Hyde Park was Tampa’s first Western suburb, stretching southward from the mouth of the Hillsborough River down the east side of the Interbay Peninsula. In 1886 O. H. Platt of Hyde Park, Illinois, purchased the Robert Jackson farm on the south side of the river in anticipation of a bridge.
Two years later railroad baron Henry B. Plant constructed his Tampa Bay Hotel next door and not only did the bridge become a reality, and the subdivision of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival homes made Upper Hyde Park the ideal place to live in Tampa for generations. Jesse J. Hayden, who ran the ferry service across the river, and Robert Jackson started other subdivisions and a housing boom was on.
HOW TO GET THERE: Exit I-275 Ashley Street in downtown Tampa, cross the River on Kennedy Boulevard and turn left on Hyde Park Avenue. You will start the tour as you pass under the Cross-Town Expressway overpass.
HISTORIC PLACES TO STAY AND EAT: Hyde Park is mostly Victorian residential, but South Howard Avenue to the west of Old Hyde Park Village has become a notable restaurant row, featuring BERN’S STEAK HOUSE, 1208 South Howard Avenue, (813)251-2451), for forty years one of America’s most notable steak palaces (EXPENSIVE). MISE EN PLACE, 442 West Kennedy, (813) 254-5373, in a vintage 1920’s building opposite the University of Tampa, is a notable place. For seafood, continue to COLONNADE, 3401 Bayshore Blvd., (813)839-7558), a landmark since the 1930’s.
PETER O. KNIGHT COTTAGE (1887), 245 Hyde Park Avenue, a Victorian cottage serving as headquarters for the TAMPA HISTORICAL SOCIETY. It was the Honeymoon home for the man, who after serving as first lawyer and second mayor of Fort Myers (since he was 20 he couldn’t run as “first” mayor), as well as founder of Lee County, came to Tampa to start the Exchange National Bank, the Tampa Gas Company, and Tampa Suburban Railway. The building was the site of many key business decisions that changed the face of Tampa.
on the right is the:THOMAS CARSON TALIAFERRO HOUSE (1890), 305 Hyde Park Avenue, a two-story Georgian Revival, designed by St. Louis architects Grable, Weber, & Groves for the founder of the First National Bank. One of the first house guests wasbrother James, a United States Senator. It is now the Center for Women. A few doors down is the: MOREY HOUSE(1905), 315 Hyde Park Avenue, a brick Classical home of the President of the Morey & Company Cigar Company and founder of the first resort on Pass-A-Grille Beach, Pinellas County’s first beach-side village. This and many other mansions in this area are now zoned for offices.
TURN LEFT ON DELEON, TRAVEL ONE BLOCK, AND TURN LEFT ON ONE WAY PLANT AVENUE, staying on the far left side by the:
JAMES B. ANDERSON HOUSE (1892), 349 Plant Avenue, a granite trimmed mansion designed by Francis J. Kennard. As Treasurer of the Tampa Board of Trade, Anderson could afford the six fireplaces and third floor ballroom.
Up the street is the: SUMTER LOWRY HOUSE (1893), 333 Plant Avenue, the three story clapboard home of the colorful City Councilman and helped start Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and St. Andrews Episcopal Church..
Across the street is the: ALBERT JOHNSON HOUSE (1891), 332 Plant Avenue, started as a hunting lodge for Marshall Field and converted by lumberman Johnson. In contrast, one block west, is:
the O. J. SPAFFORD HOUSE (1882), 315 Plant Avenue, a Colonial Revival built by an insurance executive and later Tampa Women’s Club (1922) headquarters. This is a 11,484 square foot structure.
As you CROSS HYDE PARK PLACE, on the right is the notable: CURRIE J. HUTCHINSON HOUSE (1908), 304 Plant Avenue, the finest Second Empire mansion in Tampa, home of a former City Councilman. It is now a law firm office.
Due to one way streets, TURN RIGHT ON PLATT STREET and then RIGHT ON BAYSHORE BOULEVARD. STAY IN THE RIGHT LANE despite the temptation to look at Tampa General Hospital and Davis Islands.
TURN RIGHT ONTO MAGNOLIA STREET, where one block north by Bay, was the site of the CARLOS DUDLEY HOUSE(1905), 52l Bay Street, a two-story Colonial Revival with a big bay window. On the opposite corner is the ISBON B. GIDDENS HOUSE (1910), 607 Magnolia Street, a good Prairie style house of an early City Councilman.
TURN LEFT ON DELEON, go two blocks, and TURN RIGHT ON FOUR LANE SOUTH BOULEVARD, past:
JOHN GORRIE SCHOOL (1899), 502 South Boulevard, the oldest continuously used Tampa elementary school, and finely restored by its proud alumni. An old street car shed served as a bus shelter.
TURN RIGHT ON HORATIO and stop by the last structure on the left, the: FRIDAY MORNING MUSICALE (1926), 701 Horatio Street, the one story Mediterranean community center still in use for plays and shows. I remember going to my daughter’s piano concerts in this fine auditorium.
The Friday Morning Musicale
Before turning RIGHT ON BREVARD STREET, notice the house across the street on your left: the DOYLE CARLTON (1920), 617 Horatio Street, the modest frame house from which Tampa City Attorney Carlton left in 1929 to become Governor of Florida. Next door are the CARLTON APARTMENTS.
TRAVEL TWO BLOCKS DOWN BREVARD and TURN RIGHT ON BAY, then LEFT ON SOUTH, and finally LEFT ON SWANN AVENUE.
At 705 Swann Avenue is the TAMPA REALISTIC ART CENTER (1899), once the city’s first hot lunch center (at Gorrie School) and later the Hyde Park Branch Library. Up the street at 611 SWANN AVENUE (1923) is a good example of the bungalow houses that constitute much of the Lower Hyde Park area.
TURN RIGHT ON BREVARD where the second house on the right is the
PAT WHITAKER HOUSE (1914), 727 Brevard Avenue, a blend of Gothic and Spanish complete with an octagonal tower on the waterfront side. TURN RIGHT ON busy BAYSHORE, driving slowly past the big mansions. Just past South Boulevard is the (18) WATSON DORCHESTER HOUSE (1912), 901 Bayshore Boulevard, a two story Spanish masonry home of a Tampa doctor and realtor.
Next door is the ISAAC MAAS HOUSE (1924), 907 Bayshore Boulevard, the decorative residence of one of the two German Jewish brothers who started Florida’s largest department chain. My uncle Victor Kiralfy, a traveling salesman before he started a Georgia department chain, was always invited to meals in this estate.
You may want to continue another six miles down “mansion row” but please TURN RIGHT ON DELAWARE, the second street, right in front of the: FRANK BENTLEY HOUSE (1924), 1005 Bayshore Boulevard, a Georgian masonry estate owned by the President of Bentley-Grey Dry Goods. It is a six bedroom, four bath, 5,491 square foot house. The first house on the left is the: HOWARD MACFARLANE HOUSE (1923), 903 Delaware Street, a clapboard home for the son of the founder of West Tampa, Hugh MacFarlane. Notice the brick house while you note on your right at the end of the block, the: LEO WEISS HOUSE (1929), 902 Delaware Street, the finest English Tudor estate in Tampa, designed by Christopher Robinson.
The Morrison House Is The Oldest
CROSS MORRISON and proceed to the last home on the left, the: WILLIAM HIMES HOUSE (1911), 801 Delaware Street, a three story nine bedroom, seven bath, 10,571 square foot Greek Revival mansion of a noted lawyer.
TRAVEL TO SWANN AVENUE and pause to notice the historic markers and the facade of the l9l3 WOODROW WILSON JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, Tampa’s oldest middle school. TURN LEFT ON SWANN and then LEFT ON NEWPORT, a street lacking Delaware’s trees, but full of great houses.
The second house on the left is the: M. LEO ELLIOTT HOUSE (1928), 710 Newport Street, a rather plain Dutch-Colonial for the famous architect responsible for such West Coast landmarks as Tampa City Hall and Sarasota High.
Two houses down on the left is one of Elliott’s best houses, the: HENRY LEIMAN HOUSE (1926), 716 Newport Street, a wonderful Prairie Style residence. The two story frame-stucco U-shape house of cigar box magnate Leiman requires a look from several angles.
CONTINUE PAST INMAN to the last house on the right, the:) OWEN LOWTHER HOUSE (1912), 845 Newport Street, the detailed edifice of Tampa’s largest naval store owner. It has a full basement.
At 850 Newport Street is the district’s oldest house, the 1885 WILLIAM A. MORRISON HOUSE, a remodeled Italinatehomestead which was once surrounded only by orange groves. The foundation blocks are homemade and reinforced by trolley rails. State Attorney General Thomas Watson once resided here.
At 901 Newport Street is the GRENVILLE HENDERSON HOUSE (1910), the Colonial Revival residence of a realtor and Florida State Senator.
TURN LEFT ON MORRISON and stop at Willow to notice on your left the: ANGEL CUESTA JR. HOUSE (1921), residence of the Treasurer of Cuesta Rey Cigars. Across the street on your right is the: HARRY J. WATROUS HOUSE (1911), 1301 Morrison Street, a large clapboard with five fireplaces created by M. Leo Elliott.
BUNGALOW TERRACE (1916), Rome and Inman at Swann Avenue, is a unique mini-subdivision of nineteen California bungalows set up for winter residents. The houses, mostly “airplane style bungalows” face each other across a sidewalk, with rear alleyways serving as off-street parking. They are just one block from Old Hyde Park Village, the area’s upscale Victorian style shopping district.
At Oregon at Swann, Hyde Park’s shopping and restaurant development, Hyde Park Village and nearby South Howard (SOHO) have become an area of restaurants, assured of being a popular, convenient place for people who like urban living in the stable, beautiful neighborhoods of Hyde Park.