A visually and cartographically explicit narrative blog about Tampa's built history and development.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Hiding our past

One would think that the Floridan Hotel and the Tampa Theater building are the last remaining historic high rises left in downtown tampa. Well, that isn't true. There is another 1920s era skyscraper still gracing our skyline.

The large 12 story structure built in 1925 was formally called the Wallace S. Building (The 4 story adjacent structure was home to the Tampa Morning Tribune) and it sits on block bordered by Ashley, Twiggs, Tampa and Zack. Today it is better known as the Huntington Bank building (formally Gold Bank) and my how it has changed.

(The above picture is from Emporis.com)

In the late 60s / early 70s the building underwent a major renovation. Elevator shafts were added on the South side of building, the window court was closed in and she got the royal Florida stucco treatment. All remaining buildings on the block were demolished, making way for the most important feature of late 20th century downtowns, parking! While the renovation hardly does the original justice, it ultimately saved the building during a period when most of downtowns historic structures were being neglected and/or demolished.
There are many more buildings throughout Tampa that have received updates and renovations that hide their historic character, but this is probably the best and most dramatic example.

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