Coconut Grove’s Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart recently commemorated the legacy of El Jardin, one of the school’s estates located near the entrance gate on Carrollton’s Barat campus. Built in 1918 by Pittsburgh industrialist John Bindley and designed by renowned architect Richard Kiehnel, El Jardin is considered to be one of the oldest and best-preserved examples of Mediterranean architecture in South Florida.
El Jardin is the earliest known full-fledged Mediterranean Revival-style structure remaining in Miami and is noted for its superb design, detail, materials, and craftsmanship. In his design, Kiehnel introduced an architectural mode to South Florida which would prove to be the most influential in the area’s history.
Detailing and craftsmanship are embodied in such features as its applied ornamentation on the frieze, elaborate central doorway, finely articulated bayfront façade, and its artificially aged appearance.
During the last 100 years, the property has gone through several different owners. In 1961, the Society of the Sacred Heart purchased it and established Carrollton, a private, all-girls Catholic school. As overseers of the historic property, Carrollton has long been committed to preserving and protecting the estate for future generations. A few new buildings have risen on the grounds since inception, but the iconic mansion remains in nearly original condition. One structure added to the school is the Ferré Convocation Center, which serves the school’s elite dance, performing arts and music programs. Designed by Miami-based Nati Soto, FAIA LEED AP, the design is up for an AIA Florida award this year.
The addition of a historical marker to El Jardin is part of the school’s ongoing commitment to preserve, protect, and share the historic property with the greater Miami community. Throughout the past year, Carrollton hosted a number of open house tours and lectures in honor of El Jardin’s centennial anniversary.
“We hope the addition of the marker will help increase public awareness and appreciation of this historic and architectural gem in the heart of Coconut Grove,” said Headmaster Olen Kalkus.
The new marker is part of the Florida Historical Marker Program, which recognizes historic resources, persons, and events that are significant in the areas of architecture, archaeology, Florida history, and traditional culture. Through the state program, El Jardin is linked to a number of nearby historic properties along Main Highway, including the Coconut Grove Playhouse, also designed by Richard Kiehnel. El Jardin was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 30, 1974.
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