Tampa Heights Historical TrailTampa Heights Historical Trail


1....Print this file.

2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.

3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-addressed stamped envolope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.

4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).

WARNING - This trail may pass through one or more neighborhoods which, although full of history, may now be unsafe for individuals on foot, or which may make you feel unsafe there. Hikers have been approached by individuals who have asked for handouts or who have inquired (not always in a friendly manner) why the hikers are in their neighborhood. Drugs and other inappropriate items have been found by hikers in some neighborhoods. It is suggested that you drive the hike routes first to see if you will feel comfortable walking them and, if you don't think it's a good place for you walk, you might want to consider (1) traveling with a large group, (2) doing the route on bicycles, or (3) choosing another hike route. The degree of comfort will vary with the individual and with the time and season of the hike, so you need to make the determination using your best judgment. If you hike the trail, you accept all risks involved.

Tampa Heights Historical Trail

Copyright 2008 by Steve Rajtar

(From Interstate 4 (exit 5) or Interstate 275, drive west on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. (SR 574 f/k/a Buffalo Dr.) and south on Central Ave. to the west side of Robles Park. Park in the lot on Avon Ave. across from 26th Ave.)(0.0 miles so far)

East side of Avon Ave., across from 26th Ave. (3305 Avon Ave.)

1....Robles Park

This park was known as Adams Park until 1931, when it was renamed Robles Park for Joseph Robles, a pioneer who had his homestead here.

Robles was born in Spain and jumped ship in 1832 in St. Marys, Georgia, relocating in Florida where he took part in the Seminole Wars. He married Mary Ann Garrison and they homesteaded land on the west coast of Florida in the 1840s, then moved here in 1850. They grew oranges, avocado pears and chestnuts and manufactured salt at Rocky Point along Old Tampa Bay.
When he was approached in 1864 by thirty Union soldiers in boats, he hid either inside or beside a salt kettle or trees until the soldier came ashore. Helped by a shotgun, he shouted orders orders to other armed men, who he pretended were hiding nearby and convinced the soldiers to surrender. Robles marched them to the Orange Grove Hotel where he turned them over to Confederate officials. Joseph Robles died at age 89 in 1907.

(Walk south on Avon Ave., east on Adalee St., and south on Central Ave. to the intersection with Columbus Dr.)(0.6)

Northwest corner of Central Ave. and Columbus Dr. (2708 Central Ave.)

2....St. James House of Prayer

When black cigar workers from Key West (and from Cuba before that) were not allowed to worship in the white St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, they gathered in each others' homes for services by 1891. That year, they built their first sanctuary on India Street and Rev. Matthew McDuffie served as their first priest. In 1892, the congregation started an educational academy, later known as the St. James Parish School. In 1922, the congregation built this sanctuary designed by Louis A. Fort. It is constructed of rubble stone dredged from the nearby Hillsborough River and donated by Harry P. Kennedy. St. James Episcopal Church in 1996 merged with the House of Prayer to form the St. James House of Prayer Episcopal Church. This building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

(Walk east on Columbus Ave. to the intersection with Grove St.)(0.6)

Southeast corner of Columbus Dr. and Grove St. (509 E. Columbus Dr.)

3....St. Paul Pentecostal Church of God.

El Bethel Primitive Baptist Church was founded in 1899, and in 1921 had this brick sanctuary built. Later, El Bethel moved to 6611 15th Street and this became the home of St. Paul's.

(Walk south on Grove St. to the intersection with Amelia Ave.)(0.7)

Southwest corner of Amelia Ave. and Grove St. (509 E. Amelia Ave.)

4....Hall House

This is a variation on the Late Victorian style, having an "L" shape with a clapboard exterior and pitched roofs. Built in about 1909, it was first owned by postman Wilbur L. Hall.

(Continue south on Grove St. to the intersection with Ross Ave.)(0.8)

Northeast corner of Ross Ave. and Grove St. (504 E. Ross Ave.)

5....The Sanctuary

This church building was erected in 1947 for the Tampa Heights Methodist Church, after its previous building burned down. Beginning in 1969, it was the Tyler Temple United Methodist Church. After that congregation moved out, it was turned into The Sanctuary, a complex of urban loft apartments and offices.

(Cross Ross Ave., walk south 50 feet and look west across Central Ave.)(0.9)

West side of Central Ave., between Ross and Palm Aves. (2008 N. Central Ave.)

6....Moorhouse House.

This single-story house was built in 1904 with a Greek Revival appearance. Its first occupant was Charles H. Moorhouse of the Williams and Moorhouse grocery store.

(Continue south 35 feet on Central Ave.)(0.9)

East side of Central Ave., between Ross and Palm Aves. (2007 N. Central Ave.)

7....Lalane House

This one-story wood clapboard home was built with a rectangular box design in 1902 for solicitor Paul B. Lalane.

(Continue south 90 feet on Central Ave.)(1.0)

East side of Central Ave., between Ross and Palm Aves. (2003 N. Central Ave.)

8....Nutt House

This rectilinear design two-story frame house with clapboard siding was built during the late 1890s. In 1899, it was occupied by J.N. Nutt.

(Continue south on Central Ave., then walk west 100 feet on Palm Ave.)(1.0)

South side of Palm Ave., between Central Ave. and Jefferson St. (407 E. Palm Ave.)

9....McLeran House

When this house was built in the late 1890s, it was the easternmost home on Palm Ave. It belonged to Nevin M. McLeran, a bookkeeper for the C.B. Witt Grocery.

(Continue west 60 feet on Palm Ave.)(1.0)

South side of Palm Ave., between Central Ave. and Jefferson St. (405 E. Palm Ave.)

10....Barnard House

News dealer Calvin B. Barnard had this Victorian style home built in 1906 with hipped and gabled roofs. Later owners included the Spenuso family.

(Continue west on Palm Ave. to the intersection with Jefferson St. and cross to the northeast corner.)(1.1)

Northeast corner of Palm Ave. and Jefferson St. (400 E. Palm Ave.)

11....Arguelles House

This Neo-Classical style home with a compact rectangular plan was built in 1905-06. It was first owned by cigar manufacturer Facundo P. Arguelles of the firm of Arguelles, Lopez and Brother, whose factory was at the corner of 21st St. and 15th Ave. Later owners included the Massari family.

(Walk east on Palm Ave. to the intersection with Lamar St.)(1.2)

Northeast corner of Palm Ave. and Lamar St. (602 E. Palm Ave.)

12....Former Tampa Heights Presbyterian Church

This church was organized on May 7, 1905, by 47 members of the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tampa, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. John G. Anderson. The Sunday school was established by Henry C. Giddens and Sidney Lenfesty.

The first sanctuary was built here for $7,300 in 1908 while Rev. James F. Winnard was the pastor, and the present two-story brick church was completed in March of 1923. In 1964, the building was sold to the Faith Temple Baptist Church.

(Walk west on Palm Ave. and south on Central Ave. to the intersection with Oak Ave.)(1.4)

Northeast corner of Central and Oak Aves. (1901 Central Ave.)

13....Schaarei Zedek Temple

The Schaarai Zedek congregation was formed on December 10, 1894, and was first located in downtown Tampa. In the late 1890s, it moved to 1209 Florida Ave. and was led by Abe Maas, M.H. Cohen and R. Bucksbaum.

The Liberal Jewish congregation moved into this temple in 1918. In the mid-1920s, the congregation moved to the northeast corner of Delaware and Deleon Aves., and this facility was used by the Hebrew Free School. The congregation later relocated to 3303 Swann Ave., and the Christian Fellowship moved into this building. Later, it became the home of Friendly Missionary Baptist Church.

(Walk west on Oak Ave. and south on Jefferson St. to the intersection with 7th Ave.)(1.6)

Northwest corner of 7th Ave. and Jefferson St. (312 E. 7th Ave.)

14....Guerra House

This house is built in a "T" shape with Queen Anne and Neo-Classical elements. It was built during the mid-1890s for Vicente Guerra, vice president and general manager of the Cuban-American Manufacturing Company.

(Walk west on 7th Ave. to the intersection with Morgan St.)(1.7)

Southeast corner of 7th Ave. and Morgan St. (301 7th Ave.)

15....Site of St. Elizabeth Hospital

This was the Tampa Heights Hospital run by Dr. J.C. Dyer until 1934, when it was purchased by the Sisters of Third Order Regular of St. Frances. The 40-bed facility was expanded to 215 beds by 1959. Wings were added in 1950 and 1955.

(Walk north on Morgan St. and east 175 feet on Palm Ave.)(1.8)

South side of Palm Ave., between Morgan and Jefferson Sts. (309 E. Palm Ave.)

16....Site of Rodolph Sholom Synagogue

An Orthodox Jewish congregation moved into a two-story masonry Mediterranean style temple here in 1925. It had a triple-arched entryway and a one-half sunken first floor. The members had been part of the Schaari Zedek congregation, but a split over religious policies resulted in the formation of a new one headed by Rabbi Adolph Burger. Later, the synagogue moved to 2713 Bayshore Blvd.

(Walk west on Palm Ave. 100 feet past Morgan St. and look north across the street.)(1.9)

North side of Palm Ave., between Morgan St. and Florida Ave. (212 E. Palm Ave.)

17....Stovall House

This was the home of Wallace F. Stovall, founder and president of the Tribune Publishing Company and editor of the Tampa Morning Tribune. It was built in the mid-1890s and was the Stovall home until 1909, when they moved to 4621 Bayshore Blvd. This house was then converted into a duplex.

(Continue west on Palm Ave. to the intersection with Florida Ave.)(1.9)

Southeast corner of Palm and Florida Aves. (1909 N. Florida Ave.)

18....Palm Avenue Baptist Church

This church was founded in 1900 by a group of First Baptist Church members who lived in the Heights. Its first minister was Rev. C.N. Nash. The three-story church building was erected in four stages from 1901 to 1912, with the oldest portion on the northeast near Palm Ave. The back auditorium was completed in 1912 and the educational front section was rebuilt and remodeled in 1957.

(Walk north on Florida Ave. to 1910 Florida Ave.)(1.9)

West side of Florida Ave., between Palm and Ross Aves. (1910 N. Florida Ave.)

19....Fire Station No. 5

The first fire station on this site was built during the 1890s. In 1925, another was built as a reproduction of the prior design. Its five second-story windows, end windows and arches are identical to the original. The two fire engines here were responsible for the area from 7th Ave. to Buffalo Ave. and from the Hillsborough River to Nebraska Ave.

(Walk south on Florida Ave. to the intersection with Oak Ave.)(2.0)

Northeast corner of Florida Ave. and Oak Aves. (1805 N. Florida Ave.)

20....Palm Avenue Baptist Church

This congregation formed in 1900 and erected this building in four stages from 1901 to 1912. The back auditorium was completed in 1912 and the educational front section was rebuilt and remodled in 1957. Prior to the erection of the church, Dr. Hiram J. Hampton owned and operated the Tampa Heights Sanitarium at this location. It was regarded as one of the most extensive hospitals of its type in Florida. His letterhead advertised him as a physician and surgeon for whom chronic diseases were a specialty. He claimed to cure rupture and piles and "positively cure" cancer. His office was on the electric trolley line, or he could be reached at telephone number 90.

(Continue south on Florida Ave., then walk west on Henderson St. and south on Franklin St. to 1621 Franklin.)(2.1)

East side of Franklin St., between Henderson and Estelle Sts. (1621 N. Franklin St.)

21....Rialto Theater.

This building was constructed of brick in 1926, based on the design of F.J. Kennard and Son. It served the performing arts until the 1940s with 375 seats, and later became an auto repair shop. After 2000, it was considered for use once again as a professional theater, since the proscenium, fly house and balcony were still in existence in the empty structure.

(Walk north on Franklin St. and west on 7th Ave. to 102 E. 7th Ave.)(2.2)

North side of 7th Ave., between Franklin and Tampa Sts. (102 E. 7th Ave.)

22....Carnegie Library Building.

Built in 1915-17 with a design by Fred J. James, this served as the city's main library until 1968. It is a T-plan masonry building faced with brown and yellow brick atop a rusticated granite basement, topped by a barrel tile roof. Also known as the Old Tampa Free Public Library and the Exceptional Children Education Center, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. It now serves as the home of Tampa's Business and Community Services Department.

(Continue west on 7th Ave., then walk north on Highland Ave. and west on Palm Ave. to 209 Palm Ave.)(2.3)

South sice of Palm Ave., between Highland and Ola Aves. (209 W. Palm Ave.)

23....Gardner House.

This home was built in 1924 for Isaac Gardner Sr., who came to Tampa in 1905. Businesses he owned included the Royal Palm Lounge, the Palace Drug Store and the Georgette Hotel. He was a co-founder of the Central Industrial Insurance Company, now known as Central Life Insurance. The two-story wood-frame Colonial Revival-style home was designed by R.B. Gambier. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

(Walk east on Palm Ave. and north on Highland Ave. to the intersection with Ross Ave.)(2.4)

Northwest corner of Highland and Ross Aves. (2202 N. Highland Ave.)

24....Site of Levick House

The first house in the area was built on this lot in the 1890s with a Queen Anne style with shiplap siding and corner boards. It was built and occupied by prominent contractor Henry Levick, who also built the Modella Cigar Factory, the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Port Tampa, and the Florida Brewing Company factory. Levick had moved to the U.S. from England in 1881 and moved to Tampa in the 1890s.

The home was on the National Register of Historic Places until a demolition permit was issued on November 8, 1974.

(Continue north on Highland Ave., then walk west on Park Ave. to 212 Park Ave.)(2.4)

North side of Park Ave., between Highland and Ola Aves. (212 W. Park Ave.)

25....Hunter House.

William Hunter was born in Illinois in 1857, studied law in Tennessee and came to Florida to practice law in 1882. After ten years near Dunedin, he moved to Tampa and partnered with E.R. Gunby and served as Tampa's city attorney. From 1902 to 1914, he was a bankruptcy referee and he also served as the president of The Florida Bar and the local bar association. William and his wife, Dora, lived in this house with their four children. Next door at 2207 Ola Ave., the built a duplex. At 2205 Ola Ave., they also built a house for their children.

(Walk east on Park Ave. and north on Highland Ave. to 2330 Highland Ave.)(2.5)

West side of Highland Ave., between Park Ave. and Frances St. (2330 Highland Ave.)

26....Park Villa.

When this two-story Mediterranean Revival-style structure was built in 1925, it was known as the Park Villa and included nine apartments and three businesses. Since the streetcar looped around the park, the businesses in the Park Villa offered services and goods to streetcar commuters. Originally, the businesses were a confectionery, a textile shop and the Community Gift and Needlework shop. Later, the occupants of the Park Villa included barbers, grocery stores, dressmakers, drugstores and, in the 1930s and 1940s, the Mayfair Beauty Salon. A much later commercial tenant was the Serralles Real Estate Group.

(Continue north on Highland Ave., then walk east on Frances St. and south on Tampa St. to the intersection with Ross Ave.)(2.6)

Northwest corner of Tampa St. and Ross Ave. (2202 N. Tampa St.)

27....Henry W. Brewster Vocational School

This school was founded in 1925, the year it moved into a new facility at this location. The land was donated by Florence Brewster after the death of her husband, Dr. Henry W. Brewster. It was known as the Opportunity School because it focused on career and vocational training. The three-story building, constructed by Carl R. Couch, Franklin Q. Adams and J.M. Hamilton, was completed on August 4, 1925. Today, Brewster provides adult secondary programs, programs for adults with disabilities, business and industrial technology and consumer science, medical/health science and English for speakers of other languages.

(Walk north on Tampa St. and east on Frances St. to the intersection with Florida Ave.)(2.8)

Northeast corner of Florida Ave. and Frances St. (2201 N. Florida Ave.)

28....First Congregational Church

This congregation organized on October 28, 1885, at the home of Caroline A. Pettingell, and was led by Franklin M. Sprague. A white frame church at 1104 Florida Ave. preceded this one. This sanctuary was dedicated in 1906 to Obadiah H. Platt, an early Tampa pioneer. At the time, it was surrounded by orange grove.

The church was active in the community and organized the Cuban Congregational Church and the Union Congregational Church, both in West Tampa. After a decline in membership, the church relocated in 1956. The building was later used by the Polish-American Democratic Club. It was later severely damaged by fire.

(Walk north on Florida Ave. and west on Columbus Dr. to 105 W. Columbus Dr.)(2.9)

North side of Columbus Dr., between Highland Ave. and Tampa St. (105 W. Columbus Dr.)

29....Turner House

This two-story house built in 1911 shows elements of both Late Victorian and Neo-Colonial styles. It was the residence of Arthur F. Turner, who served as president of Triumph Mills in downtown Tampa, and later as the general secretary of the YMCA. The house was substantially altered when it was converted to a duplex.

(Continue west on Columbus Dr. to the intersection with Highland Ave.)(3.0)

Northwest corner of Columbus Dr. and Highland Ave. (201 W. Columbus Dr.)

30....Clarke House

Built during the late 1890s, this was the home of grocer James D. Clarke who owned a store at 1101 Florida Ave. It had a Victorian style with a frame-covered driveway.

In 1936, it was converted to a commercial structure, the filling station of Theodore R. Koestline. Later, it was the home of Don's Auto Service.

(Look across Columbus Dr. to the south.)(3.0)

Southwest corner of Columbus Dr. and Highland Ave. (202 W. Columbus Dr.)

31....Pippen House

This home with a Queen Anne facade was built by 1903 with a wraparound veranda and a hipped roof. It was the home of Charles R. and Ida Pippen, who lived in it from its construction until 1958. Mr. Pippen was involved in real estate and owned the C.R. Pippen Dry Goods store located at 916 N. Franklin St.

(Walk north on Highland Ave. to 2704 Highland Ave.)(3.1)

West side of Highland Ave., between Euclid Ave. and Gladys St. (2704 Highland Ave.)

32....D.W. Waters Career Center.

This three-story masonry block building replaced a previous building, which had been constructed as the first high school building in Hillsborough County. The 1911 replacement cost $60,000. The first section was designed by William Potter and M. Leo Elliott designed the 1920 addition. The building was the home to Hillsborough High School and later to Jefferson High School, and now is used for vocational and technical aducation programs. To make the conversion, it was necessary to replace about 80% of the interior of the 90,000 square foot building. Students served by the facility attend eight different Tampa high schools.

(Walk south on Highland Ave., west on Euclid Ave., south on Ola Ave., and west on Columbus Dr. to 315 W. Columbus Dr.)(3.2)

North side of Columbus Dr., between Ola and Massachusetts Aves. (315 W. Columbus Dr.)

33....Villa Madonna School.

In 1936, this school was established by the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco to educate the young girls (and later, the boys) of working-class families of Tampa. Two years later, prominent Tampa Heights resident Alicia Neve willed her home to be used for the school. The large modern campus presently serves over 500 students, many from inner-city neighborhoods.

(Continue west on Columbus Dr., then walk north on Massachusetts Ave. to 2915 Massachusetts Ave.)(3.4)

West side of Massachusetts Ave., between Plaza Pl. and West St. (2915 Massachusetts Ave.)

34....Graham Elementary School.

This school was built on 4.5 acres during 1922 and was named for Benjamin C. Graham, a principal and county school superintendent.

(Continue north on Massachusetts Ave., then walk east on West St. and north on Ola Ave. to the intersection with Plymouth St.)(3.7)

Block bounded by Plymouth St., Ola Ave., Indiana Ave. and North Blvd. (3412 Ola Ave.)

35....Woodlawn Cemetery

This was the second major cemetery created in Tampa, with a plat filed on November 30, 1895. It had picturesque vistas and meandering paths, consistent with the late nineteenth century development of rural cemeteries. Adjoining it to the south was Potter's Field and on the east by the Schaarai Zedek Cemetery. The cemetery includes sections for Union (24 graves) and Confederate (31 graves) veterans and two large Italian sculptures atop crypts for Dr. Hiram J. Hampton and his wife, Emma. Because of a dispute he had with city officials, Dr. Hampton had the seated sculptures erected with their faces turned away from downtown Tampa.

(Walk east on Plymouth St. and north on Florida Ave. to the intersection with 26th Ave.)(3.9)

Northwest corner of Florida and 26th Aves. (3302 N. Florida Ave.)

36....Old Tampa Children's Home.

In 1887, Carrie Hammerly moved to Tampa and five years later began caring for abandoned and orphaned children. She purchased a home at 502 Washington St. for $3,000. In 1892, the Children's Home of Tampa was founded. This former location of the Tampa Children's Home was built in 1922. It currently takes care of children who lack permanent homes or families at 10909 Memorial Highway. Also known as the Good Samaritan Inn, this building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

(Walk east on 26th Ave. to Robles Park and the point of beginning.)(4.1)


Historic Overview of Tampa Heights, by M.C. Leonard (Hillsborough Community College 1978)

Tampa, by Karl H. Grismer (The St. Petersburg Printing Company 1950)

Tampa: A Pictorial History, by Hampton Dunn (The Donning Company 1985)

Tampa: A Town on Its Way, (Junior League of Tampa, Inc. 1971)

Tampa That Was ... History and Chronology Through 1946, by Evanell Klintworth Powell (Star Publishing Company, Inc. 1973)

Tampa: The Treasure City, by Gary R. Mormino and Anthony P. Pizzo (Continental Heritage Press, Inc. 1983)

Tampa: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, by Michael Bane and Mary Ellen More (Mishler and King Publishing 1981)

Wish You Were Here: A Grand Tour of Early Florida Via Old Post Cards, by Hampton Dunn (Byron Kennedy and Company 1981)

Yesterday's Tampa, by Hampton Dunn (E.A. Seemann Publishing, Inc. 1972)

Click here for a copy of the trail rules.