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Sunday, January 23, 2005
Saturday at the Kester Cottages

One of the benefits of visiting the Historical Society's Kester Cottage Museums on Saturday mornings is meeting the individuals who have volunteered to serve as guides that day. They have a keen interest in Pompano Beach's history, and most have seen a lot of it.

Yesterday, our guides were Bud Garner and Bob Todd -- plenty of local history between the two of them. Bud forwarded the following about his morning at the museums:

Visiting the "Kester Cottages" is tantamount to stepping back into the past, so said a visitor that happened upon these "gems of the Gold Coast" Saturday morning at Founders Park, located in a semi-secluded section of "Old Pompano" that also is home to tennis courts, play grounds, bocce courts , picnic tables, through just plain grassy, flowered walkways leading to an antique fire station, antique fire trucks and of course the Pompano Beach Historical Society's "Hood Center."

The Cottages, donated by the Kester family have been refurbished and returned to their quaint inviting way of life image. Dozens of visitors were squired through the two cottages Saturday morning.

One tour began in the "furnished" cottage. Decorated in the inimitable style of simplicity of the early 1930s and 40s, where furnishings are very tastefully arranged in the rooms with cypress wood walls and sanded pine floors. The bedrooms are decorated with quilts that have been donated by various quilting groups and set the tone for the rest of the house. The kitchen is of very simple design, table, chairs, gas stove and free standing sink.

The comments of visitors are as varied as the furnishings, ranging from, "my mother had quilts on our bed such as this, or these floors just take me back to another time, back to my childhood."

Another surprise that some visitors get is the articles in the East Cottage, the "museum." First on the tour is the USS POMPANO (SS 181) exhibit. Most of the visitors (even locals) are unaware of the namesake of Pompano that it is also the name of a WW II Submarine that had an illustrious war record before it was declared missing and presumed lost off the coast of Northern Japan in October of 1943, taking to the bottom of the ocean 76 officers and men that are now resting in the rusting hulk of "POMPANO," shipmates for eternity.

The cottage contains many relics of the very real parts that was the heart and soul of Pompano, (The Town): the short visual history of Pompano's library and librarians; the interesting section containing the "tools" of Dr. George McClellan and Dr. "Shorty" Hamilton; the articles that really made Pompano the winter farming center of Florida -- the plows, mule tack, the implements and models of the "Farmers Market" and produce stall.

Visitors were amazed at the number and types of "museum" pieces displayed.

Cottages will be open, free of charge, each and every Saturday from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM.

By the way, Bud Garner's book, Tales of Old Pompano, is back in print and available from the Historical Society. You can purchase Bud's popular book, as well as other publications, at the Pompano Beach Green Market.

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