Frank Wolfe and the Glass Bank: A Cautionary Tale – Bachelor Uncle of the Week

The 60’s were a rad time, man.

Today we’re going to talk about a Bachelor Uncle if there ever was one. His name is Frank Wolfe, and his life is forever tied to this building. The Glass Bank. Let’s get it started.

In 1962, some 38 year old MIT architect built this weird glass building close to where they were launching space rockets. Which means that, for the first time, Bachelor Uncle is taking a trip to Florida. Florida is a fucking mess. This is no exception.

For a few years people really liked this building and marveled at it’s modernist design. It was bright, open, and airy inside. But it was also in Florida which means that windows would constantly get blown out, and it was hot and muggy in there. It was an expensive building to upkeep, regardless, and that didn’t get any better as time went on and it went from being a “hip” new beautiful architectural achievement to “that weird ass building over by the strip club.”

There was a restaurant on the top floor, but there was no elevator access, so it went out of business quickly. So someone thought it would be a good idea to build this stupid thing.

Totally blends in. No one would ever tell there was an elevator randomly tacked on as an after-thought. Smooth engineering, guys.

So with that really slick and totally integrated elevator, in came Ramon and his Rainbow Room. An avocado green mid-century spot with cool music and a curry-infused Caesar dressing. And for a few years, the Glass Bank and the Rainbow Room were a hopping joint and things were looking good for Florida.

Oh the fancy things that happened in here.

The Rainbow Room at dusk.

But then the ’80s happened and the Savings and Loan crash really messed up the economy for the Glass Bank. And here comes the hero of our story, Frank Wolfe, a Florida attorney and local resident.

No, that’s not James Caan. That’s Frank Wolfe.

He bought the rights to the penthouse of the Glass Bank and set out to build his dream house. “But, Jack, There is no Penthouse on the Glass Bank.” You might say. And you’d be right. But you made a critical error in your judgement. You underestimated Frank fuckin’ Wolfe.

So this guy was in love with the Glass Bank, which makes his next moves kind of curious to me. Clearly he loved this building so much, but, what he would do to it, would really destroy it’s artistic and architectural integrity.

What the actual fuck, Frank?

But Frankie boy wanted to live here, so he slapped a huge brutalist bunker on the roof with absolutely zero windows and went out building his dream space. He got rid of a lot of the windows (cuz they kept breaking) and turned the thing into an imposing fortress. No longer was this place a bright, airy, modern arboretum, now it was an evil villain’s ominous lair.

I have to imagine there was a better way to do this.

So, in true Bachelor Uncle style, Frank had some quirks. He didn’t like corners and right angles. So the interior of his penthouse was built around circles and curves. I have no idea why. In 2010, he let some people in to take pictures and I’m going to just show you what an insane place this was.

I guess if you don’t have windows, a large round room would help alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia.
This custom kitchen is disorienting, but it’s cool, I guess. I appreciate how weird it is. Look at all the curves.
I love tuck and roll leather bars, and the weird snake-like shape, but look at the where the roof meets the wall. Who the fuck uses carpet for crown molding? Can’t have any corners can you, you weirdo?
Come on in, the weather’s weird.
Frank, let’s talk buddy. They make these holes in your walls that allow you to look out at the world. You don’t have to pretend with a fake window. Either way, decisions were made here.
There’s a weird Greco-Roman mid-century thing going on here. Again, Frank opts for leather as crown molding and I’m not sure how I feel about any of this. I love it, but it also skeeves me out.
This is clearly the best room in the house. I have zero complaints about this space. It’s beautiful and perfect. A+ Frank. You won the game in this room.
But then you have this space, which doesn’t serve any purpose other than to show off your obsession with weird crown molding again. Why can’t you have any straight lines? Are you trying to tell us something? What is it?
Even your closet doors can’t be straight can they, Frank? I’m glad you brought your kitchen into your bedroom. It looks great.
No one knows what this is for or where it goes. It’s just a carpeted prolapsed anus that leads to a space where nothing good ever happens.

Mercifully, the architect died about 8 years before Frank did any of this to the building, so he never got to see what his beautiful dumb bank became.

Say what you want about Frank and what he decided to do to the Glass Bank. He had an idea and a vision and he made it real. He didn’t give a fuck about resale value or your opinion or mine. This was his own little weird space that I’m sure made him feel 1000 feet tall. It’s beautiful because it’s so completely him. It’s a manifestation of his own will and he lives and dies on the sword of his own creativity.

But, Florida is Florida and it hates everyone and everything. Being in Cocoa Beach, the Glass Bank was going to get it’s ass wrecked sooner or later. And sure enough, this building got pummeled by hurricane after hurricane. The bank itself? Destroyed. But Frank’s penthouse remained untouched, because it was a fallout shelter 5 stories in the air.

Just gorgeous.

So everyday, Frank would walk up to this bombed out building and ride his rickety elevator up to the 6th floor and disappear into his weird round hovel. These years of his aging penthouse sitting untouched upon the crumbling remains of a former 1960’s landmark, must have been super surreal.

But local governments hate blight, and eventually everyone in the community was just like “Can we please knock this shit down?”. And the whole town was like “Yeah!” but Frank was like “No no no. I live here.”

2013, Frank was in his ’80s and his health was not so great. He returned to Maine to be with family while he focused on his health, and while he was out of town Cocoa Beach was like, “Peace out Frank. We’re gonna knock this thing down!”

So Frank rushes back down and fights the court order, and spends a ton of money, trying to stave off the wrecking ball of his beloved home. But you can’t beat Washington (or in this case, Cocoa Beach Local Government).

Dejected, Frank asks if he can just go get some of his personal stuff. He has no more fight left in his body. So he pulls up to the condemned building and pushes the button to his elevator and nothing happens. They had shut off the power, and since Frank built this thing like a bunker, there was no way into his penthouse.

He basically begged for power to be restored so he could get his diplomas and personal effects. His pleas would go unheeded. So, the night before the building was set to be destroyed, Frank gave up.

At 3:06 on February 5th, 2014, Cocoa Beach police department respond to a call that a body was found in front of the Glass Bank. A man was found dead, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 82-year old Frank Wolfe took his own life on the steps of his favorite place in the world. He killed himself rather than live in a world without the Glass Bank. Frank loved what he built more than anything and the loss of it was too much for him to bear.

In a weird aside, when they tried to knock the building down they found a bunch of asbestos and had to spend even more money and time to take it down. While they were working on that, a feral cat named Morris, took up residence in the Glass Bank and won over the hearts of locals. But, if you ask me:

Doesn’t this just look like Frank, reincarnated?

So today we salute Frank Wolfe, as a cautionary tale. About loving something too much. About being too committed to your own personal aesthetic. But part of me gets it. Part of me really feels for Frank. Being 82 and knowing that you’ll never be able to live without such a big part of yourself.

I read once that we all die three times. The first time is when we physically pass away. The second time is when we are put in the ground. And the third time is when our names are spoken on Earth for the last time. So today I am doing everything I can keep Frank alive. Hopefully it’s round and curvy wherever you are, you old weirdo.

Here’s a video of some urban explorers picking through the carcass of the Frank Wolfe penthouse.

28 thoughts on “Frank Wolfe and the Glass Bank: A Cautionary Tale – Bachelor Uncle of the Week

  1. Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!


    We offer professionally produced videos at affordable prices.
    Our videos have the look and feel of a high quality television commercial, complete with professional spokesperson, background, text,
    images, logos, music and of course, most importantly, your company’s contact information for your

    If you’re ready to reach more clients today, let us get to work on producing your company’s exclusive video.


    We offer professionally produced videos at affordable prices.
    Our videos have the look and feel of a high quality television commercial, complete with professional spokesperson, background, text,
    images, logos, music and of course, most importantly, your company’s contact information for your

    If you’re ready to reach more clients today, let us get to work on producing your company’s exclusive video.

  4. Wow, awesome blog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging glance easy. The overall glance of your website is great, let alone the content!

  5. Thanks for your article. What I want to say is that while searching for a good online electronics store, look for a web page with full information on key elements such as the personal privacy statement, safety measures details, any payment methods, and other terms and policies. Often take time to browse the help plus FAQ areas to get a superior idea of how a shop works, what they can perform for you, and in what way you can make the most of the features.

  6. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. That is an extremely well written article.

    I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra
    of your helpful information. Thank you for the post.
    I’ll definitely comeback.

  7. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!

    LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  8. The very crux of your writing whilst appearing reasonable originally, did not settle very well with me after some time. Somewhere throughout the sentences you were able to make me a believer unfortunately just for a very short while. I still have got a problem with your jumps in logic and you would do well to help fill in those breaks. When you actually can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly end up being impressed.

  9. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It is beautiful value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the web will probably be much more useful than ever before.

  10. You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation but
    I to find this topic to be actually something which I believe I’d
    never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I’m taking a look ahead in your next post, I will try to get the dangle of it!

  11. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your web site in internet explorer, may check this?IE still is the marketplace chief and a good portion of folks will omit your wonderful writing because of this problem.

  12. I created a additional user, opened Firefox, and there are only the default bookmarks. There is an “import” function, but it on your own offers to import Internet buccaneer bookmarks. Is there any habit to copy/import together with users on the similar machine?.

  13. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours lately, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s lovely price sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web can be a lot more useful than ever before. “No one has the right to destroy another person’s belief by demanding empirical evidence.” by Ann Landers.

  14. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  15. Just for historical purposes- the last photo of what you humorously call a “prolapsed anus” is actually a small ~1.5’ diameter window into the side of what is known as the Kohler Habitat Environmental Enclosure. The window was centered at about shoulder height off the floor. You’re not the only one who couldn’t easily understand what this was, from photos alone. Local news referred to it as a tube through which one crawled- which couldn’t be further from reality. It was a permanently sealed window and the “tube” portion was only a foot or so deep, which was distorted and made to look longer by the lens used in the photo. The window was made of glass and surrounded by brownish gray fabric on the inside of the tubular opening. Days before the building demolition began, one of the many trespassers who dropped by to see Frank’s creation, broke the glass window, among increasing vandalism as the building garnered more attention in its final days. The Habitat was a high-end, late 1970-s, $20,000 (in 1970-s/80-s dollars) master bathroom sauna/sun-bed that was available until sometime in the mid 1980-s. It is still actually listed on Kohler’s website although marked as discontinued. Frank built his fortress in the early 1980-s, and I believe it was completed in 1984, which overlaps the timeframe. And in some other urbex photos and videos, the Habitat control panel is clearly seen, as well as the classic rounded rectangular opening through which young women who visited Frank would enter.

  16. WOW… Ate there once a LONG time ago at Ramone’s… Never knew the backstory.
    This building needs to go into a “Weird History” type book somewhere…

Leave a Comment