Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

A photograph of St. Petersburg's Christmas Tree going up in North Straub Park shortly after Thanksgiving this year, with the bay in the background:

Part of waterfront holiday decorations and celebrations that included a Glice skating rink.

Straub Park is named in honor of William L. Straub, the St. Petersburg Times editor who campaigned for public ownership of the waterfront. He endlessly promoted St. Petersburg and understood that an attractive waterfront would attract more tourists. Of the cities on the bay, with Tampa to the east, St. Petersburg to the west was the less industrial, the more reliant on tourist dollars. It was the "Sunshine City." In the 1910s and 1920s Straub pushed St. Petersburg's citizens and leaders to use urban planning and to invest public money in the environment to ensure the current and future prosperity of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.
Further reading:
St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream, 1888-1950, by Raymond Arsenault (University Press of Florida 1999)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Churches on Scott Street in Tampa

Once upon a time Scott Street was in the middle of Tampa's Central Avenue District, which was the core of the city's African American community. Today the brick street rumbles by mostly vacant, fenced lots, where the Central Park Village public housing stood from 1954 until 2007.

But, as blue as the sky, still stands the Paradise Missionary Baptist Church. Built in the early twentieth century as the Allen Temple A.M.E. Church, this church now also houses a museum dedicated to the community it served. Just a few doors further down the street is the red brick Ebenezer M.B. Church, which when built in 1922 served Tampa's first African-American Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.

Paradise Missionary Baptist Church, as it appears today:

1926 photograph of the Allen Temple AME Church (courtesy USF Libraries):

Ebenezer M.B. Church on Scott Street:

Further Reading:
Tampa's "Central Avenue Remembered" by James Tokley (video)
"Central Park Village Demolished," Tampa Tribune, July 31, 2007
"Plans for Perry Harvey Sr. Park in Tampa Go Nowhere," St. Petersburg Times, December 12, 2008
"Displacement and Deconcentration in Tampa" Anthropology News, Dec. 2008
A Guide to Historic Tampa, by Steve Ratjar (The History Press, 2007)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Congratulations and Best Wishes

Florida's governor Charlie Crist is getting married today at St. Petersburg's First United Methodist Church. He is the third governor of this state to marry while in office in the past 100 years.

In June 1949, Fuller Warren and Barbara Manning were married at a private home in Los Angeles.

In February 1967 Claude Kirk and Erika Mattfield were married at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach.

Best wishes and congratulations to the bride and groom!

(Photos from the Florida State Archives)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Story Corps Coming to Ybor City

NPR's Story Corps is coming to Ybor City to record oral histories with local residents.

"StoryCorps To Collect Interviews In Tampa" (Tampa Tribune, December 11, 2008)

Oral history projects have been completed in Ybor City before, beginning in the 1930s when the WPA recorded stories and life histories of cigar workers.

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942

American Bungalow in Seminole Heights

Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood was recently featured in American Bungalow magazine. Here is a link to the article: Seminole Heights.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Taft Richardson, Jr.

Folk artist Taft Richardson, Jr., known for his community service as well as his sculptures made from animal bones, passed away in Tampa earlier this week. Spirituality infused his work, which is well illustrated by this website by Folkvine.

Further reading:

"Taft Richardson Jr.: Bones spoke to artist " (St. Petersburg Times, December 3, 2008)

"Bones of invention" (by Jeff Klinkenberg, St. Petersburg Times, August 13, 2006)

From the library:

Extraordinary Interpretations: Florida's Self-Taught Artists (by Gary Monroe, University Press of Florida, 2003)

Just Above the Water: Florida Folk Art (by Kristin G. Congdon and Tina Bucuvalas, University Press of Mississippi, 2006)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Vacation Photos

Really, nothing to do with Florida, but here are some pictures from a recent trip to Chicago.

Calder's Flamingo reflected in Mies van der Rohe's Loop Station post office

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

The Rookery Building

Sears Tower

The house in LaGrange where David Hasselhoff lived when he was in high school

Monday, December 01, 2008

Places To Go, People To See

The Florida Humanities Council sponsors events statewide and year round presenting Florida culture and arts. For example, on December 4, Robert Wrigley and Campbell McGrath will be reading and discussing their work at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami.

For a calendar of events, go to the Florida Humanities Council's website.