In 1940, Smith wrote that in rural Maitland, “one is more apt to meet a chicken on the street than a professor. It is this rustic accidentalism that endears me to [this] place. Maitland has all the charm of a small, happy village.”
This building was Smith’s personal residence and the first structure on the property. He lived in the home with his colleague Attillio “Duke” Banca, Banca’s wife Florence and their son Peter. Both Duke and Florence contributed to the daily operations of the Research Studio. Duke worked as the chauffer and assisted Smith in developing exhibits, while Florence was the Secretary of the organization. Smith constructed a very special playhouse, located to your right, for Peter and his toy trains. Smith spent more than twenty winters here. In his older years, he would take tea every afternoon in a patio close to his bedroom with his closet friends.
Smith developed a close friendship with Zora Neale Hurston, a resident of neighboring Eatonville, the oldest incorporated African American community in the United States. Her celebrated works brought the Harlem Renaissance to Central Florida and introduced African American folklore and community life to audiences worldwide. Hurston often visited Smith at the Research Studio, where they talked about art and culture. Smith, likewise, found inspiration in the people and buildings of Eatonville, where he captured scenes of everyday life in a series of paintings dating from the 1930s and into the 1940s.
The Bell Tower to your left marks the walkway to André’s studio and home. What other historic landmark has a famous bell?