Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beachside Bandshell

Amid the tall hotels and garish businesses that line the strip in Daytona lies a gem from the days of the New Deal. Now surrounded by a festival-type marketplace, the Daytona Beach Bandshell and Oceanfront Park Complex is an oasis from another era, landlocked in 21st century gaudiness. Opening in 1937, the structures of the Coquina rock complex are considered to be Late Gothic Revival style architecture. The adjacent boardwalk recently got a multi-million dollar face lift, and the pier was closed for construction when I visited.

It's an odd juxtaposition, the bright and colorful buildings of the contemporary retail and dining establishments butting up to the historic architecture. Appropriately made of rock, the vintage structures of the complex ground an otherwise surreal environment. As a teenager, I would have loved to have taken in a movie there or grab a bite to eat at one of the chain restaurants that make up the new part of the complex. But as an adult, I'm not sure I care for it much. I am, however, very happy that the fantastic Bandshell and Oceanfront Complex are still there, still relevant and in great shape.

New Deal era image of the Bandshell from the State Archives

1950s Easter Service at the Bandshell from the State Archives

Crazy juxtapositions of old and new can be seen throughout the complex

A non-functioning fountain from the Boardwalk

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