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Among the oldest neighborhoods in Tampa, Beach Park is graced with 200 to 300 year old oaks, towering palms, and other indigenous flora. During the "boom" of the 1920's, some 30 large Mediterranean style homes were built for the "well to do." This provides a beautiful accompaniment to the new homes being built throughout the existing neighborhood. Its community spirit is deeply rooted in tradition and character.
Many people, both from the area and those moving to Tampa FL, might be interested in knowing a little more about Beach Park in South Tampa.
The excitement of growth reached a fevered pitch in the Tampa of 1923-25 when the jungles of the city's Interbay Peninsula began to attract the attention of developers. homebuilders, investors, and home buyers. The six mile Gandy Bridge was completed in November of 1924 and further fueled the Beach Park boom.
In December. 1924. the Tampa Sunday Times observed. ‘Beach Park, one of the most pretentious of all the subdivisions marks the entrance to the Interbay Peninsula. It is situated on Old Tampa Bay just off Memorial Highway. A little over a year ago this property was a wild tropical garden, impregnable and uninhabitable. Today it is a setting for winding streets. parkways, yacht basins and the most magnificent homes in Tampa. The Beach Park Company was the brainchild of a leading Tampa real estate firm. The Mabry Hall Company. They divided the 350 aces of Beach Park into four units, selling lots at $2,750 and "estate-size" parcels of up to $10,000. The firm made headlines in local papers for the record time in which the units were sold.
The concept for Beach Park as expressed by the developers in an interview in 1924 was that the subdivision would be the most beautiful, attractive, interesting residential suburb on the whole west central section of Florida. "The plans called for wide winding streets, landscaped parks and parkways. inland lakes, yacht basins, elaborate entrance gates and imported tropical plantings. Most important was the requirement that all homes built in Beach Park be examples of Mediterranean design. Franklin 0. Adams. the Beach Park Company architect and chairman of the board of art control called the style "Spanish Platteresque." It was the Florida builders boom time version of Italian Renaissance, Moorish, Spanish or a combination of all three characteristics of the homes built in conformity to the requirement with stucco exteriors, terra cotta roofs, interior and exterior archways and generous use of decorative tile. A practical reason for the concrete, brick and stucco construction was that The Park was located in the county area that had no fire protection!
Although the lots were costly by 1920's standards. the developers planned for a wide range of houses within Beach Park They wanted variety arid envisioned homes ranging from $6,000 to $100,000. The Beach Park Company used expensive state-of-the-art construction equipment to clear the land and carve out waterways. They promised to complete streets, sidewalks and parkways even if all lots were not sold to give the appearance of a well-populated neighborhood. No hoteIs or apartments would be allowed. Residents could keep up to ten chickens, but no roosters! And one horse per residence was permitted provided its stable did not offend any neighbors. The Beach Park Company provided a bus for transportation to the city. They hired watchmen who patrolled the area on horseback.
Today Beach park is a wonderful neighborhood, with winding low traffic streets and a large park (Swann Circle park) in the middle. The schools that serve Beach Park are Grady elementary, Coleman middle school, and Plant high school. Helpful info on Tampa Schools. On the West side some of the most beautiful waterfront streets are found. Prices range from the mid $400,000's up to several million on the water.
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