As seen from the roof of the Bentley Gray building on the northeast corner of Zack and Pierce streets.

Maps courtesy of the UF digital maps collection.

With some detail modifications where 1915 image was necessary.








When the first brick Hillsborough County Courthouse was built in Court House Square in 1891, it marked the end of Tampa's only town clock.

The new courthouse was designed by New York architect J.A. Wood, the architect of the glorious Tampa Bay Hotel.  which was completed and opened at the same time construction began on the courthouse.  The $80k construction contract was awarded to W. H. Kendrick of Tampa in Jun. 1891, with supervision of the job to be by W. F. V. Scott, to be completed by August of 1892. 

It was built on the same site of the previous two courthouses,  with a beautiful onion-dome topped tower atop a large, ornate dome, 35 feet in diameter, in the style Wood used for the Tampa Bay Hotel.  This new building replaced the old wood frame structure built by John H. Breaker in 1854.

Not only did this 1891 courthouse not have a clock, the design of the dome and the minaret topper made it extremely difficult fly a flag from its topper and maintain it properly.  Raising and lowering it was a dangerous task, even when the halyard was working properly

Construction got off to a rocky start when some questioned Kendrick about the use of mound shell in the concrete to lay the foundation footers.  To the inquiring Tampa Journal reporter who asked, "It has been said that you are using rotten shell that are not fit for a foundation.  What do you say to that?"  Kendrick said, "I am using mound shell and that is what is called for by the specifications, and that's all I have to say about that.  I am doing more, I am putting in concrete wider and deeper than called for all the way around, 20 inches thick and 4 ft 5 in. wide.  Of course, any citizen who wants to inspect my work and look over the plans and specs and see if I am carrying out my contract.  It is the same that has been used in the foundation of all buildings in the city."


Payment schedule for phases completed

$ Pmt.

Foundation laid 4,000
First tier of beams 12,000
Second tier of beams 8,000
Roof and dome ready for tin & main cornice set 8,000
Chimneys topped, all roofs on 8,000
First coat of mortar on 8,000
Plastering complete, floors laid 8,000
Joiner work on 1st story, stairs, plumbing 8,000
All completed, inspected, received; balance 16,000



By June, 1892, construction was complete except for some minor touches on the interior, which was handled by the carpentry firm of Shaw & Johnson, and squabbling over whose job it was to pave parts of the square with sidewalks, as W. H. Kendrick deemed it not part of the contract.  Also needed was to remove debris and to plant landscaping, and deal with a street  drainage problem at Franklin St. and Florida Ave. where it seams the flow was backwards due to the grade.





These Sanborn maps show that by 1895, front and rear wood frame porches were added, and a band stand at the corner of Franklin & Madison Streets.  From 1899 to 1903 the band stand was moved to the Florida Ave. side--the rear of the courthouse.  In photographs an annex appears behind the courthouse along Fla. Ave. in 1913.

The 1915 map shows the large brick addition consisted of offices on the first floor and a large courtroom on the 2nd floor.  The band stand was relocated to where it was in 1899, but it was probably not the original one.  By 1931, the courthouse annex was extended on the north end, all the way to Madison St.  Photos show it was extended by 1926.  By this time the Tampa Terrace hotel had been built on the east side of Fla. Ave. so this was the view they had from the front terraces and balconies.




The image below is the highest quality photo of the pre-1900 photos of the courthouse in existence today.
Several elements of this photo indicate it was taken circa 1895 to 1898.

There is a relative lack of landscaping, and the trees planted closest to the building are very young.  There is a single pole on the right where in other photos there are two in very close proximity.  All the lightning arrestors on the dome are in place.  The woman crossing the street appears to be wearing a burka, possibly indicating there was a Yellow Fever outbreak at the time. 


But the best evidence for this date period comes from the signage at far left.  A hardware & crockery store with a large "X" and a large "Z" hanging from an iron awning. 

WILLIAM A. MORRISON'S "X.Z. HARDWARE" STORE The Sanborn map of 1892 shows a hardware business at the corner of Franklin and Madison. In 1895 it's marked as a hardware and crockery business.

In 1899 it's still a hardware and crockery business.

By 1903 it had been taken in by the adjacent furniture business.



This was William A. Morrison's hardware store at 501 Franklin at Madison Street.  Morrison's hardware first shows up in the newspaper in 1894 on a list of expenses of the City of Tampa where Morrison was paid 90 cents for hardware.  (Image at right.)




The 1892 & 1895 Sanborn maps shows the store had an iron awning.



For several months of 1895 this was the only advertisement mentioning Morrison's.  It repeated daily.


Tampa's auctioneer refers to the store as "X. Z. Morrison."

Various ads Morrison ran from 1896 to 1899

The Trib really liked Wm. Morrison.


The Trib praised Morrison for paying his advertising bill even before the bill collector came by for payment.  "Filthy lucre" is a Biblical term for money.  "Tampa is blessed with good business people and Mr. Morrison stands at the head of the list."  "Mr. Morrison is one of Tampa's most esteemed citizens and substantial business factors."



At the end of Jan. 1900, Morrison announced his retirement.  He sold his business to a group of Georgia investors who were "dealers of vast experience and ample capital to make the business a big success." 

For all the years of his hardware business, Morrison was competing with the largest hardware merchant in Tampa, if not in all of Florida--Knight & Wall.  The company was owned by two very prominent families of Tampa.


For almost a year, Tampa Hardware carried the line "Successors to W. A. Morrison" on their ads.



The ornaments on each skylight of the dome were lightning arrestors.
Although the dome appears to be made of brick, the exterior was actually tin plates. 
According to Sanborn maps, the dome was "tin clad" in 1903 but "iron" in 1915.
Iron may have been a reference to the supporting structure, as an entirely iron dome would be extremely heavy.
No article referring to anything other than repairing or painting the dome has been found.


1895-Mar-06 County commissioners Drawdy, Somerville, Brandon, Vanlandingham & Harrell met. Among items addressed was to have the courthouse dome repaired, for which Chairman Drawdy was authorized.
1895-Mar-10 Tribune article writes "Chairman S. J. Drawdy is having the court house dome varnished.  Yesterday Harry Lucas was turning summersaults on the spire in competition with the weather vane.  County expenses paid the following month show it cost the County $50.
1896-May-23 Tribune article writes "The court house dome will receive a new coat of paint next week.
1899-Nov-29 The searchlight of the steamer "Margaret" furnished a beautiful illumination of the dome last night that was greatly enjoyed by those fortunate enough to witness it.
1900-Jan-31 Repainting the roof has begun, the dome will not be painted at this time, but commissioners may authorize a steel ceiling installed in the main courtroom in place of re-plastering the present cracked one.
1901-Jun-16 "Unless the badly cracked dome is speedily fixed, something of considerable more weight than the average legal opinion is going to drop on the Hillsborough County Bar.
1901-Jul-13 Tribune article writes "The court house dome ought to be repaired at once."
1918-Jan-11 Sixty-two foot tall steel flagpole installed on lawn near the Confederate monument replacing "dilapidated bunting floating over the dome which has been of late nothing but an unrecognizable rag.  See article "Treat Flag With Proper Respect."
1921-Mar-22 Bids being accepted for painting of the dome, to be received and opened on Apr. 1, 11 a.m.  Address all bids to Chairman C. T. Friend.
1927-Nov-19 The "antiquated courthouse" to have a little "brushing up," to be painted at the suggestion of Chairman W.T. Williams.  Commissioner John T. Gunn suggests something other than the present dirty gray.
1927-Nov-23 Tribune article legal notice: Sealed bids were being taken by the Board of County Commissioners until Dec. 9, 1927, to have the court house dome and cornices painted.  A certified check in the amount of $100 was required with each bid.  Plans and specs for paint to be used was on file in the County Commisioners' office.  Address bids to W.T. Williams, Chairman.
1934-Apr-06 Hammering by FERA workers on the dome causes interruption of witness testimony in the Bruce murder trial, Judge Parks calls out to bailiff "That hammering will have to stop before the trial can proceed!"
1934-Jun-29 FERA work resumes on unfinished dome.

The original pavilion or "band stand" had electrical power, as evidenced by the two power lines connected to the slats along the cornice work.

This close up of the courthouse windows shows they were more ornate that just a plate of glass.



Not exactly a town clock, it was a wall clock, "thoughtfully put up yesterday for convenience of the public by Clerk Galvin.





The history of this monument is presented here ONLY as a history of a piece of outdoor art, nothing more.  It is NOT a condemnation or glorification of what it may mean to anyone of any race, religion, culture, heritage, or ethnicity. The topic of this piece is for the purpose of revealing the facts of when and where various events concerning it took place, such as its planning, placement, damage and relocations.


FROM "The Florida Public Archaeology Network Memoria In Aeterna Hillsborough County Courthouse grounds.

Memoria In Aeterna was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy on the grounds of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa, on February 8, 1911.  It was relocated in 1952 upon completion of the current courthouse building. A state historical marker about this monument was placed at this site in 1997 following the 1996 restoration of the monument.

This monument is rich with symbolism, but the most profound elements are the two figures of a Confederate soldier--perhaps the same soldier--on the north and south sides of this monument. On the north side,** marching north to battle, is a young Confederate soldier who is confident in his mission and well equipped and walking proud. This soldier sports a wide brimmed hat and blanket roll and has musket at shoulder. On the south side, this same solider returns home, hat in hand, head bandaged, uniform in tatters, and using his musket as a cane or walking stick.

**At Court House Square, the monument's soldiers didn't face north and south, they faced closer to east and west  (more accurately, ESE and WNW)  as Tampa was originally surveyed at about 23.5 degrees counterclockwise from north.  When moved to the new courthouse at 419 Pierce, they did face North/South.


The soldier statues on the monument did not face north and south, they faced closer to east/west--or more accurately, east-southeast and west-northwest.

In 1910 the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy organization was given permission by the County Commissioners to erect a 19-ft tall monument in court house square.  Funds were raised and the UDC was allowed to chose where on the square to install it.

The monument is basically an obelisk with soldiers on a pedestal on opposing faces.  The confederate battle flag is depicted on the front of the work and the dates 1861 and 1865 refer to the beginning and ending of the Civil War. The poem on the reverse side was written by Sister Esther Carlotta, a Roman Catholic nun who was president of the Florida Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1911.  On one side of the obelisk is depicted a Confederate soldier going off to war, rifle on his shoulder, wearing his hat.  On the other side is a Confederate soldier returning home in a tattered uniform, head lowered and bandaged, his hat in one hand, rifle held in the other hand as if being used as a cane. 



From its creation to its current location, the monument was moved twice, one soldier on the monument would be vandalized, destroyed, replaced and then redamaged.  The other soldier was either vandalized or damaged once, but exactly when has not yet been determined.



This article below says that one of the figures on the monument was to be a soldier, and the other a sailor.  No other allusion to this has be found in later descriptions of the monument and was probably a pre-unveiling rumor. 

Below: The program for the unveiling ceremony.  Schools were closed so teachers and students could attend and participate. The main speaker at the assembly before the unveiling was State Attorney Herbert S. Phillips. The article says "Mr. Phillips is an able and forceful speaker.."



The ceremony at the theater before the monument unveiling was pretty much a pro-Confederacy rally.  The speech made at the theater by the keynote speaker "Hon." H. S. Phillips expresses racist views.  Lincoln abolished slavery but unfortunately it did not rid Tampa of its ugly white supremacy attitudes.  This website and its owner do not ascribe to the opinions or philosophies expressed in the article.  They are presented here ONLY as a matter of historic significance as it relates to Tampa's past.  If you cannot accept this as anything but the uncensored account of a big part of Tampa's history then it is highly suggested that you don't read it.

By clicking the excerpt below to read the whole article you acknowledge that you have read and understand the above. When the article opens, click it again to see it full size. -- TampaPix







The Greeson Theater was Tampa's first posh, high-capacity theater.  It opened in 1910, but by the time is this photo, it was no longer used as a theater.  Read about the Greeson, its owner, its construction. design and demise, and see a much larger photo with much more detail.
Here at Tampapix.

In March 1911 the County Commissioners voted to donate $500 to the UDC to help them defray some of what was still owed on the monument.





You've probably encountered one of these stories about Hortense Oppenheimer and her efforts to fund a clock for city hall:

In 1914, the socialite daughter of prominent Tampa physician Louis Sims Oppenheimer, was dismayed that Tampa had no municipal clock. The Oppenheimer children, five daughters and a son, were no less vigorous or gifted than their father. Growing up in a world filled with fine books, music and sober industry, they found it easy to share and emulate their father’s accomplishments.

Or this one:

Miss Oppenheimer became incensed at the city fathers in 1915 because the new City Hall had no tower clock to give the proper time. The City determined that they were too poor to afford clockworks for the clock tower. Miss Oppenheimer launched a campaign to fund one. Her organization, "Ye Town Criers", raised $1,200 by sponsoring various entertainments. Their efforts fell somewhat short, but were successful in raising enough money privately to have the W.H. Beckwith Jewelry Company donate the remainder and provide a 2,840 pound, four-faced clock.

Or maybe you've heard some combination of the two.  Unfortunately, neither is completely correct, in fact, much of both of them is incorrect; a romantic tale woven over the years.

It it really didn't happen the way ANY of the current "legends" go.

Find out how it really happened here at TampaPix

The Oppenheimer kids: Hortense, Irma, Olive, Dorothy,
Louis N. & Carmen, at their home in 1919.
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System.

1913 Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of the University of South Fla. Digital Collections
An elevated view of Franklin Street looking north.
The building which appears unfinished seen immediately to the left of the dome was the new Hillsboro Hotel.  The south face was built practically without windows because the next phase was to expand it even taller on the south end.

The building under construction in the distance is the Citizens Bank tower at Franklin and Zack Street.
At the time of this photo, the bank occupied the building directly across Franklin St seen here with the conical roof and flag on its corner tower.
Twomey's was located in the American Bank building which would later be occupied by Maas Brothers.
Below is a crop of the above photo, 1913 Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of the University of South Fla. Digital Collections

The intersection of Franklin & Madison streets; horse & buggy carriages, streetcars and automobiles all shared Franklin St. in this era.

Below is a crop of the same photo, 1913 Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of the University of South Fla. Digital Collections
The facades of Beckwith Jewelry and the First National Bank building illustrate why the term implies what it does today. From Merriam Webster: 

Facade is thought to have come to English from the Vulgar Latin facia, meaning “face.” Along the way it passed through both Italian, as faccia, and French, as façade. The earliest meaning of the word in English was in reference to the front portion of a building, it’s “face,” so to speak (and face itself is sometimes used to describe this part of a structure as well). Somewhere along the way facade took on a figurative sense, referring to a way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation. This is similar to the figurative use of veneer, which originally had the simple meaning of a thin layer of wood that was used to cover something, and now may also refer to a sort of deceptive behavior that masks one’s actual feelings (as in, “he had a thin veneer of politeness”).


The Court Arcade seen at lower left of the photo was the entrance to a long, narrow space that went all the way to Tampa St.  On the south side of its narrow corridor were spaces for businesses to rent.  It also had a long, narrow restaurant at the Tampa Street end.  The cropped Robertson-Fresh 1939 photo from the USF Library shown below give a glimpse of roof of the arcade.




William H. Beckwith

Tampa City Council
Mar. 9, 1894 – Mar. 8, 1895
Mar. 8, 1895 – Jun. 5, 1896
Jun. 5, 1896 – June, 1898

William H. Beckwith was born in Greenville, Georgia on July 18, 1856. He arrived in Hillsborough County in the 1870s, settling in Valrico where he grew and sold oranges.   He moved to Tampa in 1886 and entered the real estate business with former City Council members--first partnering with Silas A. Jones and later with William Benton Henderson.

Beckwith was also a jeweler and had his shop on Franklin St. across from Court House Square.   As the local Seth Thomas clock dealer, he ordered Tampa's 1915 City Hall clock from Seth Thomas Tower Clock Co., sold it to the City, supervised its installation, and maintained it in the early years. 
He was also involved with automotive businesses  He was a charter member of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the Tampa Yacht & Country Club, which were both founded in 1904. Beckwith served three consecutive terms on Tampa’s City Council, participating in the Finance Committee, the Wharves, Bridges and Harbors Committee, and the Schools and Public Buildings Committee. He died on September 1, 1926.




Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative.
A horse drinks water from the fountain on the north end (Madison St.) of the courthouse square, 1912.**


**This photo is probably closer to 1913-1914.  In the background can be seen the Hotel Royal. In late 1911 to early 1912, J. L. Tallevast of Manatee Co, along with his partners,  (The "Hillsboro Hotel Company") began construction on an 8-story concrete, steel and fireproof plaster hotel on the north side of the predecessor to the Royal, the original Hillsboro Hotel of Maj. Wright.  In Aug. 1912, Wright leased the old 3-story Hillsboro to George D. Kronenberg of Tampa, who would renovate it and operate it under the name of the Hillsboro Hotel Annex, to be opened around Oct. 1.   In late Feb. of 1914, Tallevast awarded a contract to McGucken & Hyer, to expand the newly built (at Twiggs and Florida Ave) Hillsboro as planned on the south end.   The design was being drawn by architects Bonfoey & Elliott, but the construction had to wait until April 1915 when the lease ran out on the old Hillsboro Hotel Annex, which was then operating as the Royal Hotel.

Below: Close up of the original pavilion/band stand and the entrance from above 1913 photo.


Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of the USF digital collections.
This photo is from no later than 1919.  Evidence of this can be seen immediately to the right of the courthouse annex--the Hillsboro Hotel.  From 1916 to 1919 it it appeared as seen here.  In 1920 a 9-story addition to match the existing tower was built adjacent to it on the west side (left.)
Mouse-over the photo to see the first two phases of the Hillsboro Hotel marked in yellow and blue.

The "double building" seen over the courthouse was the Citizens Bank at Franklin & Zack streets.  In 1925, two more stories would be added to the top "crown."   At extreme right is seen the edge of the Elks Club building, which would not be visible after the Tampa Terrace Hotel was built on the near corner of the block.  (1924.)  Compare to the photo below from 1921 where can be seen the 3rd phase completed--the top of the Hillsboro's twin west annex.  (More about the Hillsboro on the next page.)



By Jan. of 1918, the flag was a dirty, tattered and torn old rag, and the Board of County Commissioners got an earful from plenty of Tampans. about it. 

The Tampa Times reported on Jan. 8, 1918, that "The board has suffered some reproach for the apparent neglect of the flag in leaving it to flap on the roof of the dome in a demoralized and ragged condition  The board was not so much to blame.  A difficulty with the halyards made it impossible to raise or lower the flag, and a suggestion that one of the members climb the staff and rectify matters was not received with enthusiasm, the member admitting he was much too portly to become a human fly."

It was described as "...the dilapidated piece of bunting floating over the courthouse dome, which has been of late nothing but an unrecognizable rag.  The winds and storms and Florida sun have beat upon it and whipped and faded it, until it has become too disreputable for further use.

A new flag, seven feet long, was purchased and a 62-ft. tall flagpole consisting of galvanized iron pipe we set solidly in cement eight feet deep on the courthouse lawn near the Confederate monument.  The flag was to be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset by "old Jacobson" the courthouse janitor.

The earliest photos of this courthouse show the weather vane, but no photo has been located showing a flag flying from the spire.

1921: Buses filled with tourists, parked in front of the court house annex on Florida Avenue.  It appears that the annex had not yet expanded on the north end to the corner of Madison St. and Florida Ave.  This is what guests at the Tampa Terrace Hotel would see in 1924..
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of University of South Fla. Digital Collections.

Close up of the buses from the above photo.

Three elements in the Burgert Bros. photo below from the Florida Memory State Library and Archives of Florida below place this photo in the 1920s.  At upper left can be seen the double towers of the Hillsboro Hotel, the leftmost one was completed in 1920.  The lack of an attractive hedge around the base of the monument and the four  relatively small, un-sculpted shrubs surrounding the monument, and the good condition of the courthouse window canopies indicate early to mid-1920s. The 1926 photo below shows the courthouse annex had been extended to the corner of Madison and Florida Ave. by this time.  Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the THCPLC.


Notice in the photo at left the slight forward-leaning posture and rear placement the left foot of the original "marching to battle" soldier on the left.  This probably contributed to its demise in 1946.


1935 Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of the USF digital collections.
Taken from the top of the Bay View Hotel.

Notice immediately below the Tampa Terrace Hotel sign that the courthouse annex had also been extended to Lafayette St. on the south.


Below: July 15, 1936
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the THCPLC.

This photo, taken from the Bay View Hotel, shows the annex behind the courthouse had also been expanded sometime from 1931 to 1936 to the south making it symmetric.  The 1931 Sanborn map shows this had not yet taken place.


1938, the dome of the courthouse and the tower of City Hall,
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the THCPLC.


Below: 1939, A rarely seen detail of the courthouse south entrance.
Notice to the right of the courthouse cupola the Citizens Bank building with two stories added to the top creating a 3-story crown.
Mouse-over the photo to zoom in. 
Robertson & Fresh photo courtesy of the University of South Fla. Digital Collections.

Visible in the above photo is the WW1 monument consisting of a captured German gun on its 2-wheeled carriage.    At right, the State Capital has acquired a captured German gun for display on the grounds in front of the Parkhill monument.  Plans were to move it to a permanent place as soon as one was prepared.


AT LEFT: The War Dept. had pieces of captured German field artillery available for communities to display as monuments, or use for national guard, if possible.   machine guns, howitzers, trench mortars, rifles, bayonets and other items.  Interested communities were to contact the War Dept. in Washington D.C.




It hasn't been determined yet as to when it was obtained, or the circumstances, but the article at right describes a similar acquisition for the state capitol in 1919 at Tallahassee.

See upcoming article by Leo Stalnaker, Jr. in 1946 to learn what happened to the gun.  A drinking fountain is also visible in these photos.


Below:  Enlargement from the 1937 photo which follows below this one.

Below:  Enlargement from above 1939 photo.


In March 1926, Dade City acquired a "76mm minnewerfer with wheels"


AT LEFT: This June 1921 photo shows the German gun had not yet been placed on the courthouse square.

Compare to virtually identical view from 1937 below.

Photo courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System.

Below is a crop of a much larger Robertson & Fresh undated photo courtesy of the University of S. Fla. Library digital collections.

This side view shows the length of the towing carriage.
Barely visible in the uncropped photo are a couple of cars which appear to be late 1920s to early 1930s.

BELOW: This beautiful view of City Hall, the Confederate monument, and the WWI German gun is a Burgert Bros. photo from the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System.  It is dated Oct. 1937. Ten year later, the  soldier marching to battle would be M.I.A. (Missing in action.)



The sign to the right of the tree trunk indicates the landscaping was done by "Garden Gate Circle."
This was a beautification project started by the Tampa Garden Club in 1932.


Cropped portion of Oct. 1937 photo above courtesy of the
Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System.






Even before World War II was ended, Chairman of the Hillsborough Co. Defense Council, Howard Macfarlane, obtained permission to build a memorial to honor the war's casualties from Hillsborough County.  It was to be a temporary one until the war was over an all the names could be collected for it.


So many fresh flowers were being placed inside by visitors that they often obstructed the names which were near the bottom of the plaques inside.
Furthermore, the flowers would wilt and die and be left inside to decay and become an unsightly mess.  The solution was to assign responsibility of clearing out the old flowers and supplying fresh ones to groups already desiring to participate.  The Garden Gate Circle of the Tampa Garden Club also participated with flowers and planting shrubs around the memorial.


In early Oct. 1945, some "Yamdankee" stole the entire rifle off the shoulder of the hat-wearing "marching to battle" soldier.  Later articles in the Tribune would refer back to this event, but the writers would have a poor concept of how long ago it was and what the circumstances were.

In this March 1946 article below by Leo Stalnaker Jr., son of the controversial Tampa judge of the same name, the neglect and intentional defacing of Tampa's war memorials is brought to light.   
  1. The temporary WWII monument was being used as a convenient "out-house" by drunks at night.
  2. The small marble obelisks which were spaced out each mile on Memorial Highway, at the time was Grand Central Ave. eastward from Howard Ave.  The main monument was located at that intersection when first dedicated, but was moved to the American Legion cemetery because cars kept running into it.   A twin monument was located in the median where today, Kennedy Blvd. curves northward to Memorial Hwy.  Read more about this monument and dedication ceremony for Memorial Hwy "The road of remembrance" here at TampaPix.
  3. The Spanish-American War monument on the grounds of the University of Tampa in Plant Park which at the time had become only the concrete base because the original Fort Dade gun had been donated for scrap metal during WWII (even though junkyards were piled high with scrap.)  
     See photos of the original monument with the actual Fort Dade gun.
  4. The theft of the rifle from one of the soldiers on the Confederate monument, "more than a year ago," [it had only been 5 months] leaving the soldier in a "brother can you spare a dime" pose.

Not pictured but mentioned below: The monument of WWI--the captured German gun on a wooden carriage which had rotted away causing the piece to fall to the ground.  The only wood that could have rotted was the inner rims and spokes of the wheels.

Read more about the Spanish-American War Memorial at Plant Park, and see photos of the original Fort Dade cannon as well as the one now on display.  Here at TampaPix.



This event was covered without mention of the unarmed soldier of the monument.   Mention is made of Joseph Paul Robles, age 99, one of two of the last Civil War pensioners of Florida still living.  He was a son of Tampa pioneer Joe Robles, whose Civil War service is best remembered by his legendary capture of Union Soldiers by creating the illusion of being a whole company of soldiers.  He  in fact was by himself, and he had run out of ammunition.  Read more here at TampaPix:  The Courage of Joe Robles


Had Stalnaker waited several more months to write his article, he could have written about the destruction of one of the statues, which,  even before finding the culprit, was  immediately thought to be intentional vandalism and a strike against the Confederacy.  

The article by Juanita Green below incorrectly mentions the theft of the rifle from the monument "Last April when the Chapter went to lay a wreath at the base of the statue they discovered it standing empty-handed."   The truth was the ceremony for 1946 consisted only of the ladies laying the wreath, and the rifle had already been missing for several months at that time. 

Fake news is highlighted in yellow.  The UDC women were fully aware of the missing rifle.



On Oct. 29, 1946, Dominick Berardinelli, age 20, was assessed a $300 fine for breaking the statue.  He testified it was an accident, and he did not intend to break it.  He said he and his buddies were clowning around in the courthouse square when he climbed the monument to get a closer look.  Berardinelli came forward on his own to confess to the act, and his fine was paid by his commanding officer.

Notice Judge Potter's concern, "Was anything said against the Confederacy?"  "NO SIR, we were ALL for it!" 

After the trial, Berardinelli repeatedly expressed his regret, but also added that the statue wasn't bolted to the monument, "but is should be.  It might have fallen on some child playing around it."





Below, a rare view of the courthouse showing the Confederate memorial without the "marching to battle" soldier on the left.
1946 to 1949 Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of Florida Memory, State Library& Archives of Florida.


Also visible is the overgrowth of ivy on the south wall of the building but not so much on the front facade.





1947 Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the THCPLC

The new temporary memorial can be seen behind the trees  at the right below City Hall.


It would be nearly three years haggling Congress to pay for the damage before the broken memorial was fixed with a new statue.  It was through the efforts of these ladies that Congress appropriated $1,000 to replace the statue destroyed by Berardinelli.   Though it is not mentioned in the article, the replica statue was created with a shouldered rifle, as the original was. (Post-1946 photos bear this out.)



Red Cross Banners at the band stand, Mar. 7, 1950 
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the THCPLC.

By the 1947, ivy had almost entirely covered the south face of the building and by 1950 it had crept around the corner to the front on the south end.  The replacement statue can be seen here with a rifle on his right shoulder.
Feb. 23, 1952.  Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the THCPLC


Below, the original statues as they appeared in the 1920s. Below, in 1936 the rifle barrel of the soldier on the right was still intact. 1946-1949 missing soldier on the left.  Rifle barrel POSSIBLY missing from soldier on the right. Below, enlargement from the 1952 photo above shows the barrel of the the rifle held by the soldier on the right is missing.  The soldier on the left is the replacement replica.


This Robertson & Fresh aerial photo from the University of South Fla. Digital Collections isn't dated but the vehicles and the growth of ivy on the south wing indicate it is from the late 1940s or very early 1950s.




Plans for a new courthouse were started in 1946, spurred by downtown parking issues in the latter half of the 1940s.  No articles were located regarding any structural or maintenance issues with the building.  One source, which TampaPix is attempting to relocate, said the south wall collapsed one night due to moisture seepage caused buy the flourishing ivy.  It's safe to assume there were space issues by this time, even with the annex which was built before 1915 and expanded before 1926.  There was likely the need for larger courtrooms, more offices, etc,  The topic of traffic was brought up in response to talks of building a "skyscraper" courthouse at the same site.  The downtown merchants as well as the police chief were against building larger at the same site, they wanted it out of the central downtown business district altogether.




This was a 1948 publicity event with Weeki Wachee mermaids to promote a film titled "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid."

Photo courtesy of Florida Memory, State Library and Archives of Florida.


Image courtesy of Wikipedia




In the latter half of the 1940s a decision was reached to build a new complex on the east side of Pierce St. between Lafayette & Twiggs streets by cutting off Madison St at Pierce.  It currently ran about a block past Jefferson before it dead-ended.

A decision had to be made whether to move the temporary WW2 memorial to the new courthouse as soon as possible or build the permanent one instead.  There was also a drinking fountain and a display fountain along with a goldfish pool to consider.  The moving of the Confederate memorial would require more planning since it was so heavy and fragile.  This stirred up another hornet's nest with the UDC.


Mrs. Finlay Hunter and other members of the UDC were at work trying to persuade lawmakers in Tallahassee to preserve the old building and keep the monument right where it was.  But the House said it was a matter for the commissioners to decide. 



In Jan. the next year, the county commissioners' offer to sell the courthouse was accepted by a New York property investor.  The plan was for them to put $100k down, then another $200k when the property was turned over to him.  The rest would be paid under mortgage of 2.5%.  The price was TEN times what it cost to build it in 1891.


The UDC claimed, "They promised they would never move the memorial without giving us notice, they haven't written a letter to us in the first place.  The UDC has not given permission that the memorial be moved and we don't think they have any right to move it.  It was dedicated as a permanent memorial on public property and the property belongs to the citizens of Hillsborough County, not the commission."

This enlargement below of the above photo indicates that by this time in 1952,
the barrel had been broken off above the hand from the "homeward bound" soldier on the right.


The skyscraper deal fell through with Weissman and Schaffer in mid-Feb 1952...

Click on the articles to read the rest of them

...but almost a year later a new offer of a lease with option to buy was agreed on and the New Yorkers came back to Tampa with a $10,000 down payment check on the old courthouse site.

While the search for a buyer was once again being conducted, the memorial was being prepped for relocation.

Meanwhile, many opinions as to what should be done with the site were still being sent to the Tribune.


        Click the excerpt below to read the whole article.


After a demolition contract had been awarded, a group of Tampans headed by Mrs. W. Finlay Hunter filed suit to stop the sale and subsequent demolition of the courthouse, hoping it could be turned into a museum and public recreation center.  Their charge was that the commissioners had no right to sell the courthouse property and the monument without their permission.  The contract to demolish had already been awarded to Tampa contractors Sprinkle & Quinby who were the highest bidders at $2600.  Contracts for demolition are awarded to highest bidders because they get to keep anything they can salvage from the property after the County sold whatever they could and was removed by the buyers.


Circuit Court Judge Parks ruled in favor of the County, they had the right to sell the property.  The two courthouses before this one had also been sold, but they were bought by private citizens who had the structure moved to a new site where it was repurposed.  The little old McKay courthouse from 1846 to 1854 was bought by Jackson Redbrook who moved it nearby and used it as a general store.  Later it was moved again and used as a warehouse by the Peninsular Telephone Co.  The next courthouse after McKay's is credited to its builder John H. Breaker and was used from 1854 to 1891.   When it was sold, it was moved up Fla. Avenue between Polk & Cass St. and used as a boarding house for many years.


Nothing moves faster than demolition in Tampa.





Sprinkle & Quimby had been awarded the demolition contract, but the lawsuit to prevent the sale delayed the start.  In order to guarantee that the deadline would be met, the contracting company of Cone Bros. was renting additional equipment to S&Q so there would be no delays.  The county commissioners cut a deal with associated furniture dealers in Tampa, allowing them to sell on site whatever furniture they could remove from the old building.  This would include equipment and furniture fixed to the floor such as jury chairs, counters and safes.  Purchasers were to remove their items from the premises without delaying demolition.



Mar. 1953 Burgert Bros. photo below courtesy of THCPLC
The abandoned front entrance.




This Tribune writer belittles those who wanted the courthouse spared and repurposed.  He refers to them as "the impassioned defenders of the sanctity of the ancient building" and expected to see "one of the antique-minded good ladies rush up and throw herself in front of the bulldozer."  He calls the building "the old monstrosity" and refers to parts as "horrible Moorish domes.."  Then he points out his superior intellect by referring to a woman who "probably has been mispronouncing 'RAZE' all her life" by quoting her as saying "razzing."  He ends by referring to the building as one from "the Middle Ages."




April 29, 1953 Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative.
Mouse-over the photo to zoom in.

Notice the salvaged materials for sale stacked along the sidewalk of Florida Ave.
The tall building just to the right of Sacred Heart's dome was the Peninsular Telephone building.
The building that wraps around the the south side of the Sacred Heart church was the Jesuit school building.  In the distance at far left is the towering Floridan Hotel, the tallest building in Tampa until the early 1960s when the Exchange Bank tower was built.

Crop of the courthouse demolition photo showing the Jesuit high school building.
The front face of Sacred Heart church is blocked by the Hillsboro Hotel at far left.
Also seen here at lower right is the Elks Club building and just beyond it, the Western Union building.


Don't worry, he said, "we'll pave it so so it won't be left in an unsightly, raw state."

Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the Tampa
Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative.

Weissman:  "But it's definitely not going to be a parking lot for long."

    So pave it they did...

Sep. 17, 1954

And three years later it was still a parking lot on Dec. 5, 1957.  The tall building is the First National Bank of Tampa, f.k.a. the Bank of Tampa.

Burgert Bros. photos courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative.


The article below was a small part of a nationally published article about various efforts around the country to preserve old buildings and save them from demolition, and relocation of various monuments.  The cartoon was part of the article; the inset on the left and photo on the right were the only portions of the article pertaining to Tampa.












by Tampa Historian/Journalist Leland Hawes.

It contains comments by Mrs. Hunter and info from her file on her efforts.

It also tells about the condition of the courthouse and what it would have taken to overhaul it and turn it into a museum.

The article is split in two images:
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2

When they open, click them again to see full size.





Click the image below to read this 1996 Leland Hawes article about childhood memories of what it was like going downtown in the old days.
When it opens, click it again to see it full size.










The site for the new courthouse was selected in 1948 which included the area outlined in yellow at right.  The south side of Madison St. consisted mainly of James Madison Jr. High School, marked in green.


The first phase of construction was to close off Madison St. at Pierce and Jefferson.  It already dead-ended at the next street, East St. 


Jul. 31, 1948 Burgert Bros photo courtesy of the
Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System




Madison Jr. High opened on time in October, 1915.


A new James Madison Junior High School was opened in South Tampa on the Interbay peninsula in 1952. The school opened under the leadership of Earl Hatcher, its first principal. . In 1992, Madison Junior High became a middle school.

(The History of Hillsborough County Public Schools, 1848-2000, Compiled by the Department of Research and Development, Supervisor Judith Lombana Ed.D., Author Richard Bair, Ph.D. Author)


At Left:  James Madison Jr. High School as seen from Madison St. between Pierce and Jefferson streets.


Sep. 16, 1922 Burgert Bros. photo  courtesy of the
Tampa-Hillsborough Co. Public Library System




Construction of Madison Jr. High School was completed in Oct. 1915.

 It was demolished in June 1950.









Construction of a new county courthouse at Madison & Pierce streets was started in 1950 and was completed in 1952.


Mar. 16, 1951 Burgert Bros photo courtesy of
the Tampa Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative



Dec. 2, 1952 - Robertson & Fresh photo courtesy of the University of S. Fla. Library Digital Collections.
The new county courthouse seen from Lafayette and Pierce streets.



1952 Robertson & Fresh photo from the University of South Fla. Digital Collections
Looking east on Madison St. to its end at Pierce St.


Nov. 20, 1952 Burgert Bros photo courtesy of the Tampa Hillsborough Co. Public Library Cooperative

This photo also shows the "marching to battle" soldier with intact rifle resting on his right shoulder.


Work on the new, permanent WW2 memorial started in late 1952.  It was designed by local architect Richard S. Himes to be in similar style as the new courthouse, and built by the same builders of the courthouse, Paul Smith Construction Co.  The plans called for construction of concrete and steel, the names of the war dead inscribed on the outer walls.  Surrounding the building would be a reflection pool, sidewalks, and tropical shrubbery, and be "monumental in design."  The inside would be designed to house storage for garden tools to be used in maintenence of the courthouse lawn. 

At right: May 31, 1953 Burgert Bros. photo   
courtesy of the Tampa Hillsborough Co.   
Public Library Cooperative.   

But what was built seems to best reflect the design of the courthouse was the material.  Emphasis looks more like it's on the storage capability, with little room for reflection in the reflection pool, and the names of the WW2 and Korean war dead inside the monument.  It was built at a cost of $8,000.


Hillsborough County's memorial to the casualties of the Trojan war?  No, it's outdoor art that conserves water.



BELOW:  A close up crop enlarged from the previously shown  Nov. 20, 1952 photo shows the "marching to war" rifle still intact and the "coming home" rifle barrel missing.


AT RIGHT:  April 27, 1964 - The shouldered rifle is still intact.




In 1996 Hillsborough County collaborated with the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property, Save Outdoor Sculpture program, to address the condition of the Confederate memorial sculpture.  The County completed a thorough cleaning and conservation treatment, but did not restore the broken rifles in order to maintain the original integrity of the historic piece.  After the restoration, a historic marker was placed. 


The marker has a couple of inaccuracies. 


These photos were taken in March 2009 by William Lees and are presented courtesy of the Florida Public Archaeology Network.


Shouldered rifle still missing

Pretty close match to the original seen here.  Rifle positioned slightly lower on his shoulder.
Oct. 1937 photo of City Hall.

Barrel of rifle still missing above the hand.

Photo by William Lees courtesy of the
Florida Public Archaeology Network.

Crop of previously used Burgert Bros. photo.

Photo by William Lees courtesy of the
Florida Public Archaeology Network.


Historic marker inaccuracies:

   The monument was on the NORTHEAST corner of Franklin and Lafayette streets.  It was on the SOUTHWEST corner of the courthouse square.
It makes a difference if you are referring to the intersection by use of the street names, or by the plot or block it occupies.
   The program was called "Save OUTDOOR Sculpture."
You can see larger images at the Florida Public Archaeology Network where these photos are from.

Photos by William Lees.


The monument remained in front of the county courthouse until the recent "Erase all traces of the history of the Confederacy" movement that was taking over the country.  After months of debate beginning in July 2017, to appease opponents of the monument, it was moved at a cost of almost $300k to the Brandon family cemetery at Brandon Boulevard and Lithia Pinecrest Road.  The monument was gladly received by the descendants of John Brandon, Confederate veteran and namesake of the unincorporated community.   The funds were raised in one day through large donations mostly from several influential corporations, local sports franchises, and Tampa VIPs.  It took seven months from the date of the county commissioners' vote to get it prepped, moved, set up and dressed at the new location in Brandon.


Unlike in front of the courthouse downtown, where from some vantage points it blended almost unseen in with the white courthouse, it now stands more conspicuously on one of the busiest roads in Hillsborough County.  It is estimated that about 130,000 cars a day drive that section of State Road 60, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.   Some think it's now being seen by many more people because of its location on a busy road. 

Notice the "politically correct" placement, so that only the returning soldier faces the busy road.




Photos courtesy of the Osprey Observer**


**About the photo credits by photographer Nancy Nahas: The source website's caption of the above photo and a second one incorrectly states "...The Confederate soldier (left) is facing south and the Union Soldier is facing north" when in fact, both depict Confederate soldiers.  Yet, the article in which the photos appear, and whose author (Nick Nahas) may be related to the photographer, quotes from the historic marker which basically states both are Confederate soldiers.

 Click the image to see the inscription on the reverse side larger.
Image courtesy of Florida Public Archaeology Network.
Photo by William Lees
Photo has been enhanced for contrast and color correction for display here.


Read about the removal and relocation.





Today, a less detailed and less ornate replica of the courthouse dome glistens atop poles of a seatless pavilion in Joe Chillura Courthouse Square at the corner of Morgan and Madison streets. 


Up until recent years, Hillsborough County used an image of the old courthouse roof and dome for its logo.  Now a silhouette of the park pavilion is used, so you might say the old place has also been demolished symbolically as well as physically. 





This somewhat surreal elevated Google view of the courthouse shows how the courtyard was split into two squares.
The drainage system and downspout for the water reclamation "temple" can also be seen here.



So what became of the parking lot at the original Court House Square?


In 1961, construction began on the north half of the property with the new home of the Marine Bank.   So then it was only HALF a parking lot.

Both are Burgert Bros. photos courtesy of the THCPLC. 

And on the north half of the block was built this most ornate, highly crafted work of art.  It's unique style of architecture is called "HORRIBLE BLUE BOX."

And it is still around today, as the headquarters of the Tampa Police Dept.

Best of all it's no longer a parking lot.  Now it's FOUR parking lots stacked on each other.

Next year, the   BIG BLUE MONSTER  will be about as old as the 1892 courthouse was when it was demolished.