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Water Tower and Park -
Page 1 Back when women wore petticoats
and men wore straw hats called boaters, a village grew up north of
Tampa around a bubbling spring thought to possess magical powers.
Salinero, Tampa Tribune
Springs neighborhood is located about 6 miles north of downtown
Tampa. Its southern boundary is the Hillsborough River, the
northern boundary is Waters Ave. to Nebraska Ave. to Busch
Boulevard. Florida Avenue and the CSX railroad line forms
boundaries on the west and east.
Sulphur Springs, like
most of Florida, has a rich and ancient natural history. The manmade
history of the area starts with Native Americans, who legend has it,
drank from the springs and benefited from the medicinal benefits of the
natural mineral water.
Various tourists brochures from the late 1890s
to the 1910s attribute a flow rate of the spring of 30,000 gallons per
minute to 50,000 gallons per minute. Visitors once flocked to the
spring for its healing waters; a 1911 publication by the Tampa Board of
Trade proclaimed Sulphur Springs as possessing “water which is
especially beneficial in cases of chronic constipation, intestinal
auto-intoxication and most kidney diseases where there is need of a
cathartic and diuretic in combinations.”
Sulphur Springs neighborhood is outlined in red, with the water
tower and park marked in blue.
Sulphur vs. Sulfur Both modern spellings have been in use for many
sulphur prevailed by a wide margin in the 19th
century until the Americans adopted sulfur around
the start of the 20th century. For the pale yellow
nonmetallic element found especially in volcanic deposits, sulfur
is the usual spelling in American English. Sulphur
is generally the preferred spelling in nonscientific texts from
outside North America, but sulfur is gaining ground in scientific
writing throughout the English-speaking world. The word,
from the French soufre, entered English around the
end of the 14th century.
Early History of Sulphur Springs
The 1870 census of John
Henry Krause and his family, with wheelwright Herman Hurgeist
J. H. Krause
In 1855, a sturdy, young German pioneer from Saxony named John
Henry Krause settled in Tampa. Krause was the first
blacksmith in Tampa and along with Herman Hurgeist, a wheelwright,
they became known all over south Florida for their high quality
wagons, buggies and other vehicles. In the 1880s he was a
builder of quality railroad cars for the Tampa steam street
Krause's shop was located
for many years on the northeast corner of Zack and Franklin
Streets, where on the southeast corner Krause later went into the
mercantile business and became a prominent Tampa businessman and
real estate developer. The second home of
Brothers dry goods store (1898) was in the Krause building on
Henry Krause bio from Ward Sandahl at Ancestry.com
Newspaper photo from
article circa 1940s, photo circa 1880s, from Ward Sandahl at
J. H. Krause from
Ward Sandahl at Ancestry.com
Krause also served 3
nonconsecutive terms as a Tampa City Councilman from Aug. 1877 to Aug.
1885. In 1882, he was one of the
of two petitions to the State, along with hundreds of other Tampa
citizens, to keep the former Ft. Brooke land from being developed by
railroad companies and land speculators. Krause's wife was Mary
Elizabeth Daegenhardt, and in 1887, their daughter Henrietta Krause
married John T. Gunn, a city councilman for whom Gunn Highway was named.
Krause financed the ship building industry and established a brass and
iron foundry in Tampa in the early 1890s.
Daegenhardt Krause and her children, (L to R) Annie, Mary, Henrietta,
Henry. Photo from from Ward Sandahl at Ancestry.com
In 1882, J.H.Krause
purchased 173 acres in the Sulphur Springs area from the U.S.
government, where he later built a
second family home.
Krause's April 10, 1882
land patent consisted of two aliquots in Range 18 and two in Range 19.
Click document at right to see larger.
This 1852 land survey shows Township 28 south,
Range 18 east. Sections 25, 26, 35 and 36 are in the lower right
The tan-colored area on the left is a close up of the 1852 survey of
Township 28 south, Range 18 east. Section
24 has been divided into quarters, and each quarter has been
subdivided into quarters so that the SE quarter
of the SE quarter of Sec 24 could be shown (A). Notice that
(B) in Sec. 25 was 53 acres and was already marked lot/tract 1.
The yellow area to the right has been added due to the lack of a survey
of Township 28 south, Range 19 east. Sections 19 and 30
have been added and subdivided so that the SW quarter of the SW quarter
of Sec. 19 could be shown, (C), as well as the NW quarter of the
NW quarter of Sec. 30, (D). Since (A) and (C) and (D) were quarters of a
quarter, they were 40 acres each. (B) was a 53 acre tract so the
total was 173 acres. The approximate location of the spring is
marked with a red dot.
On the present-day map at
left, Krause's 1882 properties are outlined in blue, orange, green
and purple. They are bounded by Yukon St. on the north, Lamar Ave.
(almost I-275) on the west, 12th to 13th St. on the east, and the
river between I-275 and Nebraska Ave. on the south, and just south
of Bird St. between Nebraska and 12th/13th St on the south.
The spring is marked by the green circle.
The property outlined in light blue was
purchased by William M. Fisher on June 30, 1884. The "T"
marks the location of the Sulphur Springs water tower which would
be built by Josiah Richardson in 1927.
The property outlined in yellow was
Krause's 1896 purchase. It runs between Florida Ave. and
Nebraska Avenue, and between the river and Kirby St.
first bridge across the river at Sulphur Springs
In the mid 1800s, a
ferry operated by Alexander Gage was the only way to get across the
river. In 1889, Tampa city
commissioners contracted the
of Berlin, Connecticut to build a bridge to cross the Hillsborough River
at the county road at what is now Van Dyke Place. That bridge was
completed in 1891 and was in use as late as 1961.
Berlin Iron Bridge Company bridge, circa 1909
Dr. John H. Mills and the first resort at Sulphur Springs
John H. Mills was
a Dutch immigrant who came to America in 1897 and settled in the
Horse Pond area of Hillsborough County with his wife Bessie
Elizabeth Mills. On the 1900 census in Horse Pond, Mills was
listed as a physician, age 29; his wife Bessie was 20.
Today, Horse Pond is Lake Carroll, and the Horse Pond census area
was the area now between Lake Carroll and Lake Magdalene.
John Mills' 1900 census shows he was born in 1870. He and
Bessie had been married for 3 years. Lack of a birth month
and "Un" (Unknown) for his place of birth indicates that he may
not have been home at the time and that Bessie provided the
information. A later census provides his birth place and
year of immigration.
In 1899, Dr. Mills purchased Krause's 93 acres surrounding the spring.
Being a physician, Mills may have been interested in using the
spring as a means of attracting visitors for its healing ability.
Today, the area on
the north side of the river between Nebraska, Florida, and Waters
avenues would contain 100 acres.
The montage above is a photograph taken by the Burgert Brothers,
of a page in an issue of the Tampa Tribune in 1900. The
photo on in the middle on the left was used for a later
publication in 1906 and again for a post card.
Dr. Mills built a
small resort community park, laying out walks, building
bathhouses, a fishpond, restaurant, dock and a pool fed by the
bubbling spring, opening it in 1900 with the intended visitors
being “respectable white people” (The Tampa Daily Times, 1922.)
The photo at left appears on
page 34 of a 1905 Tampa Board of Trade publication titled "Tampa,
Florida: Its Industries and Advantages." There is a
mention of Sulphur Springs in the section "Municipal" on
page 5 where it says, "Adjacent to the city [Tampa] are also
Palmetto Beach, Ballast Point and Sulphur Springs, delightful
resorts reached by an electric street car system or an auto line."
Under the title of "Electrical
Transportation," streetcar lines are mentioned to Ybor City,
West Tampa, Hyde Park, Bayshore, Ballast Point, and Port Tampa
City, but none yet to Sulphur Springs. Under "A Winter
on page 29, Sulphur Springs is mentioned after a reference to
trips down the bay and the Manatee River; "Sulphur Springs is also
a delightful trip and there are many others."
Courtesy of the
University of Florida Digital Collections
above photo, though it appears in a 1905 publication, is likely to
be one of a series of photos taken for the 1900 Tampa Tribune
Springs Circa 1900
At the time of its opening,
Sulphur Springs could only be reached from Tampa by horse and buggy,
bicycle, or by foot over a narrow winding road and the narrow, one-lane iron
bridge that crossed the Hillsborough River. Shortly after Mills'
for business, H.B. Plant had
launches with Naphtha engines to cruise up the river, filled with urbanites seeking recreation at the
In 1898, a 25-year-old
Kentucky native sign painter, house painter and wall paper hanger named
Josiah S. Richardson arrived in Tampa with his wife and baby daughter.
1899 Tampa city directory listing of
Josiah Richardson and wife Addie. Josiah's business was at
715 Florida Avenue, his residence was at 701 Lafayette Street.
The 1900 census shows
Josiah and his family living at 715 Florida Avenue. Josiah was 28
and his wife Addie was 26. They had been married for 6 years and
Addie was the mother of 2 children; Cecile (4) and James T. Richardson
(age 5 months). Josiah was from Kentucky, Addie was from Illinois.
Cecile was born in Illinois, so it's likely that is where Josiah and
Addie were married and lived before coming to Tampa. Josiah's
occupation was "painter."
Left: Josiah Richardson's ad
in the 1903 Tampa city directory was so large it took up the whole
page on the back fly leaf and was printed vertically.
listing in the "R" section of the 1903 directory shows that his
business and home were at the same address, 715 Florida Ave.
The ad from "left bottom" page has been included here.
The 1903 Sanborn fire insurance map at left shows Richardson's
wall paper and print shop at 709 through 715 Florida Avenue.
Yellow buildings were wood frame structures and green was
After working for six years as a house and glass sign painter, and
paper hanger, Richardson entered the real estate business in 1904
when he borrowed $10,000 to buy Mills' property in Sulphur
Springs and filed a subdivision called the “Sulphur Springs
addition to Tampa.” Josiah's first directory listing as a real estate agent was in the
1905 city directory. Sulphur Springs was still a rustic
swimming pool with a few wooden bathhouses.
The 1905 city directory shows
Josiah in the real estate business at 712 ½ Franklin Street.
Josiah and Addie had also moved to 105 E. Palm Ave. by 1905, a
home they would live in at least into the mid 1930s.
The 1906 Tampa city directory
shows that Josiah's real estate partner was S. T. Woodward.
The Richardson's address is likely to be an error, all his
listings except this one show 105 E. Palm.
This postcard circa 1906 of "Franklyn [sic]
Street looking south" (towards Zack Street) shows Josiah Richardson's
banner stretched across the middle of the 700 block of Franklin St.
His real estate office was located at 712 ½ Franklin Street from 1904
to 1906, which would have been on the right side of
the street, upstairs near the banner. The building at far left
Hampton Building at 713-711 Franklin St. where
Walgreen's Drug Store was located in the 1930s. The building
with the The "Elgin's Fine Tailoring" sign on the side was the
Maas the Haberdasher in the 1920s to 1930s. The
one-story stores in between the Elgin sign and the Hampton building
was where the
Tampa Theater was built in 1926. The building with the conical
roof on a turret was the Citizen's Bank & Trust building at this time. On
the next block on the left (600 block) is the J. H. Krause building.
It was the 2nd home of
Brothers dry goods. Across from the Krause building, on the
right side of the street, is the
American National Bank where Maas
Brothers would move to in 1920. On the right, the tan colored
3-story building to the right end of the banner was Maas the
Haberdasher at this time, and where the
Citizen's Bank moved in 1911 when
a ten-story building was built there as a new home for the bank.
It was also home to
Wolf Brothers store.
In 1926, two more stories were added to it. To the right of
it, the 3-story building with arched windows on the third floor, is
Franklin Theatre was located in the 1920s, in the 1940s it was the
Florida Theatre. At far right is where O. Falk's store was
located. Colorized photo postcard from the Hampton Dunn
Collection at the University of South Florida Digital Collections.
Place your cursor on the photo to see buildings
The following photos appear
to be from circa 1900 to 1908 show a tranquil park. Postcards from this
period were created from actual photos colorized by artists. The
dates, when provided by the sources, may not necessarily be the date the
photo was taken for the postcards, but instead could be the postmark
date on the reverse.
Man on a footbridge at
This postcard image can be used as a guide for dating subsequent
postcards of the same style and general scenery.
Notice at lower right corner it was sent in December of 1904, so
the photo it was created from was probably taken around 1900 to
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
View of dock at Sulphur Springs, no date
Photonegative from a postcard, probably circa 1905 to 1908
The popularity of the
once small resort community increased so drastically that a trolley line
was built to Sulphur Springs in 1907 by the Tampa and Sulphur Springs Traction
Company. The company was formed by Eugene Holtsinger, a
developer who helped create Bayshore Boulevard's first subdivision,
Suburb Beautiful. Holtsinger teamed up with Alfred Swann in a
land-development business and built homes in Hyde Park, Ridgewood Park,
Ybor City and West Tampa, as well as Suburb Beautiful. Holtsinger
was also the developer of the area known today as Channelside. The
streetcar line ran up Tampa Street
to Buffalo Avenue and across Buffalo to Central Avenue and then north on
Central Avenue to Broad Street and east to Nebraska Avenue, then north
to Sulphur Springs pool. Plans and a map of the location of a bridge for the Tampa
and Sulphur Springs Traction Company were approved in 1907. The new
steel bridge was located over the Hillsborough River at today's Nebraska
Avenue, but at that time, was west of the Berlin Bridge Co. bridge on
the Nebraska Avenue of that time.
The 1922 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows the 1891 Berlin Co. bridge along Nebraska Avenue, which is today's
Van Dyke Place, and the north-northeasterly path that it followed just
south of the river.
Tampa & Sulphur Springs Traction Company and
the Garcia Avenue Bridge to West Tampa
After building the line into Sulphur
Springs in 1907, the Tampa & Sulphur Springs Traction Company (T&SSTC)
established other lines in the city and competed with the Tampa
Electric Company. The T&SSTC was running streetcars into West
Tampa, forming a direct route from the cosmopolitan cities of Ybor
City and West Tampa by January 1909. This was accomplished by
building the Garcia Avenue bridge across the Hillsborough River on
which the tracks were laid. Steel was laid on concrete piers to
form a strong foundation for the new bridge. The structure was put
together by the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company.
satisfactory agreement was reached between the traction company
and the City of Tampa whereby the city paid a part of the cost and
in return would have free use of the bridge for pedestrians,
providing a sidewalk for their use. The bridge was not provided
with an electric apparatus for opening the draw, like the one at
the Lafayette (Kennedy) Street Bridge. The draw was opened by hand
power, but this did not cause delay. The traffic in this part of
the river was not heavy, and the bridge was not open often.
The City of Tampa could not support two systems and in 1911 the T&SSTC,
headed by John P Martin, went into the hands of the receiver. Two
years later (1913) it was purchased at receiver sale by Tampa
Electric Company, and the systems were consolidated. The Company
then had 47 miles of track and was operating 67 trolley cars, 63
of which were open cars.
Holtsinger, who had diabetes, was 48 when he died on Dec. 16, 1916. The
bridge on North Blvd. bearing his name, which replaced the nearby Garcia
Avenue Bridge, cost $892,000 and
was dedicated July 22, 1959.
Dr. Mills moved to Tampa around 1914 where he
and Bessie lived and owned the Magnolia Pharmacy at 907 17th Avenue.
1916 through 1919 directory listings were the same as 1915.
The 1920 census of
Dr. John Mills shows he immigrated in 1897, was naturalized in
1898, was born in Holland and his native tongue was Dutch.
His occupation was drug merchant.
Newspaper ad announcing grand 4th of July celebration, June 28, 1910
to the newspaper ad at the left, Gaither & Henderson took over ownership
of Sulphur Springs Park before July, 1910. This was a lease
arrangement they had with Josiah Richardson which would later result in
a long and complex lawsuit by Richardson.
Sulphur Springs Park is but a few moments ride from Tampa,
situated in the beautiful Hillsborough River, an Amusement Park
that has no equal in the South. Thousands of dollars have
recently been expended by its new owners, GAITHER & HENDERSON, in
perfecting all amusement features and beautifying the
FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION the two new and large swimming
pools will be completed, all the amusement features will be
perfected and the New Colonial Hotel will offer the most perfect
and elegant service.
There will be Brass Bands in attendance all day. A most
excellent orchestra at the Dancing Pavilion, dancing from 2pm
until midnight. The charge for dancing will be 5c for each couple
of the amusements and facilities listed in this ad are clearly
missing from the photos and postcard images presented above.
Those images show a relatively pastoral setting. By assuming those
images were from circa 1900 to 19o5, there should have been
sufficient time to develop the park to the condition advertised
Gaither & Henderson were William C.
Gaither and Green T. Henderson, local Tampa businessmen.
Gaither was a confectioner with J. L. Young of Young & Gaither,
Confectioners. Henderson was the manager of Tampa Real
Estate and Loan Association. Sometime around 1910 they
acquired the Sulphur Springs park as an investment opportunity.
In 1911, they went into business as "Stomawa Mineral Water
Company" in Tampa, bottling and selling the mineral water.
It is at this time that the
word "Stomawa" appears in local literature, claimed to be a
Seminole Indian word for "Stomach water" due to its healing
properties and benefit for the stomach.
According to ENGLISH / SEMINOLE VOCABULARY as documented during THE
SECOND SEMINOLE WAR 1835 - 1842,Compiled and edited
by Debra Kay Harper, Introduction by Frank Laumer Series
Editor Frank Laumer, there were many Seminole
words for water, depending on the type of water, and the
local dialect. A portion of the introduction states:
"The goal of this work is to
provide the English equivalent of Seminole words as
written phonetically during the period of the Seminole
Wars, with emphasis on the second war, 1835-1842, by
soldiers, interpreters, and government agents. The
Seminole people did not have a written language and
white men’s versions of their words during that time are
all that exist. We believe this collection will be a
valuable resource to all who have an interest in this
period of Florida’s history - the spoken Seminole words
as heard, understood and used by these men.
Unfortunately missing from the sources is any
hyphenation of syllables in the Seminole words, making
correct pronunciation difficult. In an attempt to
balance the understanding and comprehension of these
words with current Seminole usage, we have been
generously assisted by Lorene B. Gopher, Director of
Culture Education Department, Seminole Tribe of Florida.
She has syllabicated our entries as she believes them to
have been used at the time."
"Water" include (these are phonetic spellings,
with 3-letter source citation in all caps):
water] - wee-ki-vah NOR, wekewa SIM, wekiwa SMI,WIL,
welika SIM, weliki SIM water, big - thak-ko GOP, we-wa cluccko SMI water, black - wee-lus-tee NOR, wee-wah NOR water - owewah MOT, we-wa SMI,WIL, we-waw SIM, wee-wah
Key to sources:
GOP - Lorene B. Gopher, Director of Culture Education
Department, Seminole Tribe of Florida.
MOT - Motte, Jacob Rhett. Journey Into Wilderness.
Gainesville, FL. University of Florida Press, 1953.
NOR - Norton, Charles Ledyard. A Handbook of Florida. New
York, NY. Longmans, Green, & Co., 1891.
SIM - Simmons, William Hayne. Notices of East Florida.
Charleston, SC. A.E. Miller, 1822.
WIL - Williams, John Lee. Territory of Florida. New York,
NY. A. T. Goodrich, 1837.
There are no entries for
"stomach." Although some Seminole words for water
contain the "wa" syllable, it seems unlikely that the
Seminole word for "stomach" consisted of the same first 5
letters of the English word. Gaither and Henderson's
claim that "Stomawa" was a Seminole word for the water at
the Sulphur Springs may have simply been concocted by Gaither and Henderson from
the words Stomach and Water, or Stomach, and we-wa.
to Tampa, 1915-1916
Survey 8th Annual Report, 1916
About six miles north of the city, fronting the
Hillsborough river, is located Sulphur Springs park, of
especial interest to visitors to this section. Here is
found the famous "Stomawa" mineral well, the name
being of Seminole Indian origin and meaning Stomach Water.
It is claimed the effect of the water is identical with
that of the Kissingen Springs of Kissingen, Germany, the
analyses showing but slight differences. In the days of
the Seminole supremacy, the spring was visited yearly by
thousands of Indians who came from the country both north
and south of Tampa to drink the water and regain their
health. Today the spring is visited by thousands of
Americans each year. The water is slightly alkaline and
has a saltine taste. The enormous Sulphur Spring, from
which the park takes its name, is another feature of
intense interest. This spring is confined in a large
concrete basin, 125 x 135 feet in dimensions, in which
bathing is permitted. The spring has an eight and one-half
foot fall, a flow of 30,000 gallons per minute, or
43,200,000 gallons every 24 hours. The grounds surrounding
the springs are interesting for their natural tropical
growth. The amusements provided consist of a zoological
garden, including a collection of Florida alligators,
dancing pavilion, cafe. and several minor attractions.
There is also a good hotel on the grounds giving excellent
accommodations either by the week or for a single meal.
The car ride to Sulphur Springs takes the visitor through
some of the most rapidly growing suburbs of the city and
directly through the center of two large orange groves,
where during the season the golden fruit may be seen
hanging from the branches of the trees. Take Sulphur
The postcard at right
clearly shows the roller coaster in the distance, beyond the
pool.. It is postmarked on the reverse, Sept. 4, 1911.
1913, the movie “The Birth of a Race,” directed by John W. Noble, began filming in Sulphur Springs. Hundreds of African Americans in the Tampa
area were extras. The film was considered an early response to T.F. Dixon’s
play, “The Clansman,” adapted to the stage in 1910 and a forerunner to D.W.
Griffith’s film, “Birth of a Nation” produced in 1915.
This image is from
1913, "Birth of a Race" (released in 1919), the opening "birth
of the human race" sequence which was filmed in Sulphur Springs and
around Tampa. Funded in large part by
Booker T. Washington and his Tuskegee Institute. One of the
earliest African American-made films, it was directed by
Washington's personal secretary, John Noble, and produced by
Emmett Scott. Its title, added probably after 1915, was a
reference (and rebuttal) of D.W. Griffith's controversial and
of a Nation."
General description ● J. H.
Krause ● The 1891 Iron Bridge ● Dr. Mills and his resort ● Circa 1900
images ● Josiah S. Richardson early years ● The streetcar line and the
1907 steel bridge ● Gaither & Henderson park improvements and Stomawa
Mineral Water ● The park in Rinaldi's Guidebook of Tampa 1915 ●
Josiah Richardson's Sulphur Springs Amusement Park ● 1922 map of the park
with photo positions marked ● Photos of the park in the "Roaring Twenties"
● Van Dyke's Service Station ● The 1924 Nebraska Avenue bridge ● Josiah
Richardson's Sulphur Springs Hotel, "The Arcade"