Updated: Mar 23, 2021
The architectural legend of Winter Park, James Gamble Rogers II was born on January 24, 1901, in Chicago, to John Arthur Rogers and Elizabeth Baird Rogers. His father, as well as his paternal uncle and namesake James Gamble Rogers, were both architects. Rogers grew up in Winnetka, Illinois. His family relocated to Florida when he was in high school, for his father’s health. Thereafter, he attended Dartmouth College but returned to Daytona Beach and began work in his father's architecture practice before he graduated in 1924. Between 1924 and 1934 Rogers designed many buildings, but because he was not yet a registered architect, the drawings were signed by his father and by other architects.
In 1928 he opened a branch of his father's practice in Winter Park. Following his father's death in 1934, Rogers managed the Orlando office of architect David Hyer. When Hyer returned to Charleston, SC, in 1935, Rogers opened his own practice in Winter Park, having successfully passed the Florida Board of Architecture examinations that year.
Winter Park was the development project of the Winter Park Land Company, attracting many northerners to settle and build elegant homes around its lakes, and drives. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Rogers designed many outstanding commissions, chiefly residential, which were and remain among the most sought after homes in Winter Park and environs. He is noted for suavely elegant residential and commercial work, in the Spanish Revival, Mediterranean Revival, French Provincial, and Colonial Revival styles. Perhaps his best known of these is the Barbour Residence, also known as "Casa Feliz". The house was built on a site overlooking Lake Osceola in 1932. To save the home from destruction, it was moved to its present location in 2000 and is today available for tours and special events. The home, designed to resemble a Spanish farmhouse, displays many of Roger's aesthetic gifts.
Other easily viewed Winter Park commissions include the Greeneda Court shops on Park Avenue, the First Church of Christ Scientist, the Barbour Apartments and the Olin Library on the campus of Rollins College.
Rogers continued to practice architecture until he was in his eighties. Among his later commissions of note is the Greek Revival Florida Supreme Court Building in Tallahassee, of 1948. Rogers died on Tuesday, October 30, 1990 at the home he designed on Temple Grove Avenue, Winter Park, Fla.