What's In A Name?
Persons whose lives influenced the naming of streets and places in Tampa

Dale Mabry, Adamo and MacDill--Not Just a Highway, Drive or an Avenue
 

TOP PHOTO: The crew of the airship "ROMA"(* indicates survived the crash): Front row, L to R, 1st Lt. Walter J. Reed*, Maj. John Thornell and Capt. Dale Mabry; back row, left to right, Sgt. Virgil C. Hoffman, Sgt. Joseph M. Biedenback*, Staff Sgt. Marion J. Beall, Master Sgt. Roger C. McNally, and Master Sgt. Harry A. Chapman*. All were aboard when the Roma crashed.  

Bottom photos: Milton H. Mabry and sons Giddings and Dale.


Dr. Frank Scozzari Adamo
 

Clockwise from Top left - A young Dr. Frank Adamo, possibly late 1910s to 1920s. Photo provided by Barbara Lewis, Dr. Adamo's granddaughter.

1941 Lt Col Frank Adamo MD photo taken by Life magazine photographer in the Philippines early in 1941. 

Col. Frank Adamo in uniform, 1940s

Dr. Adamo with his sisters, Francesca, Angelina, and brother Phillip.

Group photo: Adamo, the oldest living past president of the Medical Association at 88, was made the first recipient of the award. His family was on hand the night the Ybor Optimist Club honored Dr. Frank S. Adamo in October, 1981. A handsome plaque designating the World War II hero El Mejor Ciudadano de Ybor City. Mrs. Adamo is seen at the doctor’s right, while his grandson, Frank Saxon, and Mrs. Saxon, extend congratulations. 


 

Dale Mabry (March 22, 1891–February 21, 1922) was an American World War I aviator. Mabry, a native of Florida, was a son of former Florida Supreme Court Justice and Lt. Gov. of Florida Milton Harvey Mabry (b. 1851). Dale went on to become an airship pilot and captain in the United States Army. Captain Mabry died piloting the Army airship Roma, a dirigible he was testing, when it crashed in Norfolk, Virginia on February 21, 1922. The event marked the greatest disaster in American aeronautics up to that time.

See photos of the Roma and the crash

During construction of MacDill air field in 1939, Lisbon Avenue was extended as the first road to the base and was soon renamed after Col. Leslie MacDill (MacDill Ave.) Bayshore Boulevard was a brick street that terminated at the base boundary, where motorists sometimes got stuck in the sand at the end.

The best highway to the MacDill field was an extension of Vera Avenue, which became Dale Mabry Road.  Dale Mabry Highway was built along Vera Ave which was a north/south neighborhood street south of Laurel Street (with a couple of short sections around Spruce St. and around Tampa Bay Blvd.). The extension to Hillsborough Ave. as Dale Mabry, connected Drew Field with MacDill Field.

Story from Sept. 30, 1943 Drew Echoes, Drew Airfield weekly paper:

Dale Mabry Road Opened Saturday to Drew Traffic
The war effort got a shot in the arm and roughriding Drew Field soldiers got a new deal in bus transportation with the official opening of the new $1 million Dale Mabry highway Saturday.

The smooth, straight-away concrete road, which greatly speeds important Army traffic between Drew and MacDill Fields, was dedicated at ceremonies at the east gate by Mabel Mabry, a niece of Captain Dale Mabry, the highway's namesake. Mabry, a Tampa Army balloonist, was one of 33 persons killed in the explosion-crash of the dirigible Roma at Hampton, VA, in Feb. 1922.

The first automobile to enter the highway--a sleek red convertible belonging to the upper income bracket and driven by Otis E. Pruitt, Clearwater--also picked up the first GI to hitch a ride on the eight mile road, Sgt. Harry Evans. As far as the dogfaces were concerned, the road was really officially opened when Evans caught the hop. Immediately following the hitchhiking Evans came a string of automobiles bearing Miss Mabry and other relatives of Dale Mabry, the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, and city and county officials from Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

Spurred by the 69th Air Force Band, conducted by Warrant Officer Lester G. Baker, the ceremonies continued 30 minutes and were broadcast by Station WDAE.

The first bus to use the new route left the east gate at 4pm. Busses now use Dale Mabry Highway to Memorial Highway, travel east on Memorial to Howard, then north on Howard to Cass, and east on Cass to the terminus at the Allied Building. A. Pickens Coles, president of Air Base LInes, said the new route is about three-tenths of a mile longer than the old route over narrow, bumpy, equipment-wrecking Tampa Bay Blvd, but pointed out that the running time is about the same and that passengers get the benefit of a smooth ride.

LUMINARIES ATTEND
Among Army officials who attended the ceremonies were Brigadier Gen. Westside T. Larson, Commanding Gen. of the 3rd Air Force; Brig. Gen. Stephen H. Sherrill, Commanding Gen. of AWUTC; Col. Melvin B. Asp, Drew Field Air Base Area Commander; Col. Thomas S. Voss, MacDill Field Air Base Area Commander; Col. Thomas W. Walton, 3rd Fighter Command executive officer; Col. R. W. McNamee, AWUTC executive officer; and Col. Stephen C. Lombard of 3rd Air Force Hqtrs, and Lieut. Col. William H. Fillmore, Drew Field executive officer.

In addition to Miss Mabry, other relatives of the highway's namesake present were Giddings E. Mabry and Milton H. Mabry, Jr, brothers; Mrs. Tavor Bayly, sister; and Mrs. James R. Boring Jr., Mrs. Paul D. Cochran Jr., and Barbara Mabry, nieces.


The Mabrys were a prominent family in Tallahassee. Dale Mabry Municipal Airport in Tallahassee, the city's first airport, is also named after him. The original Tallahassee Airport location was on Dale Mabry Field, a WWII Army Aircorps flight training facility. There is a Dale Mabry Elementary school named after him in Tampa.

Dale Mabry's brother, Giddings Eldon Mabry, came to Tampa in 1901 and started a private law practice. He was later joined by former judge OK Reaves, and Doyle E. Carlton (who would become Governor of Florida during the Great Depression, then rejoin Mabry & Reaves). The law firm of Mabry, Reaves & Carlton was instrumental in the development of early Tampa, and eventually became the law firm of Carlton Fields Ward Emmanuel Smith & Cutler by the 1960s; it is now known as Carlton Fields, P.A.    Mabry Family Genealogy

Don't miss this exceptional video about the Roma and Capt. Mabry.

 

Dale Mabry was not extended north of Hillsborough Ave. until around 1955.  Not only did they have to build an overpass at Hillsborough Avenue and the railroad tracks near Gunn Highway, the entire new highway to the north had to be cut through the cow pastures to its new northern terminus (probably the junction with US41 at Land O’Lakes).


Dale Mabry looking north with intersection of Gray St. on the left, April 1954  State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/103856


Dale Mabry looking northwest toward the intersection of Columbus Drive and Bartke's billboard. April 1954
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/104656


The terminus of Dale Mabry at Hillsborough Ave., April 1954
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/104655

 

Every day, thousands of motorists travel Adamo Drive, a busy 7-mile stretch of State Road 60 that carries motorists between the Channelside District of downtown Tampa and South Falkenburg Road on Brandon's western edge.

Few remember for whom the street was named; even fewer pronounce the name ah-DAHM-o, as Dr. Adamo would have. But Frank Adamo was a gentleman and never complained.

A World War II prisoner of war hailed by Life Magazine as "Bataan's medical hero," he earned a huge welcome when he finally came home in 1945. Tampa celebrated Frank Adamo Day with a parade through the streets of the city. His courage and sacrifice as a prison-camp physician, and the many lives he saved with his innovative treatment for gangrene, earned him a Legion of Merit medal.

He went on to become a respected and beloved hometown doctor, one of the greatest of "the greatest generation."

Frank Scozzari Adamo was born in Tampa in 1893 as Francesco Scozzari, the 2nd child of Sicilian immigrants Giuseppe Scozzari and Maria Leto. Frank had sisters Francesca (b.1888) and Angelina (b. 1897) and a brother Filippo (b.1901). All were born with the Scozzari surname. Nobody in the family now knows why the family surname was changed to Adamo. A son of Philip Adamo, also named Frank S. Adamo, says it was his uncle Dr. Frank Scozzari Adamo who had the family surname changed when he found out the middle name was Adamo, but he doesn't give any more details of this.

Nothing in Frank's youth suggested future success: He attended school for only a few years, suffered from terrible headaches and went to work rolling cigars as a pre-teen. He spoke little English.
During the turbulent cigar strike of 1910, Frank left Tampa. He eventually traveled to Chicago, where he attended night classes to finish grammar school - as an 18-year-old. He quickly worked through the high school curriculum and finished a year of college before enrolling at the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery.

While in Chicago, Adamo found someone to love: Euphemia H. Stevenson, a young nurse from Scotland's Orkney Islands. They married in Chicago on Jan. 2, 1919.

(There is a photo circulating the internet as a photo of a young Dr. Adamo, possibly as he graduated from medical school. That photo is of Dr. Adamo, but not the WW2 hero Dr. Adamo. It is of his cousin, Frank S. Adamo who attended medical school in New York and worked as an intern at St. Vincent's hospital in Manhattan in 1930. This Dr. Adamo was our Dr. Adamo's cousin, and was 12 years younger than our Dr. Adamo.)

Adamo began his internship in Tampa in September 1919. where Frank was a physician in his office at 1922 1/2 7th Avenue.  He and his wife lived on the 2nd floor above the office. "Upon returning (to Tampa), I almost died of the heat," he recalled in a 1980 interview. "You could not open your mouth or you would get a mouthful of mosquitoes."
 


Later in 1920, Dr. Adamo bought a home at 816 S. Edison and moved his family there.  Between 1926 and 1930, they moved to Chicago with their daughters Mary and Vivian where they are listed on the 1930 census.

World War II
In 1923, Adamo joined the Army Reserve, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1939. On Nov. 5, 1940, he was called up to active duty, and the following spring he was sent to Fort McKinley Hospital in the Philippines as an Army surgeon.

Sounds of Japanese planes and bombs awakened him there the morning of Dec. 8, 1941. Japanese troops attacked the Philippines, and Adamo and other soldiers and civilians fled to the island of Corregidor, called "The Rock," in Manila Bay. There, Adamo worked tirelessly to treat wounded soldiers and civilians.

In a Feb. 16, 1942 issue of Life Magazine, he was called "Bataan's medical hero" and described as "slight, grayish, calm."

Confronted by mounting numbers of patients suffering from gangrene, Adamo experimented with a new procedure. Amputation of the limb was the accepted treatment for gangrene, but Adamo knew that the gangrene bacillus could not survive if exposed to oxygen. He tried opening the wounds and applying sulfa drugs, irrigating every hour with hydrogen peroxide. The treatment proved effective, and the surgeon was lauded for the many lives - and limbs - he saved.

Taken prisoner
Corregidor fell on April 9. Adamo was taken prisoner and began the infamous Bataan Death March, a harrowing 60-mile trek. Seventy-five thousand captives began the march; as many as 20,000 died or were killed along the way. At the prison camp, though he too suffered from beriberi and other ailments, he treated men stricken with dysentery, beriberi, malaria, dengue fever, and malnutrition. In the book "P.O.W. in the Pacific," William Donovan credits Adamo with saving his life.
He also treated the enemy. He saved the life of a young Japanese soldier by performing an emergency appendectomy and was rewarded with a precious can of peaches.

Life in a Japanese prison camp was torturous, he remembered. "Mainly for breakfast there was rice, for lunch was rice and for supper was more rice. We also had a few greens we called whisperweed because you could blow through it, soy beans, and once in a while dried salty fish that we mixed with water.

"About the only thing we had to do was think. And about all we could think about was getting something to eat." Adamo would daydream about the meals he used to have. "I could almost taste sometimes the spaghetti and veal and chicken. And then sometimes I'd think about how nice it would be to have one more steak before I died."  His only communication with his wife in Tampa was a three-word Red Cross telegram: "I am well."

Rescue
In January 1945, American planes appeared. On the morning of Feb. 4, 1945, the Japanese guards vanished. Soon, U.S. troops liberated the camp. Adamo, like many of the prisoners, was so ravenously hungry - he weighed 95 pounds - that he became sick eating cans of pork.

By the time he made it home to Tampa, First Avenue had been renamed Frank Adamo Drive. April 27, 1945 was declared Frank Adamo Day, and a large parade celebrated the colonel's homecoming. "Persons who had known the famous doctor for years, some since he was a little boy, wouldn't let him go," the Tribune reported. "There were tears in their eyes." Dick Greco (uncle to the future mayor) proudly pointed to his cheek, gushing, "He kissed me right here."

Eventually, Adamo resumed his private surgical practice. In 1960, he received a trophy for being "Most Popular Doctor" at Centro Asturiano Hospital. He also served as a president of the Hillsborough Medical Association

He retired at age 80 in 1973 and, a decade later, was still playing golf several times a week. Adamo died in 1988.

Most of this story was written by Gary Mormino, director of the Florida Studies Program at USF - July 18, 2010.

Other sources:  LIFE Magazine "Bataan Wounded Lived With Pain"

The sunland tribune. Vol. 8, no. 1 (November 1982)

See newspaper clippings of articles about Dr. Adamo during his service and capture in WW2.

Special thanks to Barbara Lewis for correction to photos previously displayed here and contribution of Dr. Adamo portrait.

Dr. Adamo is one of the persons honored on the mural displayed on buildings along Adamo Drive in Tampa.  See the whole mural here.

 

April 27, 1945, Franklin Street and Zack - A Frank Adamo Day parade celebrated the physician following his release from a World War II prisoner of war camp. He was hailed as a hero for courageous service and saving lives.  Notice Maas Bros. department store in the background.

 

 

 

 

Col. Leslie MacDill, 1918

 
MACDILL AVENUE AND AIRFIELD
The land for what we now call MacDill AFB was chosen in April, 1938, and it was to be named Southeast Air Base. Army Air Corp pilots had been impressed with the flat, sandy, snake-ridden stretch of land on Tampa’s Interbay peninsula called Catfish Point. It was far enough from the city that no one complained of the aircraft noise. Also the base would be strategically located near the Caribbean and would have nearly year-round good flying weather. Initial clearance of the brush and swampland began on November 28, 1939, when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) assigned 100 men to clear the nearly 5,800 acres.

Almost simultaneously with the onset of work on the airfield, Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring announced a change of name for the future base on November 30, 1939. It was to be named after Colonel Leslie MacDill, who had died test-flying a BC-1 aircraft, along with the mechanic, in a crash on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., on November 9, 1938.

Lisbon Avenue, which was located at the entrance to the base, and northward as Roosevelt Ave., were renamed MacDill Ave.

MacDill had been a very popular figure with the Air Staff. During World War I he had been the commander of an Aerial Gunnery Training School at St. Jean de Monte, France. In June 1922 he earned a Doctor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MacDill was a rising star in the Army Air Corps when he suffered the fatal accident at age forty-eight.

 

 

At the time of the official dedication of MacDill airfield on April 15, 1941 there were three runways (5,000 feet long and 250 feet wide) and a few two-story buildings. Brigadier General Tinker landed the first aircraft on the newly completed runways to commemorate the opening.
 

There were three airfields in Tampa during World War II. Drew Field, where present day Tampa International Airport is located, Henderson Field where Busch Gardens is situated (originally envisioned as the place for Tampa’s main airport), and MacDill Field. Henderson and Drew fields were designated as auxiliary operational (support) bases for MacDill, as well as a number of other fields around the state.  See MacDill AFB Air Show 1976 here at Tampapix for more detail on the history of MacDill AFB.

 

   
 
Part of an article promoting New Port Richey at the height of the Florida land boom.  See this page with several more ads for real estate opportunities.  

Gunn Highway

This road is named after Hillsborough County commissioner John Thomas Gunn, a former Tampa City Council member from 1886 to 1887 and 1904 to 1910, who also served on the County Board of Public Instruction in District 2 in 1907-08.  From 1922 into the 1930s he served on the County Commissioners office of Hillsborough County. 

Photo at right is a crop of a larger photo titled "Members of Tampa's oldest Masonic lodge, Hillsborough Lodge No. 25, assembled for a group photograph April 14, 1928." Provided by David Parsons, Librarian. Courtesy of Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. 
See full size uncropped photo of all lodge members.

The thoroughfare began as a sand road with two ruts and was built with convict labor in the 1920s. It was completed in 1925 from Tampa through Odessa and Elfers to New Port Richey and was considered to be one of the finest roads in the state at the time.  The road was maintained by the people who lived along it.  It was paved in the 1930s due much to the efforts of Gunn while he was a county commissioner. In 1976, it was resurfaced and widened by four feet.

1922 newspaper article on the slickness of Memorial Hwy mentions John T. Gunn

 

1946 Tampa street map

This map shows how Gunn Highway connected to Tampa's main thoroughfares in 1946.

Place your cursor on the map to see some present-day streets marked.

Notice at upper right (at "Sulphur Springs") that Temple Terrace Highway (now Busch Blvd.) ended at Nebraska Ave. and lack of interstate highway.

You took Florida or Nebraska Ave. out of town to Waters Ave. and turned left, then took a right around what is now Himes Ave. where Waters apparently ended, then a short jog to the left to Gunn Hwy. This part of Gunn Hwy. south of Busch is today's Lazy Lane.

Dale Mabry ended at Hillsborough Ave.  From this area of Tampa, you took Hillsborough Ave. to around what is now Lincoln, turned north a bit, did some zig zags, picked up what is now Himes and took this to Waters Ave.

Notice Tampa Bay Blvd. took a turn to the northwest at Dale Mabry, through Drew Field, then back to the west at what is now MLK Blvd but previously was Buffalo Ave. To the right of the last "A" in Tampa, Buffalo Ave. stopped at the river--no bridge yet.  It was built in 1959

Columbus Drive continued straight westward west of Dale Mabry, all the way to the causeway.

 

John T. Gunn was an Englishman who was born on Dec. 11, 1858 and came to the U.S. in 1870 at the age of 11 with his parents and two sisters (Mary and Elizabeth).  The family first settled in Syracuse, Onondaga County, NY, where John's father, Thomas, worked as a gardener & florist.  By 1880, the family settled in Fernandina, Nassau County, Florida, where John worked as a grocery clerk and his father was a laborer.  In the late 1880s, John, his mother Anna and sisters came to Tampa.  Thomas went back to Syracuse where he continued his florist business and lived with his widowed sister, Elizabeth Pycroft.  In 1900, John's mother, Anna, lived with her daughter Mary and her husband Arthur Whaley in Tampa.
 
On Dec. 29, 1887, John married Henrietta Krause, a daughter of John Henry Krause and Mary Elizabeth Daegenhardt.  Henry Krause was the first blacksmith in Tampa and became a prominent businessman, financed the ship building industry, and owned much of the Sulphur  Springs area where the family had a second home. 

John T. Gunn and Henrietta had children John Krause Gunn, Helen Marie Gunn (married Paul C. Lindley) and Jack Arvid Gunn from 1888 through 1900. 

John owned a successful wholesale grocery business, Gunn & Seckinger, at 408 Franklin St. and and was an agent for Benner Schooner Line at 102 Ashley (then Water Street), before he became a county commissioner.  He and his family lived at 202 Hyde Park Ave. for over 35 years. 

John and Henrietta's son, John K. Gunn, was a marine engineer, truck driver and paver for the county. He married Ruth Hoyt around 1924 and lived at 305 N. Arrawana Avenue in the 1920s to early 1940s, next to Ruth's parents.  John and Ruth had a daughter, Ruth, who died at age 2 in Nov. 1926.

Jack Arvid Gunn married Elizabeth Josephine Range in Tampa in 1941; they lived with Henrietta at 202 Hyde Park Ave.  Jack was first a clerk in the county road department office and later a county civil engineer on road construction.  He and Elizabeth apparently had no children.

Helen Marie Gunn married Paul C. Lindley in 1913 and had sons John, Paul Jr., Turner and Thomas from 1909 to 1924.  The family lived in Greensboro, Guilford Co., NC.  Helen died Oct. 6, 1978.

 

John T. Gunn died on Jul. 21, 1939.  Henrietta died Apr. 27, 1953.  John K. Gunn died Nov. 12, 1967.  Jack Arvid Gunn died Apr. 12, 1977  Elizabeth Range Gunn died Dec. 6, 1989


 

The 1899 Tampa city directory above lists the wholesale and commercial agents business at 102-104 Ashley, and the grocery store at 408 Franklin.  The next available directory, 1903, and those afterward, do not list the grocery store on Franklin.  Only the commercial wholesale business is listed, on 102-104 Water St.

 

 

The 1899 map above shows the location of Gunn & Seckinger Grocery, on the west side of Franklin St. between Lafayette St. and Madison.  Across Franklin St. was the Hillsborough Count Courthouse.  Yellow indicates this was a wooden structure.  Notice the newly built brick structure to the north of it where the 1st National Bank building was located.

Place your cursor on the map to see this block in 1887.

 

The 1899 map above shows the location of Gunn & Seckinger Wholesale Company at 102-104 Ashley.  Later, this portion of Ashley was named Water Street.

On the 1892 map at right, Gunn & Seckinger occupied the building where formerly, on the ground floor, Mrs. Fannie C. Binkley operated her dry goods store in the 1870s and on the 2nd floor was the office of Tampa Real Estate & Loan association operated by Frederick A. Salomonson and John H. Fessenden.  The tailor shop on the corner was Emery, Simms & Emery's Boots and Shoes store in the 1870s.

The large three-story building in the center held the Branch Opera House on the second floor, owned by attorney Henry L. Branch. It served as Tampa's primary place for social, political, and civil affairs. Hillsborough County High School held their graduation ceremony in the opera house in 1887. The ground floor of the opera house building housed the Wm. A. Morrison & George H. Packwood hardware store.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1880s photo at left shows the wood structures (yellow) you see on the 1892 map above.  The building at far left was a shoe & boot store.  In the middle was the opera house, and on the right was Mrs. Binkley's grocery store, which became the location of Gunn & Seckinger's grocery.  The brick jewelry and clothing store building on the map had not yet been built.

 

 

 

 

At right, the west side of the 400 block of Franklin St. in 1890, looking west toward the Hillsborough River, with the Tampa Bay Hotel at upper right and the Knight & Wall building at upper left.

This photo shows the scene from the 1892 map above.  Left to right are the tailor shop, the opera house, the grocery store, and the new brick building housing the jewelry and clothing store.  To the right of the brick building is the property where the First National Bank tower was built.

 

 

 

 

Gunn & Seckinger, 1897
408 Franklin St.

This photo is a small portion of the large photo shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Port Tampa Naval Reserve Parade on Franklin Street looking north from Lafayette Street in 1897.
Courtesy of University of Florida Digital Collections George Smathers Library
This photo is greatly reduced, see full size.
Notice the year "1884" at the top of the Gunn & Seckinger building.  To the right of Gunn & Seckinger is Beckwith Jewelry Store and H. Giddens Clothing store.  See the H. Giddens storefront in 1899.  In the 1910s, Giddens moved into a newly built brick structure on the south end of this block. See 1925 photo. The tall, white building on the corner of Franklin and Madison was the First National Bank. See the bank in 1900 and 1920.  See the First National Bank skyscraper built in 1926 at the same location which stood into the 1980s.  The entire block has been razed and is now known as Lykes Gaslight Park.  The building on the north side of Madison St. under the Vatterlin's Shoes sign was known as "Drawdy's Corner" and became the offices of D.P. Davis' land sales for Davis Islands in 1925.  See photo.  On the right side of the photo can be seen the trees that were in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are two views of the same block, "Giddens Corner" in 1911.


Same block in 1922

 

 

1870 Federal Census, Onondaga County
Syracuse, NY

Gunn, Thomas  38
------- Anna     35
------- John      11
------- Mary       8
----Elizabeth      5

 

 

 

 

1880 Federal Census, Nassau County
Fernandina, FL

Gunn, Thomas  47
------- Anna     42
------- John      21
------- Mary     17
----Elizabeth    14


John T. Gunn, wife Henrietta Krause and children John Krause Gunn, Helen Marie Gunn and Jack Arvid Gunn at 202 Hyde Park Avenue, 1910.
The record indicates they were married for 22 years. "3 | 3" indicates Henrietta was the mother of 3 children, 3 still living.  John's business was "Wholesale Market, Groceries."


The 1930 census shows 70 year old John T. Gunn owned his home at 202 Hyde Park Avenue, valued at $20,000, occupation: County Commissioner. Son Jack was a Civil Engineer, Road Construction.

Dale Mabry Higway was not extended north of Hillsborough Ave. until around 1955.  Not only did they have to build the overpass, but the entire new highway to the north had to be cut through the cow pastures to its new northern terminus (probably the junction with US41 at Land O’Lakes).


 

 

 

 

 

N. Dale Mabry Hwy. looking north toward the overpass at the railroad tracks, with car merging onto Dale Mabry from Gunn Highway on the left, 1959.  At this time, Temple Terrace Highway, which became Busch Blvd in the 1960s, had not yet been completed westward to Dale Mabry Highway.

 

 

 



   State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/103925

 

 

 

Looking south on Dale Mabry Hwy. just after passing southbound over the railroad overpass, 1959.

Traffic on the right merging southbound onto Dale Mabry from Gunn Hwy.  Temple Terrace Hwy (Busch Blvd.) had not yet been extended to Dale Mabry.

 

 


 


     State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/103927

      

1957 construction of the Dale Mabry extension and overpass over the railroad tracks.  Temple Terrace Hwy. (today's Busch Blvd.) had not yet been extended this far west from Florida Avenue.  The red rectangle marks the intersection seen in the above photo, travelling southbound. This 1969 photo shows Gunn Hwy. has been rerouted to join with the newer W. Busch Blvd. and cloverleaf exits/entrance ramps. The overpass at the railroad tracks has been improved by widening and lengthening to span Busch Blvd. along with construction of a second overpass to accommodate a divided Dale Mabry Highway.  The red rectangle marks the intersection seen in the above photo, travelling southbound. Today, Lazy Ln. runs along the old Gunn Hwy.

Citrus Park Historical Trails   City of Tampa Archives  Genealogy Trails   Gunn Hwy completed in 1925  The Pioneeers of Tampa

William Howard Frankland - The Man and the Bridge - NEW! Sep. 17, 2014

He didn't design it.  He didn't build it.  He didn't pay for it. 
But he proposed it and he made it possible for it to be built.
So it was named it for him.

 


 

At the age of 8, Howard Frankland's first job  was painting pinstripes on buggies in his father's carriage shop in Jackson, Tennessee.   By 1958, at the age of 56, he was president of Florida's oldest bank--the First National Bank of Tampa.    Read about it HERE.

BROTHERS TO THE RESCUE CORNER, a.k.a. Dale Mabry Hwy. & Columbus Drive
 

Brothers to the Rescue was a Miami-based civic organization headed by José Basulto.  It was founded in 1991 to save the lives of rafters fleeing from Cuba. In the course of many flights throughout the early 1990s,  planes for the organization flew repeated incursions into Cuban territory. While these were widely considered airspace violations, Brothers to the Rescue believed that these were acts of legitimate resistance against the Cuban government.  On some missions, leaflets containing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were released from their planes towards Havana from international airspace. On the afternoon of Feb. 24, 1996, four civic activists of the group, ignoring a final warning by Cuba, were shot down by Cuban MiGs of the Cuban Air Force, leading to international condemnation.

Two of the Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down by a Cuban Air Force MiG-29UB, while a second jet fighter, a MiG-23 orbited nearby. Killed in the shoot downs were pilots Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre, Jr., Mario de la Peña, and Pablo Morales. A third plane, flown by José Basulto, escaped.

 

Ten years later, around the world,  human rights activists, students, and movements in solidarity with Cuba’s civic movement organized acts of remembrance in their honor. A new generation of civic activists from around the world honored their sacrifice and affirmed their example of service to others through numerous acts of remembrance.

In Tampa, La Casa Cuba paid homage to Armando, Carlos, Mario and Pablo at the "Brothers to the Rescue Corner" monument located in West Tampa at Dale Mabry Highway and Columbus Drive on February 24, 2006.

See a close-up of the plaque on the monument

See a close-up of the plaque on the ground, which names the sponsors.

User your browser zoom on the images for the above links to see full size.

BRUCE B. DOWNS BLVD.

Bruce Barkley Downs, Sr. was born April 17, 1930 in Memphis, TN, son of Lewis Cass Downs and Jimmie Ann McCann. He joined the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in 1950, shortly after graduating from Hernando High School in Brooksville. In 1951 he married Patsy Ruth Spencer in Brooksville.

At the FDOT, Downs became head of traffic operations and designed traffic layout, signals, signage and traffic flow for 14 counties. Downs was an engineer who worked 29 years for the state Transportation Department, and was responsible for improving local infrastructure. During his time with FDOT he was named "Jaycee Boss of the Year."

After retiring from FDOT as director of transportation and safety, he became Hillsborough County’s director of Public Works and Safety and the deputy county administrator. He was instrumental in passing a penny gas tax, designing the "G" canal and passing a moratorium for a $30 million revenue bond amendment. He was in charge of 2,100 miles of roads, bridges, and animal control.

Downs was often asked to speak at Mothers Against Drunk Driving meetings and served as an expert witness during accident trials. It was a stressful time in Hillsborough County politics, when Bruce Downs worked as a deputy public works administrator. The county was in bad shape. According to his widow, Patsy, many people loved Bruce because he got them out of a hole. He was very personable and wasn't one to brag. He had a staff of about 40 and a photographic memory, Patsy said. He could retrieve people's names and faces after meeting them only once.

On May 21, 1983, a local newspaper ran a story about how Downs' job was one of the most stressful in the county. Downs, who had high blood pressure most of his life, was scheduled to go the doctor a few days later to get a physical and a stress test. The day the story came out, Downs collapsed in a restaurant while eating lunch with co-workers. He was rushed to a hospital, where doctors tried to revive him from a massive heart attack. He died before his family could get to the hospital. He was 53.

Over 500 people attended the funeral, and county employees were so distraught, they asked that his county car be removed so they didn't have to see it every day.

On April 17, 1986, Downs' birthday, the county renamed a little-used 30th Street as "Bruce B. Downs Boulevard," in memory of a man who loved roads. "This would have been a shock to him," Patsy Downs said. "He would have felt so humble."

He was chosen by the Governor in 2000 as a Great Floridian; his Great Floridian plaque is located at his home at 2160 De Las Flores, Bartow.

Bruce and Patsy's son, Bruce B. Downs Jr., goes by "Barkley" and has two sons, Bruce B. Downs III and Justin Sheridan Downs. Bruce III is a medical assistant who lives in Bartow.

Portions of this obtained from St. Pete Times article by Emily Nipps, Feb. 2007.
 

BEARSS AVENUE
[Correct pronunciation rhymes with FIERCE]

In 1894, 51-year-old New York born Rev. Isaac Ward Bearss visited Magdalene, Florida, from his home in Trenton, Missouri, looking for a new home. Searching for a more hospitable climate for health reasons, Rev. Bearss found 600 acres of suitable property on the northwest shore of Lake Magdalene, an area known as "Horse Pond" in 1900.

Trading land in Missouri for his land in Florida, he went back home to move his wife Amanda Jeffries Bearss and eight children to their new home.  Their son Charles was also a preacher.  Rev. Bearss also convinced eleven church members to make the 11-week covered wagon trip to Florida. Consisting of 20 horses, 20 mules, and six wagons, it took only eight weeks to reach the Florida border, but an additional three weeks to reach Lake Magdalene. Surviving the perilous journey, they arrived on December 20, 1894.

Hoping to establish a United Brethren Church in the community, the newly arrived families planned to survive economically off the area’s orange laden trees. However, the group arrived on the eve of two freezes that would wipe out most of the state’s orange production. 

Not deterred, Rev. Bearss and eight followers founded a church in May 1895. The church held services in a building then known as the Lake Carroll school house. A year later, the church relocated to Gant School, near present day Citrus Park. By 1897, the congregation grew to 21, and in response, nine members began to build a church with Rev. Bearss serving as foreman.  Completed in February 1898, the new 36-by-24 foot building could hold 200 people. Eight years after its dedication, the 42 member congregation voted to move the church back to the Magdalene community. Taking several weeks to move by rolling the entire structure on wood logs, pulled by a team of mules, the church was relocated to the intersection of present day Lake Magdalene Boulevard and Paddock Street, on land donated by B.E. Stall (the family for whom Stall Rd. is named), Rev. Bearss’ son-in-law.   It was replaced by a two-story brick sanctuary in 1924 and then the most recent building in 1960.

As the Bearss family rooted itself in Lake Magdalene, they expanded a 40-acre property that had orange trees on it to cultivate a grove. The property is bordered by Lake Magdalene Boulevard, Smitter Road and Bearss Avenue.  The children and grandchildren of I.W. Bearss gave the right of way through their property to build an east-west road, and so was it was named for the family.  Originally, it was a short section of road that curved and merged to the north into Lake Magdalene Blvd.  When the road was straightened and widened, it became a major thoroughfare.

Rev. Isaac W. Bearss died in 1932 at age 87 at the home of his daughter, E.V. Mendenhall.  He was a  retired minister for the United Brethren church and was buried in Lake Carroll cemetery.

Many of his descendants still live in the area.  His great-grandson, Martin Bearss, owner of Bearss Groves at the southwest corner of Bearss Avenue and Lake Magdalene Boulevard, has lived most of his 56 years in Lake Magdalene. He has run a produce market at Bearss Groves since 1990.

Hillsb. Co. Historic Resources  Taking a Stand on Produce
 


HOWARD AVENUE

Howard Avenue was named by Hugh Macfarlane after his son, Howard Pettingill Macfarlane.  Howard was born in Tampa in 1888.  He graduated from Princeton University in 1911 and Washington and Lee University in 1913, where he obtained his law degree.  Immediately after graduation, he joined his father in the practice of law at the firm of MacFarlane Ferguson, a law firm started by his father.  He earned a reputation as a lawyer of ability and success and was looked upon as leader among the younger members of the bar.  He married Carolyn Kenyon of Syracuse, NY in 1914 and had children Jean (1915), Hugh C., II (1918) and Anne P. Macfarlane (1924). During WW1, he attended officers training at Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia.  He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 1918 and served as an instructor in the Infantry Replacement Camp at Camp Lee, VA.  The armistice intervened before his overseas service, and so he was discharged at Camp Lee in Dec. of 1918.  In 1921 he was elected as the youngest president of the Hillsborough County Bar Assn. Howard died in 1967.

Hugh C. Macfarlane was born in Grossmylouf, Scotland, in 1851 and came to this country with his parents as a teenager. By the time he moved to Tampa in 1884, he was an experienced lawyer with a law degree from Boston University. Three years later he was appointed city attorney, and in 1893 state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit. Appointments to the Board of Public Works and Board of Port Commissioners furthered his local prominence. In 1892 Macfarlane offered free land and buildings to cigar manufacturers a few miles northwest of Tampa proper. In order to develop West Tampa as Hillsborough County’s second cigar manufacturing area, Macfarlane and his partners financed the first bridge across the Hillsborough River, the iron Fortune Street drawbridge. In the fall of 1892, the Macfarlane Investment Company helped start a streetcar route from downtown Tampa into West Tampa. By 1900, good transportation and communication between West Tampa and Tampa’s port facilities were essential factors in making the new community competitive with Ybor City and Tampa for new factories and businesses.  In 1895 West Tampa incorporated as its own city and came to rival Ybor City in cigar production. In 1925, West Tampa was annexed into greater Tampa. Macfarlane worked for and formed several law firms until his death in 1935 at age 83.
 



 


HANNA RD.
Lutz
 

 

Joe Hanna
Circa 1910

 


Around 1905 Joe Hanna bought property at 50 cents an acre, near the lake that is now named for him (in Lutz). He built his house in the middle of his citrus grove in 1910. His land was on the west side of present day Hanna Road in Lutz, which was named for him, about a 1/4 mile south of today's Sunset Lane. Hanna grew tropical fruit and citrus and furnished fruit and vegetables for the North Tampa Land Company exhibit at a 1911 land show in Chicago.

Joe's full name was Josiah C. Hanna, Jr.  He was born Apr. 1856 in Florida of Tennessee native parents Josiah C. and Jane Hanna, who appear on the 1870 census as farmers in Tampa. Joe had sisters Eliza and Laura Hanna and married Sarah E. Jackson in Tampa on Oct. 19, 1880 (See marriage license). Joe and Sarah appear on the 1900 and 1910 censuses of Hillsborough Co, in the "College Hill" area of Tampa.  Their children were Leon C. Hanna b. July 1881, FL, Josiah D. Hanna b. Sept. 1883 FL, Ruby Hanna b. Sept. 1889 FL and Fred A. Hanna b. May 1893 FL.
 

HANNA AVENUE & HANNA'S WHIRL
Hanna Ave. in old Seminole Heights in Tampa is named for Josiah C. Hanna, Sr.  He was born in Tennessee around 1810 and had homesteaded land along the Hillsborough River by 1870 in the area where the river takes a sharp turn at a circular area formed by swirling currents. This part of the river became a popular swimming spot in the old days, known as "Hanna's Whirl" for Josiah, Sr.  In 1874, Josiah Sr. built the first bridge across the Hillsborough River near present-day Van Dyke Place, just east of present-day Nebraska Ave. in Sulphur Springs. This bridge was destroyed in a flood in 1880.


 


ASHLEY DRIVE

Ashley Drive in downtown is named for William Ashley, the first city clerk in the early days of Tampa. Ashley was born in Virginia around 1803 and came to Tampa before 1850.  He was in love with his slave, Nancy, who carried William's last name but could not marry him. They lived together as man and wife, faithful to each other. William  died in 1873 and was buried at Oaklawn cemetery. Shortly after his death, Nancy died. She was buried in the same grave with William. Ashley’s executor, John Jackson erected a tombstone in 1878 "to commemorate their fidelity to each other." The inscription reads: "Here lies Wm. Ashley and Nancy Ashley, master and servant. Faithful to each other in that relation in life, in death they are not seperated [sic]. Stranger, consider and be wiser. In the grave all human distinction of race or caste mingle together in one common dust."


William and Nancy's 1870 Census record
Click to enlarge
 


"La Setima,"
Seventh Ave.
Ybor City and the missing "P"

Spanish-speaking visitors have questioned why the signs on Seventh Avenue, the historic district's main thoroughfare, misspelled the word for "seventh" as La Setima instead of the correct spelling, La Septima.  

The City of Tampa claims that a La Setima is a colloquialism from the early 20th century, when waves of immigrants from Spain, Cuba and Italy flocked to Ybor looking for work in the cigar factories.  Back in the 1990s, Ybor City historian Frank Lastra recommended using “La Setima” as a second name for 7th Av., since that is how immigrants in the late 1800s pronounced the street’s name.  That's their story and their sticking to it.

SticksOfFire.com article  Read about the dispute

 May 10, 2012 - Tampa City Council Votes to Correct Spelling

 Visit Ybor City at Tampapix

 

FOWLER AVENUE

Fowler Avenue in Tampa was named for one of the foremost women in real estate, Maude Cody Fowler.  Maude Cody was born in 1875 in Memphis, TN, the daughter of Joseph L. Cody (a relative of the famous scout and showman, "Buffalo Bill" Cody,) and Harriet Cody.  While quite young, she relocated to Kansas City where she became one of the most successful women of the business world in that city, becoming the Vice President of the Security Underwriters Corp. of Kansas City and head of the the Kansas City Women's Athletic Club.  Operating out of Kansas City, she became one of the most leading developers of real estate in Florida, responsible for bringing many of Florida's leading citizens to this state.  Mrs. Fowler was married to Orin Scott Fowler and their son was the prominent Tampa attorney Cody Fowler of Fowler, White.  Mrs. Fowler moved to Tampa around 1921 and became one of the founding developers of Temple Terrace.  The original town plan for Temple Terrace, created in 1922, was a model of town planning in its day. Between 1923 and 1925 during the land boom, streets were paved, storm sewers installed, and a well was drilled to tap spring water. On May 25, 1925, the City was incorporated, with D. Collins Gillette, one of the founding developers, serving as the first mayor, and Maude Fowler, serving as vice mayor.  Maude Fowler died suddenly in Tampa on April 7, 1942.

Maude Fowler with many of the early developers of Temple Terrace.  The first mayor, D. Collins Gillette, is the large man to the right of the man holding the hat.
See full size

Article about South Tampa great great granddaughter of Maud Fowler raises money to start a vocational school for women in Rwanda
 



FLETCHER
AVENUE

In 1909, Duncan U. Fletcher was elected to the U.S. Senate and was re-elected for four consecutive terms.  Fletcher was also President of the Southern Commercial Congress from 1912 to 1918, delegate to the International High Commission at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1916 and appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the U.S. commission investigating European banking.

In 1928, Senator Fletcher introduced legislation to create the Everglades National Park, which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Fletcher’s most active role was on the Committee of Banking and Currency, which was responsible for investigating the Wall Street banking and stock exchange practices that contributed to the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. The investigation began the reform of American financial practices and resulted in the Banking Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1933, the first major legislation to regulate the sale of securities, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 

In the 1920s, George S. Gandy won the support of the leading business houses and banks of both St. Petersburg and Tampa to build the first bridge across Tampa Bay. He also obtained the backing of such public men as Senator Duncan U. Fletcher.

In the 1930s, Tampa was considering 17 sites to build an air field.  Mayor D. B. McKay’s hopes to include governmental representatives on his nonpartisan site selection committee were thwarted. None of the federal departments wanted to be involved. Finally, through the efforts of Florida’s Sen. Duncan Fletcher, he was able to line up two reservists, Capt. George K. Perkins and Lt. Philip Pratt, both of Washington, D.C. The site committee looked at the 17 sites offered by various property-owners. The committee came up with a selection that turned out to be more visionary than immediate: Catfish Point, at the southeastern tip of the Interbay peninsula.  The airfield was built and was named MacDill Air Field.

In 1934, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce honored Sen. Fletcher with this certificate of appreciation, stating:  "The Tampa Chamber of Commerce takes pleasure in extending the appreciation of its membership to the Honorable Duncan U. Fletcher on the completion of 25 years of faithful service as a U.S. Senator from the State of Florida in behalf of the Nation and his state.  March 4, 1934.  The last 4 signatures are that of Morris White, Thomas Shackleford, H. Culbreath and D.B. McKay.

Fletcher spent more than 25 years serving the Senate until his death in 1936. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL.


ZACK & TWIGGS

Tampa has 9 streets named after U.S. presidents, thanks to John Jackson, the surveyor who mapped out downtown Tampa in 1847 and filed the first city plan.  In addition to the obvious ones, Zack Street is named for Zachary Taylor.

Twiggs Street is named for General David Emanuel Twiggs. A career soldier, he was known as "Old Davy," "The Bengal Tiger," or "The Horse."

Twiggs was born in 1790 on the "Good Hope" estate in Richmond County, Georgia, son of Revolutionary War hero John Twiggs, a general in the Georgia militia. 

General Twiggs, circa 1850

David E. Twiggs, had served meritoriously in the U.S. Army for almost 50 years before the start of the Civil War.  He was an officer in the War of 1812, and he fought in the Black Hawk and the Seminole Wars. He was Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons at the outbreak of the Mexican-American War and led a brigade in the Army of Occupation at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was promoted to brigadier general and commanded a division at the Battle of Monterrey. He joined Winfield Scott's expedition, commanding its 2nd Division of Regulars and led the division in all the battles from Veracruz through Mexico City. He was wounded during the assault on Chapultepec. After the fall of Mexico City, he was appointed military governor of Veracruz. For gallant service in the Mexican War Twiggs was brevetted a major general and bestowed with a sword by the U.S. Congress.

In 1856, at the age of 66, he was placed in command of the Department of Texas with the duties of protecting the settlers from Comanches and other marauding Indians.  Twiggs, whose headquarters was in San Antonio, sympathized with the southern States during the secession crisis. On January 15, 1861, Twiggs wrote one of several letters to his commanding officer, Gen. Winfield Scott: "I am placed in a most embarrassing situation. I am a southern man and all these states will secede... As soon as I know Georgia has separated from the Union I must, of course, follow her. I most respectfully ask to be relieved in the command of this department... All I have is in the South." Though Twiggs repeatedly asked Scott what should be done when Texas seceded, he received no better answer than to protect government property without waging war or acting aggressively. Those instructions proved impossible to follow when 1,000 armed Texans surrounded Twiggs' 160-man garrison on February 18, 1861, and he was forced to surrender. Twiggs made the best terms possible for removing his men and equipment from the state and then departed, leaving $1.6 million of government property to be seized by the Confederacy. Twiggs was labeled a traitor in the North for surrendering Texas, and he was dishonorably dismissed from the U.S. army for "treachery to the flag". Twiggs was promptly commissioned a major general in the Confederate army, but never saw active duty. The mental anguish caused by his dishonorable discharge from the U.S. army led to the rapid decline of his health. Suffering from ill health, he died in 1862.


BUFFALO AVENUE (Now Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.)

The naming of Buffalo Avenue is unconfirmed.  One would think it was named for the city in New York, or the animal, but some long-time Tampa residents claim that it was named for an Italian family; Bufalo, with accent on the 2nd syllable, <Boo-FA-lo>.

The 1920 Census of Tampa shows a widowed Domenico Bufalo living at 408 Main Street in West Tampa with his three daughters.

Buffalo Avenue was around as early as 1886, it was north of the Tampa city limits and was listed in the 1886 Tampa City Directory, so it was likely named after the animal.

Naming of Tampa's Streets Follows Haphazard Course


GANDY BRIDGE

Visit an entire page dedicated to George S. Gandy and his bridge
 


LAMBRIGHT STREET

Edwin Dart Lambright was a key figure in Tampa journalism. Born in Brunswick, Georgia in 1874, he was the son of Joseph F. Lambright and Julia S. Dart.  Edwin grew up in Brunswick and attended its public schools.  He subsequently took a course at Emory College, then located in Oxford, but now located at Atlanta.

 

In 1893, he entered the newspaper business at Brunswick as a reporter on a local paper, and displayed such ability that when only 22 years of age he was made editor of the Brunswick Times, and remained with that journal until he came to Tampa in 1899, when he accepted an offer from Col. W. F. Stovall to join the Tampa Tribune. 

Lambright fitted in nicely in his new community and new opportunity. He stepped up rapidly to city editor, managing editor and editor. He held the post of editor for almost 60 years, the only break being six years when he was Postmaster of Tampa, under appointment by President Wilson, starting in 1917. 

In 1903 he married Miss Cannie Finch of Georgia.  They had one daughter, Mary Wallace Lambright in 1905.  She married J. Frank Davies of Tampa.  

In 1936, Lambright published "The Life and Exploits of Gasparilla: Last of the Buccaneers, with the History of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla" a biography he said was based on the diary of Jose Gaspar, which was found in an attack on the American Embassy in Madrid, Spain.  In his book, Lambright contended that Jose Gaspar was born in 1756, served in the Spanish Navy, and turned pirate in 1783. Ed Lambright died in 1959 at the age of 85.  He was active in many community affairs, including being a charter member of Tampa Lodge No. 708, B.P.O.E. and serving as president of the Tampa Rotary Club. In 1945, he was given the Civitan Award for Outstanding Citizenship.

 



NEBRASKA AVENUE

Rather simple; Nebraska Avenue was named for the state...but why?  In the 1870s Tampa was in the doldrums. Times were bad, Tampa had shrunk in population. The 1870s were probably the worst years for Tampa. There was nothing going on here; it was an isolated community. Progress was at a standstill. But the people who lived here seemed to have enjoyed it. There was a lot of game, and fishing was excellent. It was quiet. The weather was beautiful. There were those who really loved it. And there were those who didn’t see much prosperity for the future. Tampa had an influx in the 1870s of people from the state of Nebraska. It's not known why exactly. They started developing orange groves along what became Nebraska Avenue, from present-day 7th Avenue to present-day Columbus Drive.  Nebraska Avenue was a dirt road with orange groves on both sides. Most of downtown and the surrounding area was orange groves in those days.  (Story from an interview with Tony Pizzo)

 

 

 

FORTUNE STREET & BRIDGE feature has been updated and moved to its own page.  See What's In A Name Page 2


A scene from the movie, "The Punisher" showing the Laurel St. Bridge, formerly known as the Fortune St. Bridge.
 

 

 

NEW! BROREIN STREET AND BRIDGE
Read about the Broreins and their contribution to the development of telephone communications in the early 20th century in Tampa.

 

Lafayette Street / Kennedy Blvd. Bridge - New feature for 2012 at Tampapix!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIMES AVENUE and GRAY GABLES

That alternate route you sometimes take when Dale Mabry Highway is backed up bumper to bumper, Himes Avenue, was once a small stretch of a street in an area of Tampa known as "Gray Gables."  Himes Avenue is now one of the main thoroughfares of Tampa and its naming is closely related to the development of the Gray Gables community. 

Read about the naming of Himes Avenue and Gray Gables.

 

MOSES WHITE BLVD. (MAIN ST. IN WEST TAMPA)

Moses White was an African-American businessman who started four businesses along Central Avenue in the 1930s through the 1950s and thus helped establish the Central Avenue business district. In those days, Central Avenue commerce centered around White's establishments, which were the Cosey Corner, Palm Dinette Restaurant, the Flamingo Rooming House, and the Four Walls Club, which was a night club.

Moses White opened his first restaurant in 1932, Deluxe Cosey Corner Sandwich Shop, on Central Avenue in Tampa. It became one of the city's most popular hangouts and the center of many civic discussions. In addition to sandwiches and other fare, they served up gizzards and rice, fried chicken, and three hot dogs for twenty-five cents. Moses priced his fare with the nearby Central Park Village housing development residents in mind. The children that came over from the Village loved the hot dogs, and so people would ask Moses, “Why don't you raise the price?” He said “No, as long as I'm here I'm always going to sell hot dogs at that price.” He wanted everybody to feel welcome and not excluded. Moses was a avid proponent of helping people. White's businesses, particularly the a Cosey Corner, were gathering places for politicians and just ordinary people who just wanted to socialize. He was giving and caring, and not only with respect to his customers but he was very concerned about the community.

Moses and his brother Chester White Sr. were partners in the Palm Dinette which they opened in 1944. In the 1950s, Chester went to work for the Tip Top Bread Company and left the business to Moses and his wife. When you dined at the Palm Dinette you did not eat on paper plates. There were crisp, white linen tablecloths with matching napkins, and your food was served on fine china. The Palm Dinette was a place to take your family for dinner, a place to entertain out of town guests, and a gathering spot to visit with friends after the Easter parade. The Palm Dinette was a favorite of the soldiers from MacDill Air Force Base. The soldiers got paid one a month and more often than not their desire for a good time always outlasted their money. Moses was able to negotiate a deal with MacDill's base commander to establish a credit card system for the soldiers. Moses was a forward thinker and this was an unprecedented act and absolutely unheard of for a black man parlaying such a deal with any branch of the military then or anytime since then.

Moses displayed the food in the windows. They had jumbo shrimp, French fries, fried chicken and all kinds of soul food, with the steam tables right in front of the windows, so as people walked by not only could they see it but they could smell it. The menu was posted outside and the dining area could seat about 150 people. There were tables with linens along the wall, and along the north wall there were big booths that could hold about six people each. There was a "piccolo"--a juke box, and the music was always going. On Sunday, Moses played religious music but otherwise they were popular tunes of the day. Then it was very common to see some of the people who actually were on the juke box walking down Central Avenue. Like a Sam Cooke, or Ray Charles, or a just any of the entertainers.

Moses also owned the Flamingo Rooming House. Because of segregation, the entertainers couldn't go to the fine hotels downtown or the restaurants, so they stayed at the Flamingo, and Moses would have them performing in the Club. It was a good deal for Moses and also for the entertainers that performed at what was then called the Chipman circuit. Ray Charles used to drop in often.

Moses also helped restore peace during the race riots of 1967. "During his first term, Mayor Dick Greco used to come eat," his grandson Gerald, Jr. says. "He was always asking my grandpa for advice." In 1977, Moses moved the Cosey Corner to Main Street in West Tampa.

Gerald White Jr. was brought up on barbecue. Gerald would come by after school, grab something to eat and talk to his dad and granddad, who both worked at the Cosey Corner on Main St. Moses White died in 1984. Gerald and his dad tried to carry on the business for a while, but Gerald was busy playing basketball at the University of South Florida and got an offer to play professionally in South America. Gerald moved away, and his dad couldn't run the business alone. In 1987, the barbecue closed.

When Gerald White, Jr. came back with a little money, he wanted to get back into the BBQ business. Moses White & Sons Bar-B-Que opened in 1997 and is located at 1815 E. Seventh Avenue in Ybor City. It was his dad's idea, but Gerald Jr. runs the place and his family works there. So once again, everyone from partiers to politicians can meet and socialize over good southern BBQ.             Cosey Corner on Main St. and Ysolina, West Tampa, 1984

Sources (recommended reading)
Interview with Bernadine White-King, daughter of Moses White
Moses White & Sons Barbeque
Interview with Claretha Johnson


ORIGIN OF HYDE PARK AND PLATT STREET
 

 

Levi Coller
circa 1850

In the early 1800s, Levi Coller and his father-in-law John Dixon lived on Spanish grant land in the area of St. Augustine, in territorial Florida. In 1815 there was an Indian uprising and John Dixon was killed; Levi took his family and fled to Alachua County, which at the time encompassed all of the Tampa Bay area.  Levi came to the bay area a short time later for the salt air for his health (family tradition) and to set out his stake. He selected 160 acres on the bay front extending east from the mouth of the river and returned home to gather his crops and move his family. He returned with his family in 1826 and was astounded to find that during his absence the government had set aside the land he had selected for his homestead as a military reservation and had troops encamped on it. He had neglected to file notice of his intention at the land office and therefore had no claim on the land. His next selection was a tract on the east shore of the bay at the mouth of what is now known as Six Mile Creek, but which after his location there was called Collar's Creek. Coller spoke the language of the Indians and traded with them; often serving as a translator for the army during peaceful times. Levi, along with wife Nancy Dixon Coller and their five children were the first civilian settler families in the wilderness that would become Tampa at Ft. Brooke.  By 1829, Levi had farmed the area and was selling vegetables to the U.S. Army outpost at Fort Brooke and to government vessels which entered the port.  Coller had a large farm where he cultivated the first cotton planted in South Florida. He developed a large herd of cattle and hogs, and established trade with the island of Key West, using the fishing smacks which occasionally entered the bay to transport his farm products, beef and pork. He had many diversified interests and acquired lands along the west bank of the Hillsborough River to the area now known as Ballast Point. 

Read an excellent detailed account of the struggles of the Coller family with Indians, disease and even a hurricane with tidal surge, by D. B. McKay, written during the lifetime of Nancy Coller Jackson. "PIONEER WOMEN IN TAMPA LIVED DANGEROUS LIVES DURING INDIAN WAR", about three daughters of Levi Coller; Nancy Jackson, Cordelia Hoey and Jeanette Haskins.
 

 
Levi Coller's 1830 census shows one male and one female under 5, one male and two females age 5 to 10, two females age 10 to under 15, one female age 30 to under 30 (which was his wife) one male age 40 to under 50 (which would have been Levi himself), for a total of 9 members in his household.  Note that in 1830, the county and the river had not been named Hillsborough.  The bay area was in Alachua County, and the area was enumerated as Lochloosa Creek, Coster Ponds, New River, and Sampson River.  Click Image to enlarge, opens in new window, then zoom to enlarge.  
 

 

1837 lithograph depicting Ft. Brooke barracks

 

 

 

 

 

 


In September of 1834, Levi & Nancy's daughter, Nancy Coller, married Robert Andrew Jackson, Jr. at the Fort Brooke garrison.  It was the first recorded wedding on Florida’s West Coast. Jackson, who was born in Philadelphia in 1802, was a son of Robert and Euphemia Parker Jackson.  Robert Jackson, Sr., also a native of Philadelphia, was a civil engineer and was employed in some important government work, among which was the construction of Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island in Charleston harbor, the fortification of which figured prominently in Revolutionary War history, as well as in the history of the War Between the States.

Robert Jackson, Jr. was a student of West Point and previous graduate of Rutgers College in New Jersey.  He was a compounder of medicines and the surgeon’s chief steward while stationed at Ft. Brooke, where he arrived as the fort's hospital steward in 1834. (The same year the territorial Florida legislature organized and named the county of Hillsborough).  In 1838, Levi Coller's land passed to his daughters and their husbands, Jeanette and W. T. Haskins (who returned east of the river for lack of a bridge) and Nancy and Robert Jackson.

 
 
  Robert & Nancy Jackson's 1860 census in Tampa shows children Mariah, John, William, Parker, Robert and Cornelia.  Robert Sr.'s occupation was "Ice house keeper."  The image has been edited so that the children (which were listed on the next page) appear along with their parents. Click Image to enlarge, opens in new window, then zoom to enlarge

 

Dr. Jackson

 

After his military duty, Robert and Nancy Jackson established their home on a commanding 160-acre tract near the locale known as Jackson’s Point, marking the junction of the Hillsborough River and Bay.  Robert later became a judge of the probate court of Hillsborough County. Disaster and tragedy pursued the Jacksons when in Sept. of 1848 a terrible hurricane and tidal surge swept away their home and all of its contents, even the money they had accumulated, but Dr. and Mrs. Jackson and their five children escaped and were given shelter by friends who had erected their homes on higher land.

 

 

Nancy Coller Jackson
circa 1880s

 

Later they built a new and more substantial home fronting on what is now Platt St. This old home, which had been repaired and added to, stood at present-day 205 Platt Street.  Robert Jackson was highly esteemed as a physician, and long as he lived, though not engaging in active practice, was often consulted by other practitioners. He was one of the foremost citizens of antebellum Tampa and died just at the closing of the Civil War, on March 2, 1865.  Leaving Nancy with no legal claim to the land where her home was built, Nancy attempted to secure title to the land the family had been occupying and developing; much of it planted with orange trees.  She had intended to homestead all 160 acres, but through the unscrupulous dealings of men she had trusted, she had to relinquish half of her acreage. After an appeal to Washington, she finally secured her acreage. In order to secure an independent life for herself and her children (5 sons and 3 daughters), she sold a portion of her homestead to some prospectors who wanted to expand the growth and development of Tampa. One of these men was Obadiah H. Platt, from Hyde Park, Illinois. Obadiah was born around 1836 in New York; he was a grandson of Obadiah H. Platt and Elizabeth Hawley of Fairfield, Conn. and a nephew of U.S. Senator Orville H. Platt.

Read about Nancy Jackson in a narrative written by her great-grandaughter, using a year 1900 interview with Nancy Jackson as one of her sources.


 
 

Nancy Jackson's home at 205 Platt St.  L to R: Wm. Parker, Levi Oscar, Nancy, Robert Andrew III, John Brown

 

THE BIRTH OF HYDE PARK IN TAMPA

In 1886 Obadiah H. Platt purchased a portion of the Robert Jackson farm acreage in anticipation of a bridge joining the west bank of the Hillsborough River to downtown Tampa.  He named this new 20-acre area Hyde Park, after his hometown in Illinois. The completion of the Lafayette Street Bridge in 1889, along with the opening of railroad baron Henry B. Plant’s luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel in 1891, brought new importance to Platt’s vacant land. Soon prominent citizens built homes in Hyde Park and the area flourished. Citrus groves covered much of the area west of the river, until building in Tampa’s first suburb prevailed. James M. Watrous, who built his home at at present-day 1307 Morrison Avenue in 1882, and William A. Morrison who established a residence at 850 Newport Avenue by 1885 were early citrus growers. Lots sold quickly in Tampa's first subdivision, and a middle-class residential community formed on the west side of the river.  

Nancy Coller Jackson died in 1907 at age 92.  By 1910 all the large citrus groves had been subdivided encompassing nearly 100 acres south of Swann Avenue between Magnolia and Orleans Avenue. The fortunes of Hyde Park have fluctuated. Once known as an upper middle class neighborhood, Hyde Park lost status after WWII as outlying suburbs became more desirable. Eventually, however, the area became one of Tampa’s most affluent districts. Historic preservation had a prominent role in this change, since it ensured the continuity of style in existing and new structures.

The Platt Street and Cass Street bridges were completed in 1926 using nearly identical specifications. The Platt Street Bridge was slightly longer to connect with Bayshore Boulevard.

Platt St. bridge construction, 1925 - Upper left is Seddon Island, to the upper right is Davis Islands

The original wood bridge to Davis Islands from Hyde Park, 1926
 

The Platt St. Bridge as seen from Davis Islands, circa 1930s.
On the left is Bayshore Blvd., Platt St. and the Tampa Electric power plant.


 

Robert and Nancy Jackson's son, Capt. William Parker Jackson (b.1847) married in 1874 to Louise Collins of Bainbridge, GA. He retired from the sea in 1887 and became a farmer. On April 29th, 1890, he homesteaded 153 acres that ran between present-day Hanna St. and Knollwood Avenues, and Nebraska Avenue west to the Hillsborough River.  The famous Jackson home in Old Seminole Heights was theirs.

 

The First Congregational Church relocated from downtown Tampa in 1885 and built a massive building at 2201 North Florida Avenue.  The building at 2201 Florida Avenue is the First Congregational Church, built in 1906 when the block contained only an orange grove. Organized in 1885 at the home of Mrs. Caroline Pettingill, the congregation moved from a frame church in downtown Tampa at the urging of pioneer Obadiah H. Platt, for whom the church was dedicated in 1906.

Sources:

Early Tampa area settlement        The Jackson House-Old Seminole Heights

Historic Hyde Park        The Platt Lineage       Henry B. Plant Comes to Town

The Robert Jackson Family


MARION STREET, Downtown Tampa
Brig. General Francis Marion (c. 1732 – February 26, 1795) was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. Acting with Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781.

When British forces captured Charleston in 1780, American troops pulled out of South Carolina. Marion, however, stayed and organized a small force of poorly equipped men, training them in guerrilla tactics. Living off the land, Marion and his men harassed British troops by staging small surprise attacks in which they captured small groups of British soldiers, sabotaged communication and supply lines, and rescued American prisoners. After these attacks Marion withdrew his men to swamp country unfamiliar to the British. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, a British commander, gave Marion his nickname when he complained that it was impossible to catch the "Swamp Fox." Near the end of the war, Marion and American General Nathanael Greene joined forces. In 1781 they successfully fought at the Battle of Eutaw Springs and forced the British retreat to North Carolina. While still leader of his brigade, Marion was elected to the senate of South Carolina in 1781. He was reelected in 1782 and again in 1784, after the war had ended. In appreciation for his military service, the state legislature appointed Marion commander of Fort Johnson, in Charleston.

Due to his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers.

Detailed military career
Brigadier General Francis Marion's gravesite

  MORGAN STREET, Downtown Tampa
Brig. General Daniel Morgan (1736 – July 6, 1802) was an American pioneer, soldier, and United States Representative from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War, he later commanded the troops that suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion.


Morgan was the commander of a band of Virginia sharpshooters in the American Revolution. At the outbreak of the Revolution he was commissioned captain in the Continental Army, and he went with Benedict Arnold on the expedition (1775) against Québec, where he distinguished himself as commander after Arnold was wounded. Taken prisoner, he was exchanged in the fall of 1776 and commissioned a colonel. He fought in the battles of Saratoga in the fall of 1777. He and his frontier riflemen played a major part in defeating the British at Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights. Dissatisfied and in ill health, Morgan retired from the army in 1779 but reentered as brigadier general in 1780. On January 17, 1781, promoted to brigadier general, he won one of the most brilliant victories of the war when he overcame a superior British force (commanded by Col. Banastre Tarleton) by his effective use of cavalry at the battle of Cowpens, South Carolina.

In July of 1781 he retired for good and lived out the rest of his life in peace and prosperity at his home, "Soldier's Rest," near Winchester. In 1794 he commanded a company charged with putting down the short-lived Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising of backcountry farmers incensed over a federal tax on distilled grains. He served one term in Congress, and one term was enough. A staunch Federalist like his hero George Washington, he became disgusted with Jeffersonian Democrats--"a parsall of egg-sucking dogs," as he termed them. He died in 1802 at the age of 66 (or 67).

Daniel Morgan by Janey B. Cheaney
Brigadier General Daniel Morgan


CASS STREET & BRIDGE

Cass Street in downtown and the Cass Street Bridge across the Hillsborough River were named for General Lewis Cass (1782-1866). 

Lewis Cass was born in 1782 in Exeter, New Hampshire.  He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and joined his father at Marietta, Ohio, about 1799, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty. Four years later he became a member of the Ohio legislature. During the War of 1812 he served under General William Hull, whose surrender at Detroit he strongly condemned, and under General William Henry Harrison, and rose from the rank of colonel of volunteers to be major-general of Ohio militia and finally to be a brigadier-general in the regular United States Army.

In 1813 he was appointed governor of the territory of Michigan, the area of which was much larger than that of the present state. Upon the reorganization of President Andrew Jackson's cabinet in 1831 he became Secretary of War, and held this office until 1836. In 1836 General Cass was appointed minister to France, and became very popular with the French government and people.  Cass was a Democrat and in 1848 he received the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, but owing to the defection of the so-called "Barnburners" he did not receive the united support of his party, and was defeated by the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor. His name was again prominent before the Democratic convention of 1852, which, however, finally nominated Franklin Pierce.  President James Buchanan made him Secretary of State, and in December 1860 he retired from the cabinet when the president refused to take a firmer attitude against secession by reinforcing Fort Sumter.  He remained in retirement until his death at Detroit, Michigan, on the 17th of June 1866.

In 1853, Tampa surveyor John Jackson combined 3 surveys he had drawn from 1847 to 1853 into one, completing his plan of Tampa.  Cass Street is named on this original plan.  Completed in 1926, the 511-foot trunnion bascule Cass Street bridge was built to serve the southern end of West Tampa and cost $400,000. The same designers did the Platt Street Bridge, which is almost identical. The adjacent railroad bridge, built in 1915, provided access to the Port of Tampa.


The Cass St. Bridge with adjacent raised railroad bridge and University of Tampa minarets in the background, Jan 2011


The railroad bridge before the Cass St. bridge was built, with Roberts City and West Tampa in the background, 1920
Photo taken from the top of the Bay View Hotel

 


JACKSON STREET

John James Jackson II was born in County Monaghan, Ireland and immigrated to the United States with his brother in 1841. The brothers traveled to New Orleans where John worked as an Assistant City Engineer for two years. In 1843, the federal government hired Jackson to survey a large land grant in present-day Palmetto, Florida. He accepted this appointment as federal surveyor and then moved to Hillsborough County with his brother Thomas to begin work.

In addition to his salary, the federal government gave Jackson a large land grant in Hillsborough County. Jackson’s work also took him throughout Florida and it was on an assignment in St. Augustine that he met and married Ellen Maher in 1847 with whom he had four children.

Several weeks later, Hillsborough County hired Jackson to survey and map Tampa which had been designated the county seat in 1846. Jackson named the streets of Tampa after U.S. Presidents, military figures and one, possibly two local individuals, William Ashley and possibly himself (or Pres. Andrew Jackson.)

After completing his assignment, Jackson returned to surveying but in 1849 he and his wife decided to move to Tampa where he established a general store on the corner of Washington and Tampa Streets. Jackson also became involved in Tampa politics and activities. 

On April 21, 1861, the 20th Florida Regiment took over the abandoned Fort Brooke and the Confederate military commander declared Tampa under marshal law, dismissed the mayor, city council and other employees and essentially nullified the authority of the town’s government.  About three weeks later, current mayor Hamlin Valentine Snell hurriedly left Tampa after selling his properties.  Jackson took over as acting mayor in May, 1861 and was elected as the 9th mayor of Tampa on February 3, 1862 serving for 19 days, the shortest in Tampa history.  This event was a formality since both the military authorities and Hillsborough County had assumed the city’s activities the previous year. After his dismissal, Jackson returned to his general store and remained in Tampa for the remainder of the Civil War.

During the war, life in Tampa was incredibly harsh for the remaining residents who primarily consisted of old men, women and children. The Union naval bombardment of the city compelled some residents to leave and facilitated the rapid decline of the city until it resembled a ghost town. John Jackson and his wife led a movement of residents to have a Catholic priest brought to Tampa and his children were the first to be baptized in the Catholic faith. John Jackson passed away in Tampa on November 4, 1887. His wife, Ellen died in January 1906 in Tampa.


   WHITING STREET

 

Establishing the south border of Tampa abutting Fort Brooke, Whiting was a street on John Jackson's original plan for Tampa, and was named for Lt. Col. Charles Jarvis Whiting.

 

Whiting was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts on November 28, 1814 and was raised in Castine, Maine.  and from the time of his childhood, his overarching ambition was to become a West Point cadet. When he received his appointment, he made the trip to West Point and was turned away for being too short. He spent the next year hanging from trees with a brick tied to each foot, hoping to stretch himself enough to meet the height requirement. He returned to the Academy the next year and was admitted. He graduated fourth in the Class of 1835.

 

He was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery and served engineering duty during the Seminole War in Florida. In 1837, Maj. Whiting served in the Micanopy to Black Creek area, "directing inhabitants to be on the alert in case partial aggression should be offered by struggling Indians."  In 1838, he served as the assistant engineer for the survey of the Mississippi River delta. He then settled in Maine, where he established, and served as headmaster of, the Military and Classical Academy in Ellsworth.  He married in June 1841, and had a daughter. His wife died in 1847, leaving Whiting a 33-year-old widower with an infant daughter, Anna Waterman Whiting. His wife's family raised Anna, for the Army was no place for an infant. After teaching for six years and with his wife deceased, Whiting surveyed the boundary between the United States and Mexico that was established by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Whiting then settled in San Jose, California, where he farmed and surveyed. For the years 1850-1851, he served as Surveyor-General of California.

 

 In March 1861, at the height of the secession crisis, Whiting was stationed at Fort Inge in Texas. When Texas left the Union, he and other loyal officers were stranded there. Whiting and Capts. George Stoneman and James Oakes pondered the possibility of trying to escape to the Jefferson Barracks via the Indian country. However, they had insufficient supplies and no transportation, so they abandoned the plan. Stoneman and Whiting eventually found their way back to Washington, D. C. on a steamboat. (See similar situation for Gen. Twiggs.) Whiting was assigned to teach new recruits basic cavalry tactics at the Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. He also took a brief furlough to return home to Maine to marry Phebe Whitney, the younger sister of his brother's wife.

 

Whiting went on to serve the Union Army in the Civil War. Afterward, in 1870, he took command of Fort Griffin in Abilene, Texas, which was responsible for protecting travelers from raiding Kiowas and Comanches. After five months there, he was transferred to the supernumerary list on December 15, 1870. On January 1, 1871, at the age of 56, he was honorably mustered out of the service. He packed his belongings and headed home to Castine. He and his wife lived out the rest of their lives there, supported by an Army pension. As he got older, an old injury to his back at Gaine's Mill gave him increasing trouble and pain. After 20 years of peaceful retirement, Whiting died on New Year's Day 1890 at the age of 75. He was buried in Castine. Whiting spent nearly 30 years in the Regular Army, all in the mounted service. His service was honorable, and he was a good soldier.


SWANN AVENUE

Alfred Reuben Swann was born at Sandy Ridge, near Dandridge, Tennessee, the son of John and Sarah (Austell) Swann. His birth took place on the family plantation on September 24, 1843.  Alfred Swann was attending Maurey Academy in Dandridge when the War Between the States broke out. He enlisted immediately and served with Wheeler’s Cavalry until May 3, 1865, rising to the rank of colonel. He participated in many of the important engagements of the conflict, including Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga and Atlanta. For a time he was one of Wheeler’s special couriers.

The war had almost destroyed the Swann plantation at Sandy Ridge. When Colonel Swann returned to it, he found it in dire need of rehabilitation. Numerous obstacles were in the way, for he had to contend with the infamous problems of the reconstruction period, such as carpet-baggers, bushwackers and the constant strife between those who sympathized with the North and those whose sympathies remained with the South.  As he was rehabilitating the old Swann plantation, Colonel Swann bought the Beaver Dam plantation on credit. This was one of the finest in Tennessee. He paid off his debt by raising livestock—a process which took him five years. Gradually, he extended his interests and eventually was connected with many important enterprises throughout the South, some of them in Florida. Some of these were banks, railroads and business institutions.

Colonel Swann married Sarah Frances Burnett on June 16, 1881. The wedding took place at the ancestral home of the bride’s father, the Reverend Jesse M. L. Burnett, at Del Rio, Cocke County, Tennessee.

After wintering in Tampa, he foresaw a bright future for the community. In 1905, he began living in Tampa much of the year and became a major figure in the city's residential and commercial development. Swann and Eugene Holtsinger, a fellow Tennessean, developed a large residential subdivision on Hillsborough Bay named Suburb Beautiful. Their Bayshore Boulevard development featured a seawall and a roadway between the residences and the bay, giving Tampa its beautiful scenic drive. Swann envisioned Tampa as a major American city. Realizing that Tampa required more extensive port facilities, he purchased the marshland south of Ybor City known as the Estuary. In 1910, Congress appropriated funds to develop Ybor Channel and other port projects that contributed to Tampa's commercial growth. His business, the Swann Terminal Company, played a vital role in the port's development. In addition to his involvement in Tampa, Swann owned extensive citrus groves in Florence Villa in central Florida and timber interests in other parts of the state. Leaders such as Colonel Alfred Reuben Swann helped to make Tampa what it is today, the center of a major metropolitan area.  Col. Swann died on April 9, 1926, on a visit to his plantation at Dandridge. 

 

James T. Swann, Sr., one of eight children of Alfred Reuben and Sarah Frances Swann, received his early education at Swannsylvania Academy in Jefferson County, Tennessee, after which he attended Carson Newman College in that state. In 1910, James Swann graduated from Harvard University with the degree of Bachelor of Arts.  He joined his family, which by then had settled in Tampa. For a time he was active in the citrus business at Florence Villa, but this was a short-lived interest. Then, affiliating himself with his father’s realty firm, he began to participate in the development of the Suburb Beautiful. It is said that he sold virtually every lot on Bayshore Boulevard himself. He and his family came to live on that beautiful thoroughfare at No. 1801.

James T. Swann, Sr. married Mary Cotter Lucas, a native of Tampa, on November 4, 1914. She established a tradition in the Swann family: she served as Queen of Gasparilla in 1914. Her daughter was Queen in 1938 and her son and his wife were King and Queen, together, in 1941.

In 1914, Mr. Swann took over the management of the Interstate Investment Company, of which his father was president and he vice president. He remained in active charge of the company until his death in May of 1953. James and Mary had children Mary Frances, the wife of Lieutenant Colonel Jackson K. Judy of the United States Army and James T. Swann, Jr.

James T. Swann, Sr. was one of the most successful and active real estate operators in Tampa and was outstanding in civic life. He became president of Interstate Grove Properties, Inc., Swann Securities Corporation and J. T. Swann and Company. In World War II, he became associate chairman of the Division of Transportation and Communications of the Florida State Defense Council and for many years served on the board of trustees of the University of Tampa.  Mr. Swann worked vigorously on behalf of public recreation. At first a vice president of the Florida Amateur State Golf Association, he was its president from 1942 and for several years after this date president emeritus. He had helped organize the association in 1926 and became vice president at that time.

One of the civic promotions in Tampa in which he engaged vigorously was that staged by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, of which he was an officer. He was also vice president of the Rotary Club of Tampa (1922-1923); president of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce (1928-1929); president of Palma Ceia Golf Club; a director of the South Florida Fair Association, and co-organizer and a director of the Florida Citrus Growers Clearing Rouse Association, which he served as chairman in the year 1932-1933.  For hobby he indulged in the making of motion pictures. He and his family worshipped in the First Baptist Church of Tampa.

JAMES T. SWANN, JR.

James T. Swann, Jr. was born in Tampa on September 6, 1916. A member of the cigar industry, and also active in the real estate and citrus businesses, he had made a significant contribution to the development of his native city. Distinguished in school days, he was a decorated member of the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and in one of the civic promotions of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the annual pirate festival, was King of Gasparilla. His popularity was widespread. 

Upon his return home after the war, Mr. Swann became closely identified with Swann Products, Inc., a cigar factory and mail order cigar company founded by his father. When his father died in 1953, James Swann, Jr., assumed the presidency of the company and he devoted himself to this firm, as well as to his citrus and real estate interests. 

 

  Ruth Binnicker Swann & husband James T. Swann, Jr. as the retiring Queen and King of Gasparilla, 1947.  There were no Gasparilla celebrations from 1942 through 1946.

While reigning as King of Gasparilla in 1941, Mr. Swann married Ruth Binnicker, who was Queen of the festival at the same time. They had three children; Kathleen, Terrell, and James T. Swann, III. The family worshipped in the First Baptist Church of Tampa. When on January 11, 1955, a heart attack swept away the life of James T. Swann, Jr., at the age of thirty-eight, the entire city of Tampa was shocked. It had followed with approbation and eagerness the career of this young man, an illustrious member of an illustrious family, and had predicted that some day he would be one of the South’s most noted citizens and one of the unforgettable builders of Southwestern Florida.

James' widow, Ruth Binnicker Swann, would later marry Jack Eckerd of Eckerd Corporation fame.  Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater is named for her.

Photos and portions of this Swann family biography is from J.T. Swann & Co.

 


 

DAVIS BLVD., DAVIS ISLANDS

The development of Davis Islands by David Paul Davis made him nationally famous.  Read about his visionary quest, his struggles and mysterious death, here at Tampapix contained on 4 pages at D.P. Davis and his Islands.


JETTON AVENUE

Matthew M. Jetton helped expand the Tampa metropolitan area as one of the developers of western Hyde Park, today known as Historic Hyde Park.  Jetton came to Tampa from Murfreesboro, TN, in the 1880s. His middle name was Murfree, after his hometown, and he was often called "M.M.." He first settled in Tampa Heights and worked in the hardware and lumber businesses, establishing a lumber mill near Kennedy Boulevard and Rome Avenue.  Later he became a contractor and co-founded the Jetton-Hudnall Lumber Co. He also formed the Jetton-Dekle Lumber Co. with Lee Dekle, another Historic Hyde Park developer whose name appears on a local street.  Jetton was a member of the Elks Lodge and a founding member of the Tampa Board of Trade, the forerunner to the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Matthew Jetton died in 1931 at age 71.  His grandson, Matt Jetton, was the original developer of Carrollwood.

CARROLLWOOD DRIVE, CARROLLWOOD AND LAKE CARROLL

The community and the street are named for Lake Carroll, which in turn was named in the 1800s for Charles Carroll of Carrollton (the name he used to distinguish himself from his father, Charles Carroll of Annapolis).  Charles was born in 1737 into a wealthy Catholic family in Annapolis, Maryland. His grandfather, Daniel Carroll, an Irish gentleman, emigrated from England to America about the year 1659. He settled in the province of Maryland, where, a few years after, he received the appointment of judge, and register of the land office, and became agent for Lord Baltimore. Charles Carroll, the father of the subject of the present sketch, was born in 1702. His son, Charles Carroll, surnamed "of Carrollton", was born September 20, 1737.  At the age of 8 he was sent to France to receive his education.  Upon returning at age 28, he became involved in Maryland politics and the issue of succession from England around 1755. He visited the Continental Congress in 1776, and was enlisted in a diplomatic mission to Canada, along with Dr. Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Chase. Shortly after his return, the Maryland Convention decided to join in support for the Revolutionary War. Carroll was elected to represent Maryland on the 4th of July, and though he was too late to vote for the Declaration, he did sign it.  He was the wealthiest man in the thirteen colonies, and lived on a ten thousand acre plantation in Frederick County, Maryland.

Carroll served in the Continental Congress and on the Board of War, through much of the War of Independence, and simultaneously participated in the framing of a constitution for Maryland. In 1778 he returned to Maryland to participate in the formation of the state government. He was elected to the Maryland Senate in 1781, and to the first Federal Congress in 1788. He returned again to the State Senate in 1790 and served there for 10 years. He retired from that post in 1800. 

After both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, he became the only surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. He came out of retirement to help create the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1827. His last public act, on July 4, 1828, was the laying of the cornerstone of the railroad.  In May 1832, he was asked to appear at the first ever Democratic Convention but did not attend on account of poor health. He died on November 14, 1832, in Baltimore, and is buried in his Doughoregan Manor Chapel at Ellicott City, Maryland. His death left Egbert Benson, John Marshall and James Madison as the only surviving Founding Fathers of the United States.

Lake Carroll's Many Names

Lake Carroll was named by a family that lived on the north end of the lake in the very early years. The family was friends of Charles Carroll of Carrollton.  In the days when cattle and horses were allowed to roam at will, with no fence laws in effect, Lake Carroll was one of the few lakes that had plenty of water even in the dry years. So when the farmers found their animals near Lake Carroll, the name became Horse Pond.  The residents around the lake didn't like such a beautiful lake having a name like "Horse Pond."  Because they lived on the east side of the lake, they enjoyed beautiful sunsets and therefore gave the lake the name of Sunset Lake.  In later years, the Barclays opened a public swimming beach on the south end of the lake. For a while the lake took on the name of Horseshoe Lake because they called their place Horseshoe Beach. Later, the Boy Scouts opened a camp on the Lake. Because Carl Brorein was a big contributor to the Scouts, the lake was Lake Brorein.  Eventually, original residents of the area pushed for the lake to be renamed Lake Carroll, as it originally was, and remains to this day.

Development of Carrollwood

Matthew Murfree Jetton's grandson, Matt Jetton, was a young man in 1959 when he began building houses in the middle of nowhere, just north of Busch Boulevard and east of N Dale Mabry Highway, a two-lane road back then.  In doing so, he soon achieved local and national fame as the developer of original Carrollwood. His company, Sunstate Builders, purchased 325+ acres of citrus nursery land, just seven miles north of the City of Tampa with a vision of creating housing to relieve crowding in South Tampa.  Jetton's home designer chose the name for the community--a name his advertising agency said had "too many double letters."  Jetton insisted on the name, chosen due to the area lake, Lake Carroll.  In a hurry to begin advertising and get it out in the mail, the agency pressed Jetton for street names.  The first was easy, due to the peacocks running rampant through the groves--Peacock Lane.  The only other names Jetton could think of at the time were varieties of plywood popular in the 60s:  Samara, Nakora and Korina.

Sources: 
How Lake Carroll Got Its Name    Carrollwood Developer Looks Back on 50 Years     The Man Who Built Carrollwood 

Charles Carroll of Carrollton


SHELDON ROAD
 

Sheldon Road in northwest Tampa was named for State Senator Raymond Sheldon.

 

Raymond Sheldon was born in Jan., 1907 in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, to British parents Charles Edwin Sheldon and Agnes Teresa Mills.  On Oct. 24, 1920, Raymond's mother Agnes age 45 (born in Walsall, England), and 5 of her children, Monica (15, born Walsall, Eng), James (11), Maurice (9), Helen (7), and Harold (4) all born in Manitoba, Canada, crossed the Canada/US border at the Port of Winnipeg with the intent of permanently moving to Tampa to join Agnes' son, Alfred Sheldon.

 

On Nov. 24, 1920, Raymond's father, 51-year-old Charles E. Sheldon, a harness-maker and native of Walsall, England, along with his 13-year-old son Raymond, came to the US through the port of Winnipeg,  with the intent of permanently joining his wife Agnes in Tampa.

 

By 1930 the family had settled at 2308 North B Street in Tampa, in a home that they rented for $30 a month.  Charles was the manager of a filling station and his son Raymond, who was still single, was the proprietor.  Raymond's sister, Monica, was a nurse at a hospital.

 

1930 Federal Census of Tampa, Sheldon family at 2308 N. B Street.

 

By 1935, Raymond, age 28, had obtained his law degree and was married to Cathryn, age 28, with infant son Raymond, Jr. They lived at Route 4 box 398.  Raymond (Sr.) was a lawyer. 

 

 

Sheldon was an attorney for the Tampa shipbuilding company unions which successfully fought State Atty. Gen. Tom Watson's suit to outlaw the American Federation of Labor's closed shop contract in shipyards.  Sheldon was elected to three consecutive terms as a member of the lower house, serving in the Florida House of Representatives from 1936 to 1941 and was speaker pro tem in 1941.  He then served as a Florida State Senator representing the 34th district, Hillsborough County from 1942 to 1950, when Hillsborough County had only one senator. 

 

On Jan. 22, 1944, Sheldon announced his candidacy for governor of Florida, and at 38, was the youngest of 6 candidates for the office occupied at the time by Gov. Spessard L. Holland.   At the time, Sheldon was a Tampa attorney who had served 8 years n the state legislature and he was of the opinion the people of Florida wanted to elect "a young, progressive governor" and felt he was "assured of strong, active support from employer groups, labor, old-age organizations, war veterans, and school teachers."  "I have found that in every part of the state I have visited, that both old and young, worker and employer, are looking for leadership and I believe I can furnish that leadership." 

 

On April 10, 1944, Sheldon spoke at Williams Park in St. Pete, advocating a raise in teachers' salaries, a $50 a month old age pension plan, distribution of state-owned lands to returning veterans of war, an administration sympathetic to organized labor, and ambitious post-war plan to provide employment.  He said he would finish the Gulf Coast Highway through Pinellas County, regardless of opposition from Hillsborough, where some interests wanted the traffic main artery to pass through the north through that county.

 

 

Sheldon was one of four candidates eliminated in the first Democratic primary on May 2, 1944.  The top two candidates, Millard Caldwell of Tallahassee, had 116,110 votes and L.A. "Lex" Greene of Starke had 113,300 votes, leading to a runoff.  The four eliminated were Ernest Graham of Miami, 91,174; Frank Upchurch of St. Augustine, 30,524; Raymond Sheldon of Tampa, 27,940, and J. Edwin Baker of Umatilla, 27,028.  In 1944, Caldwell was elected governor of Florida, defeating Bert Acker in the general election. He took office on Jan. 2, 1945.

 

 

 

In 1945, Raymond was 38 and still living at Route 4.  Other homes enumerated near the Sheldons were blocks of 923 Golfview, 3625 Azeele, 3600 Roland, 1000 & 1100 N. Lincoln, & 3300 Nassau.  Along with his wife Cathryn, who was a registered nurse, son Raymond Jr, age 10, and son Elias David Sheldon, age 7.

 

 

According to Hampton Dunn,  Raymond Sheldon was a young attorney, a Cumberland law graduate, a handsome and articulate fellow--a and very eloquent speaker. He worked and breathed politics. When Sheldon became a State Senator, he was sort of one of the "white hats" there when he first went in. 

 

After his failed bid for governor, Sheldon remained extremely active in Florida politics.  In response to a poll in 1945, Sheldon came out in favor of a lowered voting age from 21 to 18, saying "If they're old enough to fight, they are old enough to vote."  In 1947, Senator Sheldon described the Gandy bridge as "outmoded, too narrow and a traffic bottleneck" and moved to have a new and wider bridge built.  Sheldon continued being involved in politics even after his term as Senator ended in 1950, as well as continuing his private practice of law.


 

As chairman of the county Democratic committee, he headed the Kennedy-Johnson campaign in 1960 which carried Hillsborough County.  Sheldon was also an avid supporter of C. Farris Bryant for governor of Florida in 1960.  Bryant took the office of Governor of Florida on Jan. 3, 1961, succeeding Gov. T.  LeRoy Collins.

 

Raymond Sheldon died in a Tampa hospital at age 69, on Oct. 14, 1970.

 

 

 

 

Sources and additional information:

 

Farris Bryant Papers at University of Florida Digital Collections - Various correspondences between Sheldon and Bryant

 
 

 

 

 

   
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


 

DID YOU KNOW? Tampa was almost a state.

After exploring the Tampa Bay area, Hernando de Soto's 16th century expedition was the first to document the discovery of the Mississippi River and the vast plains of the Midwest.  In a multi-volume historical account of the history of Colorado, historian Frank Hall describes the Native Americans' reaction to their first encounter with the conquistadores' horses.  "We find in the narrative of Coronado's march that the natives were astounded at the sight of horses, and were inclined to worship them as gods.  Like incidents occurred all along the line of de Soto's expeditions from Tampa [Florida] to Kansas."   

In January of 1860, Congress considered a bill to organize territories of the Midwest.  Due to objections over naming territories after presidents (because there were not enough to go around), "Jefferson" was ruled out.  An attempt to enlarge the boundary of the territory of present-day Kansas, to include the settled portion of present day Nebraska as far north as the Platte River,  failed.  The following list of names was considered to name the new territory:  Tampa, Idaho, Nemara, Colorado, San Juan, Lula, Arapahoe and Weappollao.  IDAHO was chosen. 

   

Tampa, Kansas
The Santa Fe Trail, established in 1822, cut across present-day Marion County, Kansas.  Numerous stops sprang up along the trail, and one of them was eventually named Tampa, established in April of 1887.  Though Tampa, Kansas seems to precede Tampa , FL by a few months, Tampa, FL was originally incorporated in 1855, but was abolished in 1869 in part because residents had no money to pay taxes, and the city had no money to pay its bills.  It was reincorporated in 1887. Tampa, Kansas currently has a population of about 144.  There is also an unincorporated area in Colorado named Tampa. 

 

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