The concept of world fairs started in France in the 1800s when the French were routinely holding national exhibitions. They held their last one in 1844 and then the concept spread throughout Europe with the most well known being the brainchild of England’s Prince Albert - Queen Victoria’s husband. Known as the first world expo, it was held in Hyde Park, London in 1851 and was named "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations".
In 1935, a group of New York businessmen recognized the need to boost American spirits in the throes of the Great Depression. They decided a world’s fair with the theme "Building the World of Tomorrow" would be just the ticket. In 1939, the fair opened and ran through 1940. Based on innovations that would improve people’s lives around the world, intercultural contributions were encouraged and were exciting to the 44 million people who attended the fair. One of the most popular exhibits featured home designs of the future, a promise of a better time for a world battered by a collapsing economy and the start of World War II. One of the home designs and winner of the fair's first-place prize as the “Home of the Future” was the Fore and Aft House, designed by popular modernist architect Belford Shoumate. Shoumate was one of Palm Beach, Florida's most prolific architects in a career that spanned over 50 years. His Fore and Aft model was built in 1940 on the Palm Beach Intracoastal Waterway near the ocean, now for sale at $7.995 million.
Shoumate was instrumental in bringing Art Deco and modern home designs to Palm Beach instead of the more traditional Mediterranean-Revival styles that Addison Mizner had pioneered on the island in the 1920s. His Fore and Aft House is 5,645 square feet designed to look like a boat hovering over the water; its ocean liner and Art Deco style replicating many features of the great ocean liners of the period. The home is longer than it is wide and designed with porthole windows and an upper deck with steamship railings to watch the sunsets over the water. Its five bedrooms have outside deck entrances much like the way one would access their ship cabin, the roofline gives the impression of a sail. Tropical touches include ceiling fans, coral-rock walkway and extensive Florida foliage and palm trees to provide shade.
The home also has a unique y-shaped two-car garage, pool, deep-water dock, fireplace, multiple built-ins and some original furnishings. It is the only lakefront house in Palm Beach with its own deeded oceanfront cabana and has 65-feet of Intracoastal shoreline. Priced at $7.995 million, Burt Minkoff of Corcoran Group Real Estate has the listing.
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