The Villagers’ Historic Hunt and Road Rally returns Saturday, this year with a 1950s theme featuring architecture from the Miami Modern (MiMo) era.
Participants are expected to use only reference books — no smartphones. The first Hunt was in 1985 and they’ve been held almost every year since.
Eileen Ellman, a Villager for 17 years and board member for about nine years, says that “the clues are always so clever … it’s the most fun I have as a Villager.”
Ellman “went to the first hunt and was very excited,” she said. “It’s different in the way that you learn about history every time. We always hunt in different locations and I can’t believe all I’ve learned about Miami.”
The clues are composed by Dolly McIntyre, a charter member of the group for 50 years.
Women started the Villagers and slowly some men joined. Hunt participants often find out by word of mouth.
Event chairwoman Lorraine Sheldon says she “found out through a friend who was a member of the club and now [she has] been a member for about eight years.”
The Villagers’ also host a House Tour and Garden Tour. This year’s House Tour focused on George Fink architectural designs in Coral Gables. This year, the group published a coffee table book, “Gardens of Miami,” instead of hosting the actual tour.
With the money they raise, including at this year’s Historic Hunt silent auction, the group funds scholarships for architecture students in Florida who are studying, or intend to study, historic preservation.
The Villagers are volunteers who raise money through events to donate to historical sites in South Florida needing restoration. In honor of their 50-year anniversary in 2016, the Villagers donated $100,000 to five different locations including $20,000 to Vizcaya Gardens and Museums for restoration of outdoor lamp fixtures; and the Biscayne Park log cabin and community center.
The hunt begins 4 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Women’s Club, 1737 N. Bayshore Dr., and ends 6:30 p.m. at the Miami Auto Museum, 2000 NE 146th St, North Miami, with an optional silent auction and dinner. For information, call 305-775-9479.