I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Kenilworth ... until I read the marvelous article jam-packed with facts and details written by the very talented Robert Miller. It will go into my collection.
In 2008, when I moved here from Plantation, Florida, I started making a collection of all things Highlands County. I bought and read every book I could find on the subject, printed out every article about the magnificent "pink lady" buildings, like the Kenilworth.
I made it available in a guest bedroom to house guests. They loved it and insisted on tours.
Then my fellow 1960 graduates of Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale came for our reunion held at the Kenilworth. They drove four to five hours round trip north to find the history and glamour long gone/demolished from just about everywhere in Broward County.
The event was magical. Many alumni stayed at the hotel. The staff was cheerful and gracious, the hospitality unsurpassed, the Sebring area breathtaking. Many of us sat in the giant rocking chairs on the front porch expressing gratitude that the Kenilworth had escaped from the wrecking ball — but has it?
I wish I had moved here 30 years ago, wish I had been born here. I have to remind myself that this is not 'actually' my hometown — but, in my heart of hearts, it is. Already I have witnessed the demise of so much that makes this a special place. Will it continue until someday we have to drive for hours to find what made Sebring special?
How do we keep this precious heritage from disappearing forever? How do we preserve what is fine, nostalgic, for so many of us? Almost everybody I have met here has fond personal memories of events at the Kenilworth.
I have this recurrent daydream that every single resident of Highlands County donates $5 and we save the Kenilworth.
If this sounds like a Hallmark Christmas movie, would that be so bad?
J.L. ‘Sam’ Heede