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Urban Neighborhoods: Tampa's Hyde Park

Metro Jacksonville takes a visit to Tampa's version of Jacksonville's Riverside/Avondale: Hyde Park

Published June 8, 2012 in Learning From      9 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Hyde Park History


Hyde Park Avenue in 1905.

Quote
The year 1886 forecast a new era in Tampa. Staggering under the blow of yellow fever epidemics which had closed everything from hotels to cigar factories, the City of Tampa received word that Henry Bradley Plant would spend a “million dollars or more” developing Port Tampa and would build a splendid resort, the Tampa Bay Hotel, on the western bank of the Hillsborough River. To support this development, the  city agreed to extend Lafayette Street (now Kennedy) a half-mile west of the river and build a bridge at that point. It was from Jesse J. Hayden, owner of the ferry across the river, and his daughter Mrs. Donald McKay that Plant bought the land for the Tampa Bay Hotel.

In 1888 the bridge was erected, Plant extended his railroad across the river, and the cornerstone of Tampa Bay Hotel was laid. When Plant sent out invitations to the grand opening ball in January 1891, one telegraphed reply read “Where is Tampa Bay” Plant wired his response “Follow the crowd.”

The construction of this bridge made the area west of the river accessible to Tampa and prompted the development of Hyde Park. The hotel construction project invigorated the economy of the city and further encouraged growth west of the river.

As early as 1829, Levi Coller had farmed the area and sold vegetables to the U.S. Army outpost at Fort Brooke in downtown Tampa. In 1838 this land passed to his daughters and their husbands, Jeanette and W. T. Haskins (who returned east of the river for lack of a bridge), and Nancy and Robert Jackson. In 1886 O.H. Platt of Hyde Park, Illinois purchased 20 acres from Jackson and named the area Hyde Park.

Citrus groves covered much of the area west of the river, until building in Tampa’s first suburb prevailed. James M. Watrous, who built his home at 1307 Morrison Avenue in 1882, and William A. Morrison who established a residence at 850 Newport Avenue by 1885 were early citrus growers. By 1910 all the large citrus groves had been subdivided encompassing nearly 100 acres south of Swann Avenue between Magnolia and Orleans Avenue.

Hyde Park is a combination of individual subdivisions developed in a conventional grid with the major street perpendicular to the Bayshore. In 1907, Swann and Holtsinger began filling the mud flats along the waterfront “and in 1914, Bayshore paved, but the concentration of building before 1915 did not face the Bay.

The main artery into the development of quarter acre lots was the 80 foot wide Hyde Park Avenue. Streetcar service along Swann and Rome existed as early as 1892, and along Bayshore by 1909, adding the accessibility of Hyde Park established by the bridge and the railroad.

Between 1913 and 1928, the area flourished. Large revival style residences continue to appear until the Florida building boom of 1924-26 ended abruptly, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929 engulfed not only Florida, but the entire nation in the Great Depression. After the Depression, construction in Hyde Park followed the national trend toward smaller homes. Although the post World War II growth trend in Tampa was to the west and northwest, the neighborhood remained relatively stable until the shift back to near-urban living and the emerging popularity of preservation in the 1970s and 1980s stimulated a new period of development in Hyde Park.


The University of Tampa (originaly the Tampa Bay Hotel)

In 1886, O. H. Platt laid out what is now Hyde Park next to the Tampa Bay Hotel (now the University of Tampa), a resort built along the Hillsborough River by Plant. The subdivision with tree-shaded streets and bungalows was a stroll away from Bayshore Boulevard and its sweeping vistas of Hillsborough Bay. It was home to many of Tampa's wealthiest and most influential business and civic leaders, including Alfred Swann.







Rome Avenue

Growth occurred rapidly and a street car line was put in on Swann Ave and Rome Ave. This is the reason for the wideness of the two streets, while most in the neighborhood are much narrower.


Swann Avenue




There are two public school located in Hyde Park. Gorrie Elementary School claims to be the oldest operating elementary school in the state of Florida. It was built in 1889 as Hyde Park Grammar School. As the student population grew and they moved into its present location on De Leon Street, it was determined necessary to construct an additional building. This led to the first indoor toilets in a Hillsborough County School ("Gorrie elementary school,"). In 1915, the name was changed to Dr. John B. Gorrie Elementary School who among other medical advances, invented the ice making machine. In 1977, in part to urban renewal and preservation, Gorrie Elementary was renovated and again in 1995 to accommodate technology retrofitting. Gorrie Elementary has consistent been a high achieving school and in years past “won the Golden School Award, the Five Star School Award for community involvement, and the Florida School Recognition Award for sustained and improved academic performance” ("Gorrie elementary school,"). It is also only one of a few public elementary schools to “receive a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 10 out of 10”.
http://www.ehydepark.org/images/designs/usf study hyde park 2009.pdf




Bayshore marks the eastern boundary of the neighborhood. The street is known for its scenic, gently curving greenway and views of the water and skyline. It holds the record as the world's longest sidewalk.


Bayshore during the 1920s.

















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9 Comments

Adam W

June 08, 2012, 03:21:57 AM
Nice article, Ennis.

I used to live in Hyde Park (right next to Gorrie Elementary, actually) and the pictures brought back some good memories. It was a really nice neighborhood to live in - one of the few in Tampa. Our apartment was very close to Hillsborough Bay and downtown.

It is a lot like Avondale.

acme54321

June 08, 2012, 07:07:41 AM
Nice article, looks a lot like Avondale but bigger.

In the 2nd paragraph I think the date 1988 should be 1888.

vicupstate

June 08, 2012, 07:48:44 AM
I wonder if the Jax Riverwalk was completed/extended all the way to Metropolitan Park, would it challenge Tampa for longest sidewalk?

thelakelander

June 08, 2012, 08:57:14 AM
No, extending the Riverwalk to Metropolitan Park would put it somewhere between 3 and 3.5 miles. The Bayshore sidewalk is 4.5 miles long and 10' wide.  Tampa is currently doing a lane diet going from 6 to 4 lanes to accommodate a bikeway to separate walkers and cyclist.

Quote
The road pavement suffers from disrepair, and the City of Tampa is worried that the boulevard will make a bad impression when the city receives a record amount of TV coverage in August 2012 for the Republican National Convention.

The city has allocated $1.5 million to upgrade the boulevard's balustrade, and to add the landscaped median and bicycle trails, but the roadway remains bumpy and in poor condition. The project has begun, causing some disruption to traffic. The bike trails in particularly will make it easier for walkers and joggers, as without them walkers, joggers and bicyclers jostled each other. Calming the road traffic along with the addition of space between the roadway and the trails helps those not in cars. The plans for the project, begun in March 2011, call for narrowing a busy part of the road from six lanes to four.

Calling the boulevard's pavement "a patchwork quilt of all different levels, colors and various grades," City Councilman Harry Cohen said, "I am frustrated that this city asset is not going to be able to put its best foot forward when the eyes of the world are upon us." But Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa felt that that the Bayshore projects under way will make a difference. "We will have our prom dress on, lipstick affixed, and we will be ready for the show," he said, adding, "We'll be like Cinderella at the dance."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayshore_Boulevard

DemocraticNole

June 08, 2012, 11:25:18 AM
Hyde Park is definitely a bigger version of Avondale. As someone who lived in Jacksonville prior to my 4 years here in Tampa, I would say that the biggest difference between the two areas is that Hyde Park is the desirable area for both the established rich people and young professionals. When I lived in Jacksonville, I don't remember too many of the young professionals trying to live in Avondale. Tampa also seems to have more people who are interested in revitalizing downtown and historic neighborhoods, although we are still woefully behind. Hyde Park could be a lot better and I would look to Winter Park as the example of the way to do things.

The freeway infrastructure in the entire metro area is piss poor. We are really paying for all of the freeway revolts in the 1970's. Freeways are not the answer to all transportation needs, but every metro area needs a certain amount of them to make the area easy to get around. The article says that the Selmon Exwy cut off much of the neighborhood from UT and Soho. That isn't entirely accurate. The CSX railroad tracks already separated most of the neighborhood from Soho. When the expressway was built, the railroad right of way was used. The expressway did not cut off any through streets south of Platt, as those were already cut off by the railroad. Only a small portion near UT was cut off. Even then, it is still very easy for pedestrians to cross under the expressway, unlike many urban expressways that were built and unlike I-275, which plowed through several historical neighborhoods.

tufsu1

June 08, 2012, 11:42:44 AM
I lived in the area from 2000-2006 prior to moving to Jacksonville.  I think that Riverside is starting to take on some of the young hipness that Hyde Park exudes.  Combined with Avondale, it is VERY comparable with the Hyde Park area in Tampa.

vicupstate

June 08, 2012, 11:59:47 AM
No, extending the Riverwalk to Metropolitan Park would put it somewhere between 3 and 3.5 miles. The Bayshore sidewalk is 4.5 miles long and 10' wide.  Tampa is currently doing a lane diet going from 6 to 4 lanes to accommodate a bikeway to separate walkers and cyclist.

Quote
The road pavement suffers from disrepair, and the City of Tampa is worried that the boulevard will make a bad impression when the city receives a record amount of TV coverage in August 2012 for the Republican National Convention.

The city has allocated $1.5 million to upgrade the boulevard's balustrade, and to add the landscaped median and bicycle trails, but the roadway remains bumpy and in poor condition. The project has begun, causing some disruption to traffic. The bike trails in particularly will make it easier for walkers and joggers, as without them walkers, joggers and bicyclers jostled each other. Calming the road traffic along with the addition of space between the roadway and the trails helps those not in cars. The plans for the project, begun in March 2011, call for narrowing a busy part of the road from six lanes to four.

Calling the boulevard's pavement "a patchwork quilt of all different levels, colors and various grades," City Councilman Harry Cohen said, "I am frustrated that this city asset is not going to be able to put its best foot forward when the eyes of the world are upon us." But Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa felt that that the Bayshore projects under way will make a difference. "We will have our prom dress on, lipstick affixed, and we will be ready for the show," he said, adding, "We'll be like Cinderella at the dance."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayshore_Boulevard

Thanks for the info.

Maybe the Riverwalk could be extended to Commodore Point and even to the Ford plant.  I know, too much to expect, but the potential is there.

The urban core of Tampa is pretty nice, including Hyde Park, but outside of that, the area leaves a lot to be desired visually.

Speaking of road diets, my street in Greenville  SC is nearly completed with it's '6 auto lanes into 4 auto-2 bike lanes'  conversion.  Greenville has done several road diets in the last few years, and a very transformational one in the '80's that set DT on it's trajectory to successful revitilization. 

There is definitely some 'road obesity' in this country.   

thelakelander

June 08, 2012, 12:07:17 PM
^Cool.  I'd love to see some images of the final road diet projects.

Keith-N-Jax

June 09, 2012, 03:37:09 PM
Thanks for the tour. I always visit this area when I visit Tampa. Very simliar to Riverside and Ortega.
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