Effort Afloat to Bring Back the Jantzen Girl

 

Jantzen Girl
The Jantzen Girl hanging at the entrance to Stamie’s Smart Beach Wear

Since 1965 Daytona Beach has served as home to one of only six, twenty foot fiberglass Jantzen Girl statues. The statue/sign was a fixture outside of Stamie’s Smart Beach Wear since arriving from Miami. That all changed recently when the store located along the recently renovated boardwalk area closed with the retirement of second generation owner Irene Koutouzis.

The sign was never owned by the Koutouzis family but rather was still owned by Jantzen who has taken possession of the landmark piece with an apparent goal of rehoming it. The relocation will come with a price.

Despite a complete makeover in 2004 and regular coats of wax, recent hurricanes and the realities of being near the ocean will require over $10,000 worth of work according to building owner Louie Louizes.

Jantzen was formed in 1910 by co-owners John A. Zehntbauer and Carl C. Jantzen and was known as the Portland Knitting Co. By 1913 they were crafting bathing suits for the Portland Rowing Club and in 1918 the company name was changed to Jantzen Knitting Mills.

With business expanding in the 1920s a national marketing gimmick was needed. In stepped artists Frank and Florenz Clark who became inspired by Olympic tryouts for the 1920 women’s dive team. The red clad diving girl was born!

Throughout the years the image has evolved and in 1959 six of the fiberglass sculptures were created by a Los Angeles mannequin company, of which four are known to still be in existence. I am assuming two are in possession of Jantzen after having been in other, now closed, locations. A third is used for promotional displays in various stores selling Jantzen products. The Daytona Beach Jantzen girl, the last to be on display in a regular home, is currently in Washington state where the statue is receiving a complete restoration while plans for its future are decided.

Will that future include Daytona Beach? Maybe. Jantzen is currently weighing its options but is closely following the groundswell of support that Daytona Beach residents and visitors are showing. Support such as that shown at a new Facebook page “Bring Back the Jantzen Girl” can do nothing but help. And if by chance the statue goes elsewhere a page like this is a great historical record. If you have photos or memories of the Jantzen Girl please feel free to share them here in the comments section.

Perry Ellis International is the owner of Jantzen, having acquired the company in 2001.

 

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8,000 Papers from Benjamin Franklin Now Available Digitally

The Library of Congress has made available its collection of Benjamin Franklin papers online. While transcribed versions have been available you can now see what the originals look like. While only a small portion of the available papers of Franklin, this is an important step in preserving and sharing the history of one of our countries great founding fathers. The majority of Franklins surviving papers are held by the American Philosophical Society and there are several other archives with significant holdings.

See an article discussing the papers here.

Visit the Library of Congress site to view the Franklin papers here.

You may learn more about the effort to publish Franklin’s papers by visiting the Yale University website here.

Volusia County Historic Preservation Board

I am proud to announce that I have been appointed to the Volusia County Historic Preservation Board.  I consider this appointment to be quite an honor and I look forward to working with fine group who are already on the Board.

The Historic Preservation Board (HPB) is appointed by the Volusia County Council to issue certificates of designation for eligible historic resources (structures, archaeological sites, and historic districts) and certificates of appropriateness for demolition, alteration, relocation and new construction.

The HPB advises the County Council on all matters related to historic preservation policy, including use, management and maintenance of county-owned historic resources.

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation 2016 Annual Conference

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation will be holding their 38th annual conference May 12-14, 2016 in Tallahassee, FL. For full information check their website here.

This conference will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The 2016 conference will be held at the Hotel Duval The Hotel Duval is over 60 years old and is part of the Marriott brand. You may book your room now and conference registration will be available in January.

Crumbling Chicago Bank Turned into Amazing Facility

Historic preservation is dead, long live historic preservation!

Take a look at this amazing transformation of a crumbling Chicago bank building.

https://www.yahoo.com/makers/artist-buys-crumbling-bank-1-222611514/photo-it-s-a-welcoming-space-1445036669572.html

Theaster Gates and the Rebuild Foundation deserve tremendous praise for the work they are doing.