They built Nine Island Avenue on the site of JC Penney’s estate

Before the construction of Nine Island Avenue, the Penney Estate site, with the Flagler Monument in the background (Photo courtesy DeGolyer Library, SMU).

In Belle Isle Blog’s research into the JC Penney estate, we uncovered a set of photos from a graduate student who researched Penney in the late 1970s. Her photos are part of the J.C. Penney papers at the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Snapshot of crumbling estate wall, taken 1979 (J.C.Penney papers, DeGolyer Library, SMU)

Mary Elizabeth Curry’s work brought her to Belle Isle in 1979, to the gates of the old estate. By then, the estate was gone, and the only evidence of what had been known as 8 Belle Isle was a crumbling concrete wall and the view of the Flagler Memorial.

Before Nine Island was built, Costa Brava towered over the lot. (Photo courtesy DeGolyer Library, SMU)

The empty, overgrown lot was flanked by Costa Brava (11 Island Ave., built in 1972), and Island Terrace (5 Island Ave., built in 1967). In the next two years, the Simkin family built Nine Island Avenue on the estate site.

Curry’s snapshots show views that should be familiar to Nine Island and Belle Isle residents — but also a sense of how different the island looked before the last few tracts were filled in with high-rises.

The construction of Nine Island in 1981 filled out the south side of Belle Isle. In a 1975 view of Belle Isle, you can see the empty lot between Costa Brava and Island Terrace, the old Penney site.

A 1975 view of Belle Isle. There is no Nine Island Avenue, Grand Venetian or Vistas.

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3 responses to “They built Nine Island Avenue on the site of JC Penney’s estate

  1. Judging by the first photo, the dogs haven’t changed a whole lot.

  2. Pingback: With a new year approaching, another look to Belle Isle’s past | Belle Isle Blog

  3. Pingback: Time machine: a Belle Isle mansion at a bargain price | Belle Isle Blog

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