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Jun 19th
Catholic School with a Tudor Past PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul S. George, BT Contributor   
March 2018

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

MPix_PictureStory_3-18iami-Dade County has been blessed with spectacular homes in the past century, beginning with James Deering’s Villa Vizcaya, along with the residences of other wealthy Northerners who built winter properties along the limestone ridge overlooking Biscayne Bay in today’s Brickell neighborhood and Coconut Grove.

One of the most palatial of these homes belonged to John Bindley, president of the Pittsburgh Steel Company, who in 1917 purchased 13 acres of hammock land stretching from the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay across today’s Main Highway in the south Grove.

After building a Tudor-style home for his sister and niece on the west side of the roadway, the widower Bindley employed the stellar Pittsburgh firm of Kiehnel & Elliot to design a palatial winter estate he named El Jardin, or the Garden, as seen here in 1970.

The home incorporated Spanish, Italian, and Moorish design elements and is among the earliest examples of a Mediterranean-style building in Greater Miami. Construction began in 1918 and was completed in 1920, at a reported cost of $1 million.

Sitting on nine acres, El Jardin included the main villa, an ornate gatehouse, a garage, boathouse, and greenhouse. Almost immediately it became a venue for social and charitable events.

Bindley died in 1921, but family members continued to winter at El Jardin until 1924, when the estate was sold to Albert J. Richey, a flamboyant real estate investor. In 1930 members of the Bindley family regained the property following a foreclosure suit. Three years later they sold it for $45,000 to Cities Service Company, a giant fuel provider. El Jardin later became a corporate retreat for Cities Service executives and their families.

In the early 1960s, the sisters of the Convent of the Sacred Heart purchased El Jardin for $300,000. The school, which they opened in 1961, was named the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in honor of Bishop Coleman Carroll, the first bishop of the new Diocese of Miami.

The school has maintained the architectural integrity of the great house while adding new buildings to a burgeoning campus. This fact, along with the magnificence of its architecture and location, has no doubt inspired the young women of the Carrollton School to achieve their best for more than 55 years.

 

Paul George is historian at HistoryMiami Museum. To order a copy of this photo, please contact HistoryMiami archives manager Ashley Trujillo

at 305-375-1623, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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