Friday, July 03, 2009

Miscellany, for Surfing on a Rainy Day

10 Most Endangered Roadside Places, from Visual Ephemera

"Hav-A-Tampa Closes Its Factory" St. Petersburg Times, June 24, 2009

"Brunetti Jr., Soth, Testa to Hialeah Posts" Blood-Horse Magazine July 1, 2009 - Hialeah Race Track to open?

Busch Gardens' Hospitality House - 1963, from Electro's Spark

Vintage Busch Gardens, from Visual Ephemera, 1960s brochure for the amusement park

"These old houses keep turning heads" Tampa Tribune June 23, 2009 - Seminole Heights neighborhood in This Old House magazine

"Hit the bricks: a historical street-paving opportunity in Ybor City" Creative Loafing, June 14, 2009

"Tampa Bay World Records," from Sticks of Fire - World's Longest Golf Cart Parade

"The Tampa That Might Have Been," Creative Loafing, May 23, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hindu Temple of Tampa

In the future, will the Hindu Temple of Tampa be a historic landmark?

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) guidelines ask for buildings to be 50 years old before being considered significant. National Register Bulletin 15: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation states "Fity years is a general estimate of the time needed to develop historical perspective and to evaluate significance." OK, I can go along with waiting 50 years before nominating the Hindu Temple of Tampa to the National Register, but I think that as long as it's still standing then, it will make the list.

I say that even though religious properties have to meet additional considerations, considerations designed to avoid the appearance of an endorsement of religion by the federal government. To be considered eligible for the NRHP, a religious property may have outstanding architectural merit, or have cultural significance. The Hindu Temple of Tampa represents the growth of the Hindu community in Florida, following the track that other immigrant groups have experienced in the United States. As permanent populations of Hindu Indians grow in the Florida, and the U.S., the temple is a means by which children may be taught Hindu cultural and religious beliefs and traditions (A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism, by Prema A. Kurien, Rutgers University Press, 2007).

Architecturally, it is unique in Tampa. The earth-toned gopuram (the monumental tower at the temple's entrance) breaks above the tree line; the temple walls are covered with carvings and statuary. A team of ten men from India spent years working on these decorations.

The story of the temple's construction is told in an article from the October 24, 2003, St. Petersburg Times, "The Deities of Lynn Road." Difficulties included finding an appropriate site, and getting zoning permission for a building height of 70 feet.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Edward Heberton

Edward Heberton is buried in the Laurel Grove Cemetery in Waldo, Florida. His marker is a rather plain marble stone: "Rev. Edward P. Heberton of Philadelphia, Pa. Born Aug 13, 1830, Died Aug. 22, 1883." Why was it so important to mention that he was from Philadelphia, and how did he end up so far away from home?

From the Necrological Reports and Annual Proceedings of the Alumni Association of Princeton Theological Seminary (Google Books is really a handy research tool), we learn that Edward Payson Heberton was the son of a minister. he attended college in New Jersey, studying the law, before a 12-year career with the U.S. Coastal Survey and U.S. Navy. Heberton was ordained as a minister after the Civil War, in 1868, serving at churches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Duluth, Minnesota; Columbus, Ohio; and Deerfield, New Jersey. In 1882 he came to Florida as a missionary, became ill, and died in Waldo on August 20, 1883. He was 54 years old, and left behind a wife (Carrie) and five children.

What this biographical sketch doesn't tell us is what he thought of Florida, what it was like for his wife to follow him to a rural frontier. Who chose the tombstone, and why was it so important to mention that he was from Philadelphia?