Treasure Island, Florida and its environs is one of the best hotbeds of mid-century modern architecture in America—right on the Gulf of Mexico, about a mile from Jack Kerouac’s last home, was an example of every major architectural style and trend from America’s high point.
I’ve been making some trips down there to document what’s left, and I’ve become happily surprised by something else: there’s new interest and hope in historic preservation. Now that mid-century modern is so hot, this might be a very good year for the city.
We didn’t know what to expect. Between the eight us there were only two bulletproof vests. And we all had our girls to worry about. As Loren Feldman the filmmaker said, they were “uncontrollable” and insisted that they remain in the thick of it. One of them’s pregnant. So a handful of us drove out to a mall in suburban Cleveland to prepare. We took a green Kia Soul that, for the week of the 2016 Republican National Convention at least, was an alt-right Pepe mobile, fat-lipped grin on the front grille made from two strips of wide, rose-colored rubber. Not everyone knew their memes; you either got it and smiled or you just didn’t see.