Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Collection of Cement Galleons

After World War II, there was a building boom in Florida, and most of the houses, like my own, were built in a masonry style that's held up very well. The developers and contractors of that period – the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s – seem to have had a love affair with Spanish galleons.

And that's probably because in 1513, almost 500 years ago, Juan Ponce de Leon sailed from Spain in three galleons with a combined crew of 200, set foot on what he thought was a large island, and named it "Florida."

Some of the post-war houses of Florida celebrated that association by building galleon medallions into their designs, and I've been noticing them all over my town for years. I thought it would be fun to make a collection of them! So without further adieu, here are a few of the cement galleons of St. Petersburg, Florida.

The small gray header above the collection is the logo of the former Horizon Magazine.


  1. Wow - who knew?! Thank goodness it's not another collection in your home to store!!

  2. This is where you excel, you have the eye to file and to share. Thanks

  3. Hello Mark,
    Great building cartouche! They could be inspiration for button designs. Love your antique buttons by the way, especially your selecton of the month.

  4. Thanks for visiting, quintessence, Kevin and Anyes!

    Quintessence, I laughed out loud when I read your comment. For the most part, my collections are now either small or flat. My tiny house keeps me in line!

    Kevin, I appreciate your comment. One look at your living room and garden indicates that you have the same eye.

    Anyes, I'll bet there's a Victorian button out there somewhere with a little brass galleon attached. I'm glad you like my Antique Button of the Month posting - I've got interesting choices lined up through next year, so stay "posted!" XX

  5. I agree....who knew??? I live too far inland to have this type of influence. The variety is amazing..I like the top left one the best.

  6. I can't imagine that these cast panels were very expensive and yet they are a charming touch that added distinction and a sense of place to each home. Nowadays it is more important to have granite counters and stainless appliances. I prefer the unpainted ones and the plainest border, but the colourful ones are quite whimsical. The images of these galleons also remind me of films of the era...I'm thinking of something with Errol Flynn.

    When I was a child, there was a more luxurious home down the street that had an exquisite terra cotta panel of a Madonna set into the dark brown brick. I always admired it and wondered why our house didn't have one.

  7. Hi, Theresa and Terry! The ironic thing about these decorations is that if I had one on my own house, I'd leave it white, and yet in collecting them, I was sorely disappointed that more people hadn't gotten creative with their colors.

  8. Lovely information! My high school yearbook (in Coral Gables) was entitled The Galleon.

  9. I never knew these even existed. I love the different ways they were painted, especially the black framed one.
    So happy you shared these...
    xo J~

  10. Thank you for visiting, 24 Corners, and Happy Anniversary!