An Art Deco home, the Wenger House in
unincorporated Delray Beach, is the first residential property to be
added to the Palm Beach County register of historic places.
The house is located at 3811 Wall Street, Delray Beach, and was
built in 1948 by Ray Wenger as a dream house for his sweetheart
Ruth. The current owner, Linda Stabile, wanted to honor the Wengers
for their efforts as folk architects by preserving the home that was
made one room at a time, mostly from salvaged materials. In addition
to preserving the house, Stabile converted the backyard into a
modern art sculpture garden.
The Art Deco influence is clearly evident when observing the front
of the house. The period termed “Art Deco”manifested itself roughly
between the two world wars, from 1920 to 1939. Modern elements of
Art Deco include echoing machine and automobile patterns and shapes
such as stylized gears and wheels, or natural elements such as
sunbursts and flowers.
According to Palm Beach County Archeologist Christian Davenport, the
historic register helps to preserve county treasures. For property
owners, the benefits of the historic designation include ad valorem
tax incentives, increased property value and code waivers. In
general, homes designated as historic are at least 50 years old.
Currently the county has six historic sites or districts in addition
to the Wenger House. In 1997, the Tindall House in Jupiter and the
Cabana Club Porte Cochere were designated as historic sites. In the
same year, Camino Real Road and drawbridge in Boca Raton became the
county’s first historic district. In 1999, Riverbend Regional Park
was named a historic district. Old Indiantown Road was named a
historic site in 2004, and the old County Courthouse was added to
the list of historic sites in 2005. The Dubois Historic District in
Jupiter will also be added to the list this year.
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