A visually and cartographically explicit narrative blog about Tampa's built history and development.
(Above banner created from photo in the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sulphur Springs Tourist Club / Harbor Club

I don't know how I missed posting about this one!  I became obsessed with the run down Harbor Club building at the corner of Nebraska Avenue and the Hillsborough River about a year ago when a friend and I went exploring around the place.  I knew it was an old building.  I knew it had been a restaurant at one point.  And I also had some friends that said their bands had played there or that they had seen bands play there in the late 90s. While the building is in pretty poor shape, one thing really stood out to me... THERE ARE SHUFFLEBOARD COURTS HERE!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The pink streets of West Shore, or is it Westshore?

West Shore or Westshore?

As I mentioned in my previous post I recently bought a house, it is in Northeast Seminole Heights.  Around the same time my work also moved its headquarters from West Tampa to the Westshore area at the end of Cypress Street.  So my world and my commute have changed pretty drastically, considering that I had lived in Hyde Park and had an easy 2 mile commute to West Tampa for the past 5 years.  I never really spent much time in Westshore or Seminole Heights before this so even though I thought I knew the city pretty well, I'm still finding new and interesting things to investigate.

The first that comes to mind, is the proper spelling of the neighborhood really "Westshore"? even though the street that it is named after is really spelled as two seperate words "West Shore"?  Even Google Maps spells it as one word!  Could this be as contentious as the whole La Setima / La Septima Seventh Avenue debate?

Pink streets in Tampa? Corner of Trask and North A

The second thing I hope to look into is the possibility of the existence of pink streets in the Westshore area.  While driving through the neighborhood along North A and North B just East of the mall I noticed that many of the curbs and the shoulder of many of the roads and even some of the sidewalks were a faded pink color.  The street was probably originally concrete or slab formed.  The streets of the are have since been repaved with asphalt, but only about a foot to the curb.  The pink curbs and sidewalks are spotty, the area photographed above is probably one of the longer stretches, most areas are patched with regular colored concrete curbs.  I immediately thought of the pink streets of St. Petersburg's Pinellas Point neigborhood (shown below). 

Originally platted as Hanan Park, the area around Trask and North A and North B streets was developed during the boom of the early 1920s, although the area has changed drastically since then some of the original houses and buildings from the 20s are still standing.  Were pink streets a thing back then or was this just a local phenomenon?

The pink streets of St. Petersburg's Pinellas Point, courtesy Google Earth

In the near future I intend to highlight a few Seminole Height area features that have caught my eye.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall events / news

I'd apologize for the absence, but I bought a house so better things were afoot than tending to this blog!  Anyway thought I'd share some upcoming interesting-ness and things to look out for:

- Though not in Tampa, some alarming news on the preservation front in Tampa Bay this week.  The Belleview Biltmore future is looking shaky once again and hints that one of my favorite buildings in downtown St. Pete, the beautiful historic yet abandoned YMCA, may be facing a similar battle or worse fate.

- The Florida Conversations series will start up again at the Tampa Bay History Center on Thursday, October 18th at 6:30 p.m. with a look at Key West http://www.tampabayhistorycenter.org/flaconversations.html. (Don't worry next month they'll be back on a local topic - Hyde Park).  This is usually a monthly event that ceases for the summer.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


There are a few events coming up this month that may be of interest to Tampania followers:

May 6 - Tampa Library Road Show makes a stop at the Seminole Heights Library http://thplhistoryroadshow.blogspot.com/2012/04/seminole-heights-branch-library-history.html

May 10 - Bill Belleville closes out this years Florida Conversations series discussing his book "Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams"  http://www.tampabayhistorycenter.org/flaconversations.html

May 12 - National Train Day at the Tampa Union Station http://floridacoalitionofrailpassengers.memberlodge.com/Default.aspx?pageId=315709&eventId=427120&EventViewMode=EventDetails

Starting June 3 - Tampa Theatre's Summer Classics Series - kicking off with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, this years summer classic series features Planet of the Apes, Shaft, Edward Scissorhands and Alfred Hitchcock's silent film Lodger.  http://tampatheatre.org/event-descriptions-and-coming-attractions/

I doubt I'll be able to catch them all, but you should.  If you know of any other history related events going on let me know!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Greetings from a Tampa Park

Postcard mailed May 1963, the back reads"Tony Jannus Park showing skyline of Tampa, Florida in background"
Two weeks ago, I managed to make some room in my Sunday for a visit to the Floridiana Festival and Highwayman Art Show at the Palladium in St. Petersburg.  I have never been before and had heard good things about it in the past.  I must admit I was a little disappointed; very few vendors, cramped space, and  don't get me started on the lectures about Hawaiian Shirts!  However, it was great to see that there is enough enthusiasm for vintage Florida ephemera that something like this can take place.   I did happen to walk away with a few small nick-knacks and the postcard shown above was one of them.  I was immediately drawn to it.  Postcards of skylines are commonplace, however this one focuses on Tony Jannus Park, located along the Hillsborough River at the Northeast corner of Platt and Bayshore.  You can see the beginnings of Platt Street bridge ballustrade in the lower right.  The sign in the middle says:
City of Tampa
Tampa Federation of Garden Club Circles
Hillsborough County Aviation Authority
Dedicated July 4th, 1955

Tony Jannus Park remains the sad younger sister to Tampa's crown jewel, Bayshore Boulevard.  In the 60s the Borein bridge was built along the North end of park, increasing traffic flow and speed around the park, with very little thought to pedestrian flow and access.  Later on the Crosstown Expressway was built over the park, casting a shadow over the North half.

Tony Jannus Park aerial view 1957 (PALMM FCLA)

Tony Jannus Park today (Google Earth)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The (De?)Evolution of the Shuffle in Tampa

I was inspired by my recent first visit to the beautiful St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Courts and Visual Ephemera's recent postings on Florida's vanishing shuffleboard courts to go in search of Tampa's remaining public shuffleboard courts.  The only court I knew of in Tampa is a well-maintained set of courts at MacFarlane Park in West Tampa.
However, I found out that the reason these courts are so nice is due to the fact they were built around 2001 when the city built a new senior center at the park, furthering the stereotypical association is between senior citizens and shuffleboard is still going strong.

Trolling through the trusty ol' Burgert Bros. Collection I typed in "Shuffleboard" and found that a few more had existed.  The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Complex on Oregon was actually a municipal trailer park during the depression era.  The original administration building is still in use and behind it sits a set of 5 deteriorating courts, I can only assume that these were the original courts in the picture below.

A few blocks away over on Howard Avenue the scene at Rey park is very different.  With help from the WPA the city built a beautiful park complete with a small bandshell, tennis court and shuffleboard court.