea room and combination gift shop, antique room, drug store, beauty parlor, ladies shop, and tonsorial parlors.”

Prentiss French, the landscape architect hired by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) to supervise plantings within the city, designed the landscape plan for this structure. The fountain, while a recent addition, was described in French’s original landscape plan along with the sidewalks radiating from it. None of the plants described in the plan have survived.

According to the local paper, the Venice News, this building originally housed a tea room known as the “Garden Tea Room” because of its lush tropical plantings. This building has been used as a restaurant since it was built under various names such as the Copper Kettle, Italian Villa, and Luna’s Restaurant.

On November 8, 2010, this structure was listed in National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure in the John Nolen Plan of Venice, Florida Historic District.

Historical documentation provided by:
Venice Heritage Inc.
Photographs provided by:
Venice Museum & Archives

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