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)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Purity Springs

Literally a stones throw from Tampa's most ubiquitous spring, Sulphur Springs, is little Purity Springs. Unheralded, it sits in between a housing development and North River Shore Drive, the head is about 50 or 60 yards from the river.   The Spring pool is small, only about 7 or 8 yards across and about 3 feet deep, but its waters are still a clear, deep aquamarine blue.  The edge of the spring is lined with what appear to be limestone border rocks.  Its flow is directed to the river through a channel under the road.  It is perhaps one of the most accessible springs in the city.  On a warm afternoon you will undoubtedly see a few neighborhood children splashing around in its fairly clear waters, when it isn't occupied by ducks, chickens or other birds.
View North from River Shore Drive, the water flows right under me and the road down to the River.
The decline in quality of Florida's springs has become increasingly apparent over the past couple of years.  Many of the states wonders have either stopped flowing or have had their clear blue waters clouded by polluted run-off, see the Tampa Bay Times recent look at our vanishing springs.  Springs were the states first tourist attractions.  The neighborhood of Sulphur Springs, though now in decline, with its tower, gazebo and large dog track would not exist if it weren't for Sulphur Springs.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Help InVision Hillsborough and Nebraska Avenues

The InVision Tampa ideas page is now taking up suggestions for possible changes and tweeks to the Nebraska and Hillsborough Avenue corridors as the second phase of the InVision Tampa Study.  I've already added one idea to the Hillsborough Avenue ideas page.

Over two years ago now (wow time flies!) I did a post on the old Sears department store building at Hillsborough and 22nd Street, now the home of Hi-Tech Erwin Technical School.  The Sears building is just one of many mid-century modern commercial / retail buildings along Hillsborough Avenue, which was becoming a major shopping and commercial corridor in the 1950s and 1960s.  My idea is that these gems should be revitalized and highlighted to help promote a cleanup and redevelopment of the corridor.   The North Biscayne Boulevard in Miami looked similar to Hillsborough Avenue, full of run down mid-century travel motels and shopping strips.  But at the beginning of the century, local historians and citizens began to push for a revitilization of the blighted area, and the Biscayne Boulevard Historic District was born.  Many of the seedy rundown motor lodges were bought and refurbished to highlight their mid-century style, becoming boutique hotels.  And many of the run down and vacant strip centers now host new tenants, many catering to the history of the area.  I'm not saying Hillsborough Avenue should follow the same model, but I think Tampa can take a few pointers from the Biscayne Boulevard revival to help reshape the Hillsborough, Nebraska and Florida corridors.

Please visit my Hillsborough Avenue idea page and second the idea if you like it.  Or you can create an account for the InVision ideas site and post your own suggestions.  If you don't speak up, your ideas will never be heard.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The City of Tampa's "Out of the Archives"

I just have to highlight the new "Out of the Archives" show created by the City of Tampa's Archives  Department.  It's hosted and produced by Tampania's good friend Jennifer Dietz, the City of Tampa's Archives and Records Manager.  Jen helped facilitate a lot of the hard research done for this blog in her former post as Librarian at the Tampa Bay History Center's research library.  In the innaugural episode of "Out of the Archives", Jen highlights a 16mm, Tampa Chamber of Commerce produced film from the 1950's entitled "Flower of Tampa".  The film highlights the City's world renowned Cigar industry at a time when cigar smoking was on the decline due to the prevelance of the cheaper, machine-made cigarette.  The film also highlights the beauty of Tampa and the rich cultural assets of the area.  The main subject of the film is Rick, the prodigal nephew of long time Tampa cigar maker, Uncle Manuel.  Young Ricky is played by Tampa actor Joe Russo, whom Jen gets to interview for her show, looking good Joe!

The coolest thing about the "Out of the Archives" video is that it is a film that highlights a film which itself is highlighting another earlier film.  At the beginning of the movie Uncle Manuel lights up a cigar for young Ricky and then shows him a film entitled "From leaf to lip" about tobacco harvesting in Cuba.  And surprise, surprise, one of the stars of this documentary is none other than Uncle Manuel himself. 

I look forward to seeing what else comes out of the archives in future installments and hope you will too.  Great job, Jen!