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Carey McWhorter’s Real Contribution

Posted on Sep 01, 2013 in September-October 2013 , My Seaside Story

Carey McWhorter with wife Joely and daughters Lily, Kate and Sarah. Photo courtesy Carey McWhorter

As an architectural photographer, I really didn’t want to buy into the initial trade journal hype over Seaside. Mainly, I was incredulous that this particular opportunity was seemingly earmarked for every other photographer in the world besides me.

Tied to my regular magazine assignments in Denver at the time, we were barely able to make ends meet, so any dream my wife and I may have had for traveling down to see this place were about as likely as to come our way as a big fat check from Publisher’s Sweepstakes.

By the time the critics had long since moved on to flashier projects, I too had outgrown much of my original interest in this peculiar form of trophy hunting. One day, as I was counting my lift tickets and concert stubs from Red Rocks, I concluded that true success, (should it ever come my way) would begin as soon as I could get aboard an ocean-sailing craft. Crazy as it seemed, I deduced that the closest path to fame and riches for me was to live among the celebrated yacht builders near Fort Lauderdale.

It was something like, 2004, before I chanced upon a freeway exit, simply labeled “Seaside 1 Mile.” And I was literally shaking from excitement as I drove into the hamlet at a roaring 28 miles per hour.

Much like a fog that permeates the coast at certain hours, I hadn’t reached the first speed bump before I recognized that my entire come from was out of sync with reality, or something to that effect. Having no real reason to be there, I literally felt for a minute that I had barged into some stranger’s living room.

Timidly, I strolled about town for a little over an hour before I felt relaxed enough to get behind the wheel and back on the highway, albeit utterly unconvinced that I had accomplished anything of value all day. But, as I made that last hard left, back towards the highway, I noticed a sign that read, “Architect,” and on a lark I decided to pay the folks a quick visit, just to say thanks.

Details aside, there is no question in my mind that most of the credit for this architectural treasure trove is simply due to the miraculous conviction and selfless attitudes that people like Carey McWorter and his wife had contributed to the process. Together, their spirits telegraphed a rare joie de vivre, or quality of life, which reminded me of this near Biblical truism, as penned by Frank Lloyd Wright: “Mankind inhabits architecture. Thereafter, architecture inhabits us.”

Obviously, many other equally talented people were required to build Seaside. They always seem to whisper, “Savor this moment and do let everyone know it, whenever you happen to stumble upon what’s truly important in all of our lives.”