The Morris Bear House

1200 N. Barcelona

The Morris Bear House was built by William Breen in 1927, during the second North Hill building boom. Finally recovering after the collapse of the lumber industry in the early years of the 20th century, mainly due to the increased influence of the Navy after World War One, North Hill was subjected to a myriad of new styles: Georgian Revival, Tudor Revival, and the particularly popular Mediterranean Revival style.

While most Mediterranean houses have red, not grey-green, roof tiles and do not utilize the brick exterior as seen on this house, the blocky symmetry and intricately arched doors and windows define it as a Mediterranean Revival home. The Morris Bear House also contains a beautiful hipped roof (no gables), fluted Doric columns, an iron wrought balcony, exposed rafters, and an arched doorway embellished with a marble medallion. On the interior of the home, the Morris Bear House features vaulted ceilings and an entrance bedecked with a white-and-black checkered Carrara marble floor.

The owner, Morris Bear, was the president of his father’s grocery business and vice-president of the American National Bank at the time of the house’s construction. His father, Lewis Bear, came to Pensacola in 1876, where he established a grocery store in the location where the Saenger Theater stands today. The business grew enormously over the years, eventually becoming one of Pensacola’s largest wholesale distributors with the catchphrase “You Name It, We Have It”. In 1892, Morris Bear joined his father’s company, which had moved to larger buildings along Palafox Street (including the building now referred to as “The Artisan”). He served as the first president of the The Lewis Bear Company, Inc.