Snow Park, Kennedy Blvd & Grand Central Ave., Tampa

Snow Park is a small triangle of land surrounded by Kennedy Blvd. (formerly named Lafayette Street), Grand Central Avenue and Magnolia Street. In the 1920s it had a roof-covered water fountain. The park, except for the roof, remains today. The postage stamp sized park has been listed in "Ripley's  Believe it or Not!" as being the world's smallest official park.
 

 

 

 

Snow Park is located just west of the Hillsborough River and the University of Tampa.  At the left of this photo, Grand Central Avenue combines with Kennedy Blvd. which continues as Kennedy Blvd. westward from this apex.

The building on the right is the Alfred and Beverly Austin Hall.

 

 

Photo Above:  This tiny stretch of roadway at the lower left of the photo above still retains the Grand Central name. Lafayette Street (Kennedy Blvd, now seen here behind the gazebo) originally ran from 13th Street in Ybor City, westward to the west end of the Tampa Bay Hotel (University of Tampa.)  From that point (where it curved to the right, where you see the white van, above) westward it was  Grand Central Avenue.

In the 1920s, a WW1 veterans memorial was erected west of here, at Grand Central & Howard Avenue (photo at left), and Grand Central was renamed as Memorial Hwy from Howard Ave. westward.  In the 1950s, Memorial Hwy was changed back to Grand Central Ave for simplicity so it could extend the entire distance westward to the bay.  The Tampa City Council voted in 1964 to rename the entire stretch of the roadway, from 13th Street to the bay, John F. Kennedy Boulevard.   Special thanks to Tony Zappone for this clarification.


Grand Central Avenue in 1925, looking east towards downtown from Howard Ave.
- After WW1, Grand Central was dedicated as "Memorial Highway", westward from Howard Ave. By 1921, this monument was placed at the intersection, along with another identical one at the west end past Westshore Blvd. It wasn't long before cars frequently began crashing into this one at Howard Ave, so the monument was moved to the American Legion Cemetery at what is now Kennedy Blvd, just west of Dale Mabry.

In 1964, the entire stretch of light blue, green and red was renamed Kennedy Blvd.

 

 

Snow Park was dedicated to Major Henry E. Snow in 1921. The original marble monument was erected in 1926, shortly after Major Snow's death.
 
Major Snow's obituary in the Wednesday, October 13, 1926 issue of The Tampa Daily Times refers to him as "one of Tampa's best known and best loved citizens." It further states that "no man who has ever lived in Tampa has given more generously of his time and his resources to the promotion of the city's best interests."
 
Tampa was Major Snow's adopted city. He was born in Harwichport, Massachusetts in 1861. He married the former Miss Bisland Carket of Natchez, Mississippi in May of 1884. They had four sons, Ralph, Milton, Everett and Spencer, and a daughter, Betty. Major Snow was elected as a member of the city's Board of Public Works in 1910 and was reelected three times. When the commission form of government was adopted by Tampa, he was elected a member of the commission. At the end of his term he refused to stand for reelection. The City Hall, Lafayette Street bridge, fire station, library, sewer system and miles of paved streets were all built during his term of service.
 
A pioneer "drummer" in Tampa, he later organized a wholesale grocery business, Snow and Bryan which began in business on May 1, 1903 and was dissolved in 1921 when Major Snow retired.
 
Major Snow was one of the founders of the South Florida Fair Association, was an ardent supporter of the Children's Home, Salvation Army and took an active part in the affairs of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and was Grand Marshal of the annual parade for several years.

Special thanks to Sonya Street, Office Support Specialist III and Jim Rainey, Team Super, City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Dept., for providing this information about Henry E. Snow.

 

1922 Directors and officers of the South Florida Fair and Gasparilla Association, at Plant Field.

Henry E. Snow, front row, 4th from the right.

Pass your cursor over the photo to identify men in the front row including Tampa Mayor Charles Brown and Association Pres. W. G. Brorein, (founder and Pres. of Peninsular Telephone Co.)

The great Tampa hurricane of 1921 brought floodwaters on Bayshore Blvd to the doorstep of Henry E. Snow's home.

 

 

A view of downtown looking east along Grand Central Ave. across Magnolia Ave.

Snow Park is part of the City of Tampa's Parks system.  The park measures only 150 square feet, serving as an entry statement into downtown Tampa. The pint-sized park features a fountain, a Greek-styled monument and just 13 oak trees.

 

 

 

 

 

The famous Bryn Alan Studios and Mise En Place Restaurant are in this building on Grand Central, though they sometimes use a JFK address.
   

This Google street view taken on Kennedy Blvd shows Snow Park and Grand Central Ave just to the right.  The building behind the park was known in the 1920s and 1930s as the Lafayette Street Arcade.  (See below)

The Lafayette Street Arcade in 1926, with a portion of Snow Park in the foreground.

The Lafayette Street Arcade in 1930, showing medical and dental offices.

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