Goulds. It's a place that sounds as if it belonged somewhere else. Goulds, West Virginia, maybe. Or Goulds, North Dakota. Certainly not Goulds, Florida. But more than a few lifelong South Floridians have driven a little too fast down U.S. 1 and certainly missed the town, which developed in the early 1900s as a result of Henry Flagler's grand idea to make Florida a hub of international commerce and tourism by extending the Florida East Coast Railroad line toward already-bustling Key West.
At one point in its history, one of Goulds' most significant structures, Cauley Square, was almost transported somewhere else as well. By the early Eighties, the two-story limestone and masonry vernacular structure that was completed in 1920 along with a series of small wooden cottages had grown into a charming shopping area, rife with antique stores, tchotchke shops, a dainty tearoom, and a lively loyal clientele. Seventy-two years after it was built, Cauley Square squared off with Hurricane Andrew, which swept through the area and tore it to bits.
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Completely rebuilt about seven years ago, the shopping area, which in addition to the tearoom and antique stores now boasts about a dozen businesses -- including a New Age rock shop, art school, acupuncturist, a boutique selling Haitian items, and Capen Art Gallery -- has yet to recapture the energy of its heyday. Over the years, a few sporadic events failed to attract crowds; however, merchants hope the tide will turn this Saturday with the launch of a new monthly affair, Saturday Fest at Cauley Square. Organized by interior designer Scott Gonzalez, the daylong festivities will adopt different themes. This time it's a country jamboree featuring music by Gary Camblin & Recess, a barbecue, games such as horseshoe pitching, kiddie activities, arts and crafts vendors, and the unique atmosphere all around. In addition to curious throngs bearing hefty wallets, the other great hope is for clear skies, because at historic Cauley Square both the in and out of doors are of interest. "This is no mall by any stretch of the imagination," says Joe Perkins, partner with Gonzalez in Studio G Designs. "We are completely in the elements!"