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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our eighth calendar year
    PCR #390  (Vol. 8, No. 37)  This edition is for the week of September 10--16, 2007.

The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part Four  by William Moriaty
"The Brave One"  by Mike Smith
Book Review: The Swap by Antony Moore  by Lisa Ciurro
Loose in Las Vegas: Ted Mikels Update  by ED Tucker
Goals, Part 1  by Corey Castellano
Ray Bradbury at 87, VHS Grindhouse: The Undying Monster  by Andy Lalino
Maybe He Can Room With Hinckley .... Just A Coincidence .... Finally .... Passing On  by Mike Smith
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The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part Four

One of the many wall murals that adorn the Seaside Artisan Motel. In this instance reflecting both the beach and their pet-friendly philosophy.
One of the beautiful tables sporting mosaic tile work by Artisan owner and artisan, Dan Clark.
A Bas-Relief signature of the building's architect, John Randal McDonald, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright's, adorns the wall of the Seaside Artisan Motel office.
A front view of the unique office and living quarters of Seaside Artisan Motel owners Dan and Susie Clark.
A side view of the same structure.
The Googie-esque sign as seen from Broadway-Bayshore Boulevard in Dunedin.
Truly A Seaside Artisan
In a previous issue of PCR, issue #372 to be exact, I had mentioned how enamored I was of the Googie-esque design of a mid 20th century motel located in Dunedin on Broadway-Bayshore Boulevard (Alt. U.S. 19).

During the weekend of June 9, 2007 I had the good fortune to stay at that motel which is known as the Seaside Artisan Motel. Owned by Dan and Susie Clark, the Seaside Artisan Motel is one of the few remaining structures that comprised the many "mom and pop" motels that were once so common along Florida's highways after the Second World War up until to the early 1970's. Remnants of such motels can still be found in ever dwindling numbers along 4th Street North and 34th Street South in St. Petersburg, Gandy Boulevard in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater and Gulf Boulevard on Pinellas County's barrier islands.

Much like the demise of heavy piston aircraft at Miami's International Airport in the 1990's, these places of lodgings that were built prior to the advent of the Holiday Inn, Best Western, Ramada Inn and other corporate conglomerates are sadly passing into history at a rapid rate. These motels were often the final destination for the tourist of 50 or more years ago often discovering Florida for the first time and in many cases, moving here afterward.

A pet-friendly establishment, the Seaside Artisan Motel indeed contains one of the most unique structures in the Tampa Bay area. The main office building, which also houses the living quarters for owners Dan and Susie Clark (who are both dynamite people I am here to tell ya!) was designed by a student of noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright and incorporates both a modernist prairie and nautical theme.

Built in 1957, the Seaside Artisan Motel has a functional open air shuffleboard court, as well as a barbecue pit on premise. Almost every inch of the property is adorned with tropical, nautical, and pet themes through wall murals and other media. Most impressive were Dan Clark's own mosaic tile works on tables.

In addition to the sleepy time Florida ambiance of an era long gone by, the Seaside Artisan Motel is easily within walking distance of Dunedin's historic downtown with its many wonderful shops and restaurants (Sam's Seafood comes to mind!), and is only one block east of St. Joseph Sound and Victoria Street, one of Dunedin's best kept architectural secrets. That small, almost alley-sized street features some of the city's oldest Victorian and Key West style houses along with a handful of stunning Atomic Ranch houses. It also has lush tropical foliage including the champion South Florida Slash Pine and teems with shore bird and raptor life.

For a relatively inexpensive old-time Florida relaxing getaway steeped in roadside architectural history and kitsch, you owe it to yourself to book a room at the Seaside Artisan Motel in Dunedin. As both the Econo Lodge in Tampa (see PCR #351) and the Treasure Island Fun Center (see PCR #372) have fallen to the wrecker's ball since being covered in PCR within the year, you particularly owe it to yourself to visit the Seaside Artisan Motel before time catches up with this fabulous architectural gem.

Coming Soon: A "Dream Team" La Floridiana Architecture Story:
What on earth would constitute a "dream team"? That would be when I join forces with another artist or writer to conduct a joint project.

An example would be the team up I did with former "Blondie" artist Denis Lebrun between 1977 and 1981 in Vinnie Blesi's fanzine "Advent", as well as "Zeta One Reticuli" (see PCR #77 and /nolansnewsstand/popculturereview78.html#78.

The latest dream team I have envisioned is where film producer collaborates with writer as I plan to review unique Tampa architecture with Florida Folk Hero and Tampa independent film legend Paul Guzzo, so stay tuned!

"La Floridiana" is ©2007 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.