07 October 2011

Lived on their beloved island for 20 years

The tales of Merriweather Pleasure are numerous and larger than life! It is then quite shocking to find amidst the fireworks and canvas factories, floating abodes and Adventurers Clubs a simple, elegant residence.As the story goes, it was in 1911 when Pleasure found his perfect slice of life in Florida, the area that would become known as Pleasure Island. While building his empire, his family lives aboard his refashioned showboat, the Empress Lilly. It soon becomes apparent, thanks in no small part to the persistence of his wife, Isabella, that he must construct a more suitable and permanent residence. In 1918 the house is completed and the family moves in on July 4th.

Having the house built was not Isabella Pleasure’s only stylistic and sensible contribution to the island. A year after the house was finished, she began cultivating her glorious rose garden, in addition to a greenhouse and the culturally significant music she infused the island with.

Once upon a time, the story of Pleasure Island was as open book to those who sought out the plaques affixed to each building. The Pleasure’s home, now Portebello Yacht Club, still stands, but without its historical marker. Below you can find the stories of the Pleasure family home and Isabella’s rose garden.
Pleasure Family Home – 1918

Island founder Merriweather Pleasure built this home for his family who lived on their beloved island for 20 years. Here, Mrs. Isabella Pleasure hosted hundreds of tea socials, garden parties, and croquet tournaments, featuring fine food and uninhibited conversation. As she often said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, come sit next to me!” Restored in 1989 as a joint effort of the Walt Disney Company and the Levy Restaurants.

Mrs. Isabelle Pleasure, wife of island founder Merriweather Pleasure, spent 20 years and several hundred thousand dollars attempting to crossbreed a “true blue” rose. Like others before her, she had to be content with variations on the color lavender. Mrs. Pleasure’s garden, first planter in 1919, was recreated in 1989 from notes in her journals and diaries.


Unknown said...

Your first paragraph brought back some forgotten memories...Fireworks Factory restaurant. Man, I loved that place as a kid...

Ryan P. Wilson said...

D.J., I can remember so much about the early years of just wandering around those buildings, mostly outside, and being in awe!