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Old December 25th, 2007, 07:14 PM   #1
FloridaFuture
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10 places that make Tampa......Tampa

http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/ma...-only-in-tampa



Bayshore Boulevard

The nation’s longest continuous sidewalk
is a gathering place for fitness buffs
and strollers.

Sacred Heart Church
518 N. Marion St.

The church has hosted countless
teen dances and played a role
in the city’s history since Jesuits
helped treat yellow fever victims.

Skipper's Smokehouse
910 Skipper Road

The word eclectic doesn’t do it justice.

Tampa Theatre
711 N. Franklin St.

The distinct landmark is part of
the city’s cultural history.

Mel's Hot Dogs
4136 E. Busch Blvd.

This landmark near Busch Gardens
is preparing for new owners.


http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/ma...-only-in-tampa


Plant Hall, University of Tampa
401 W. Kennedy Blvd.

The historical building is attached
to the very origins of the city.

West Tampa Sandwich Shop
3904 N. Armenia Ave.

This restaurant serves Cuban coffee
and toast -- and plenty of opinion.

Sulphur Springs
Close to 8100 N. Nebraska Ave.

The former swimming hole
is now too polluted to use,
but the landmark tower still stands.

Fort Homer Hesterly Armory
522 N. Howard Ave.

The former stage for Elvis,
Gordon Solie and JFK
is about to become
something entirely different.

Four Green Fields
205 W. Platt St.

The thatched-roof edifice
somehow passes fire code
and just might be the last bar
in America without a television.

http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/ma...-only-in-tampa
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Old December 25th, 2007, 07:16 PM   #2
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1. Bayshore Blvd.

Bayshore Still 'A Special Place'

Tribune photo by JULIE BUSCH
Pelicans are framed by the wall along Bayshore Boulevard. The city has moved forward with designating Bayshore a scenic corridor.
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By MICHAEL H. SAMUELS, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 18, 2007

Interactive Map Of Tampa Landmarks

For more than a century Bayshore Boulevard has been Tampa's showcase, its jewel, touted as having one of the world's longest uninterrupted sidewalks.

It's where the who's who of this city live, run, play and parade.

Visitors and residents marvel at the waterfront views, the exquisite homes and all those walkers, joggers, bikers and in-line skaters using the sidewalk night and day, rain or shine.

"It's beautiful," first-grade teacher Jaclyn Dotson said before starting a regular afternoon run. "A beautiful view. And everyone is here for the same thing."

At the Colonnade restaurant, a Bayshore landmark since 1935, the hottest ticket in town is still a window seat.

"Everybody wants to sit by the window," co-owner Dick Whiteside said. "I wouldn't trade our location for anybody's. To me, it's the best location in Tampa."

With its iconic balustrade hugging the water and plantation-style homes set back from Hillsborough Bay, Bayshore was the vision of two native Tennesseans, Col. Alfred Reuben Swann and his business partner, Eugene Holtsinger.

Swann used to winter in Tampa and settled at Bayshore and Gunby Avenue.

"He truly saw the roadway around the shoreline," said his great-granddaughter Mary Brown, who lives a block off Bayshore. "He had the vision to keep that in mind for the public."

By the end of the 19th century, Bayshore had a streetcar line and its first mansion. But it wasn't until the early 1900s that Swann and Holtsinger built the first subdivision, Suburb Beautiful.

Within a few years, Bayshore had become a two-lane brick road, stretching 3.1 miles.

The shoreline remained mainly unchanged until 1921, when a hurricane destroyed most of the road and sea wall. Repairs weren't completed until 1938.

"The way it was then is still pretty much the way it is now," said Brown, who wrote the book "The Bayshore: Boulevard of Dreams" in 1995. "It still has that magnificent view."

It was that vista that mesmerized the young Marilyn Mancuso in the late 1950s. Living in Ybor City, it was a treat for her and her family to look at the bay and the houses.

"On Sundays, when we did not have any place to go, we would drive down Bayshore," she said. "It was like we went somewhere on vacation."

Now she calls it home. Nine years ago, she married Gus Weekley, who lives in the house his mother built on Bayshore in 1924.

The house, which the couple have tried to preserve as closely as possible to its roots, was a farm of sorts for the young Gus Weekley. There were ducks, geese and vegetables, he said.

Weekley would set up a stand outside his house and sell lemonade, mangoes, avocados and citrus.

"I have a lot of nostalgia relating to Bayshore, but I don't live in the past," he said.

Instead, he's concerned about speeding cars, drunks trying to get past his gate during Bayshore's annual Gasparilla parade and high-rises being built.

Bayshore's first condominium was the Harbour House at Howard Avenue, built in 1964. Many more have risen, and residents of single-family homes fear their street will become another Miami Beach.

The city has sought to counter development and traffic concerns.

After a jogger was killed by a motorcycle while trying to cross Bayshore in 2004, Mayor Pam Iorio created a safety task force, leading to the installation of a traffic light at Howard and a southbound sidewalk.

Southbound bicycle lanes are proposed, and the city erected decorative signs proclaiming Bayshore a linear park.

The "Guinness Book of Records" does not list sidewalk lengths, although the city claims Bayshore has one of the longest. The 3.1 miles of uninterrupted sidewalk stretch from Gandy Boulevard to the Davis Islands Bridge.

This month, the city moved forward with designating Bayshore a scenic corridor and regional attractor, paving the way for development guidelines to limit building heights.

The Weekleys and other residents remain vigilant.

"I feel like I am a guardian," Marilyn Weekley said. "I feel like this is something I enjoy and it's something I am in debt to.

"It's always been a special place," she said. "You're looking at something so beautiful, so different."

Researcher Melanie Coon contributed to this report. Reporter Michael H. Samuels can be reached at (813) 835-2109 or msamuels@tampatrib.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec...ms/?news-metro
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Old December 25th, 2007, 07:34 PM   #3
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2. Plant Hall

A Shining Beacon

By ADAM EMERSON, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 19, 2007

Interactive Map Of Tampa Landmarks

Since 1933, the University of Tampa has been caretaker of what has become an iconic image on postcards and coffee mugs.

The Moorish-style minarets of Plant Hall have poked through the downtown skyline for more than a century - ever since a railroad magnate had a vision of luxury in what was once a sleepy, swampy town.

What most people don't know, however, is that the university can't knock down so much as a wall without first consulting several groups that have a vested interest in preserving the architectural imaginings of Henry B. Plant.

So a private university that has doubled in growth in the past decade spends about $2 million annually to help keep its central office building looking as it did at the turn of the 20th century, when it was known as the Tampa Bay Hotel.

Not that the school is complaining. Even though UT gets little in monetary value out of Plant Hall - it gets about $38,000 a year to rent out the ballroom and other spaces for weddings and parties - the university has adopted the minarets as its brand.

When prospective students or potential donors receive a letter from the university, the first image they see is that of the onion-shaped silver domes emblazoned on the letterhead.

"As many campuses I've been on, I'm not sure I can recall any building more unique," said Dan Gura, the university's vice president of development.

City leaders share that belief and infuse it into their political affairs. Mayor Pam Iorio's plan for a new downtown art museum calls for demolishing the current museum building next year for a park with an unobstructed view of the minarets across the Hillsborough River.

In the past, some city council members fought the university's attempts to expand upward. In 2001, construction of what is today the nine-story Vaughn Center angered Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena, who said the new boxy building sullied the view of the minarets at sunset.

Gura said recently of his university's custodial role, "If you're going to be the steward, that would bring with it some unique challenges."

Debt And Disrepair

Those challenges started as soon as UT moved in.

The grand days of the old Tampa Bay Hotel drew celebrities such as Babe Ruth to its opulent rooms and headquartered the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War in 1898. It was never a financial success, however.

After Plant died in 1899, the city of Tampa acquired the hotel, which continued operating until 1930. By 1933, when UT had moved in, it had fallen into disrepair.

The university's first president, Frederic Spaulding, paid only $1 a year then to lease the space for his growing school. But he dumped money into renovating the building and put his fledgling school deep into debt.

By 1935, Spaulding owed local merchants $10,000. He resigned that year.

The building's appearance worsened for 24 more years. Its salvation turned about by the industry of former UT President David Delo and his wife, Sunny, who was experienced in furniture refinishing.

Sunny Delo began chipping away at the gray paint that covered fireplace tiles. Faculty helped restore furniture. The Delos, however, soon realized they needed help, and Sunny recruited other leading women in the city to form a club for the cleanup project.

They called themselves The Chiselers.

The Chiselers Inc. today boasts 200 active members and sponsors an annual flea market that raises about $200,000 every year for the restoration of Plant Hall. The group has raised more than $3.25 million since Sunny Delo founded it nearly 50 years ago.

"It is an extremely valuable piece of property," said Pauline Crumpton, a member of The Chiselers and a former president of the group. "The building itself is an art piece."

Change And Preservation

The university must consult with The Chiselers if it wants to make changes to that art piece to accommodate its administrative offices and classrooms. It also checks with the H.B. Plant Museum Society, the Tampa Historical Society, the Tampa Bay Hotel Advisory Council and the Preservation Roundtable, among other charitable groups.

And the university isn't the only resident of the historic hall. In another wing, the Henry B. Plant Museum showcases original artwork and furniture found in the days of the old hotel.

The museum draws 50,000 people every year, including about 15,000 during its annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, the museum's primary fundraiser that continues through Sunday.

Although its mission is different from the university, the museum's leaders say its vision is the same: To give visitors a sense of a different time when they stare up at its minarets and inside at its elegance.

The city's efforts to open up the vista of its landscape will only draw more visitors, said Sally Shifke, the museum's relations director.

Just the sight of the building "is one of the biggest reasons people come," Shifke said.

Reporter Adam Emerson can be reached at (813) 259-8285 or aemerson@tampatrib.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec...hining-beacon/
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Old December 26th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #4
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3. Fort Homer Hesterly Armory

West Tampa Armory Has Rich Past, Undecided Future


Tribune photo by JULIE BUSCH
In its heyday, the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory was the place where the public came to see icons such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
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By JOSE PATINO GIRONA, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 26, 2007

Today it sits vacant, awaiting the promise of a new life, possibly as home to a hotel, shops and cafes.

In its heyday, though, it served both as military installation and the center of the city's entertainment scene.

The Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, with its art deco design, is celebrated for its practicality, endurance and versatility.

Since it was dedicated Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor, it has been home to the Florida National Guard. It is also where the public got to see famous musicians, boxers, wrestlers and national heroes, including Elvis Presley, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy.

"You got to remember that is all the city had along with the social clubs," said city Councilman Charlie Miranda, whose West Tampa district includes the 10-acre armory property, 522 N. Howard Ave. "That was the only large hall available. That was the daddy of them all."

Tampa resident Ann Porter was there on the night of Nov. 19, 1961, when King spoke to a packed house. Porter walked to the armory from her Highland Avenue home with two girlfriends.

She also attended armory socials and dances, including the Bellman Waiters Ball, where women and men wore their best. She went to wrestling matches with her father.

"This is where you met all your friends and associates," said Porter, 70, a retired Hillsborough County administrator. "You would see people who you hadn't seen in years."

Clark Gunn joined the National Guard in January 1947 as a way to make some extra cash. He earned $40 a month while studying business administration at the University of Tampa.

He later got an administrative position at the armory and lived in an apartment on the property with his wife and children from 1951 to 1956. The rent was about $35 a month.

Gunn also was an usher at armory functions, including a Nat King Cole concert and Presley's performance on July 31, 1955. He would eat dinner with his family and then walk across the property to work a show.

A Place To Share War Stories

The armory was a place for servicemen to bond, said Gunn, chief executive officer of Gunn Printing and Lithography in Tampa. World War II veterans who remained active in the Guard returned to the armory to share their war stories.

"It was an important part of my life," said Gunn, 79, of Homosassa. "That is when I started trying to become a man."

The armory site used to be a public park. In 1922, the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County donated the land to the Florida National Guard.

Construction of the armory began in 1938 and was completed in 1941. The federal government, under the Work Projects Administration, contributed $361,880.

The armory was named for Col. Homer W. Hesterly, commanding officer of the 116th Field Artillery Battalion from 1934 to 1954 and an active voice in getting it built.

Now a local historic landmark, the armory building has been home or headquarters to the 116th Field Artillery Regiment and the 51st Infantry Division, among others. It was the headquarters of the 53rd Infantry Brigade from the late 1960s to 2004, when the brigade moved to Pinellas Park.

Stationed on the armory property today are Company B Maintenance of the 53rd Support Battalion Army National Guard and full-time staff of the Forward Maintenance Shop. Both units repair vehicles, generators, electronics and other equipment.

$93 Million Development Deal

In July, the National Guard signed a contract with developer Heritage Square at the Armory, which plans an estimated $93 million project that includes a hotel, farmers market, restaurants, cafes and a museum.

The armory building, with its concrete blocks "covered by smooth stucco," must remain intact, and the developer must move the remaining Guard staff to a new location.

A rezoning hearing before the Tampa City Council is set for Jan. 10. The council also must decide whether to relinquish a reverter clause that would return most of the property to the city if it isn't used for government or military purposes.

When Tom Feagin joined the Guard in 1950, Korea was a hot topic.

Guardsmen trained for three hours every week, along with some weekends. They once marched from the armory to Rocky Point.

"We had a no-nonsense general and he expected his officers and men to be no-nonsense as well," said Feagin, 77, of San Antonio.

The armory "was a gathering place for the training of our citizen soldier," he said. "Second, it offered the community a place to gather for entertainment events.

"It was one of the first of the major entertainment vehicles."

Researcher Diane Grey contributed to this report. Reporter Jose Patino Girona can be reached at (813) 835-2110 or jpatino @tampatrib.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec...verse-history/
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Old December 26th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #5
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I was hopeful New World Brewery would make the list.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 06:16 PM   #6
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What, no Dale Mabry between Columbus & 275? LOL




Like it or hate it, these two institutions are pretty indicative/iconic of Tampa as well.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 06:49 PM   #7
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I immediately thought that. And they picked 'Skipper's Smokehouse' over the Columbia in Ybor?
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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #8
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4. Sacred Heart Church

In The Heart Of The City


Tribune photo by JULIE BUSCH
As downtown’s housing market has picked up, Sacred Heart’s attendance has, too. The church serves about 1,500 families.
Related Links

Landmarks: Only In Tampa
Panorama Inside Sacred heart-
http://tour.tbo.com/tour/stops/sacredheartchurch.htm

By ELLEN GEDALIUS, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 25, 2007

Downtown Tampa is on the cusp of a building boom, with high-rise condos coming out of the ground, retail shops in the planning stages and museums on the drawing board.

Yet in a city often criticized for neglecting its historic structures, Sacred Heart Catholic Church stands as tall today as it did more than 100 years ago.

It's a building known for its stunning architecture and awe-inspiring stained-glass windows.

And it's a church known for offering a sanctuary of refuge from a hectic world.

"When things happen, from a policeman being shot to the end of World War II to the Kennedy assassination to 9/11, people are drawn here," said Elaine Carbonneau, church historian. "It's because of its size and magnificence, as well as its location.

"It's a magnet."

Sacred Heart Catholic Church is the oldest Catholic church in Tampa.

More than 90 weddings are held there annually, with brides posing for pictures on the front steps of the church as their limos wait on Florida Avenue. Funerals, too, are particularly emotional in a church so tied to Tampa.

"It's an important place," said Rodney Kite-Powell, history curator for the Tampa Bay History Center. "It's one of the most significant landmarks we still have in downtown Tampa."

The Jesuits ran the church until a couple of years ago, when the transition was made to the Franciscan order.

As the church looks to its future, including the celebration of the sesquicentennial of Sacred Heart Parish, its past is always in mind.

Generations Have Worshipped

In the early 1850s, Hillsborough County commissioners deeded property at Ashley Drive and Twiggs Street for a Catholic church. The property later was exchanged for land at Florida Avenue and Twiggs. A church was built there and dedicated in 1859. The parish was established a year later.

It was called Saint Louis Church, in honor of French King Louis IX and in honor of the Rev. Luis Cancer, a Dominican priest who came to Florida's west coast to convert the Indians.

By the 1890s, Henry Plant had brought the railroad to Tampa and the area was booming. The Rev. William Tyrrell decided Saint Louis Church was too small to adequately serve the growing city. In 1897, he announced plans to build a new church.

A groundbreaking was held Feb. 16, 1898, the day after the battleship Maine was blown up, starting the Spanish-American War. The Jesuits built the church - at a cost of $300,000 - and named it Sacred Heart.

Today the building looks strikingly similar to the original, which opened in 1905. The Romanesque architecture remains. The exterior is a combination of granite and white marble. Inside, most of the design is just as it was a century ago.

The stained-glass windows were designed for the church and manufactured by a German company. They depict scenes from the life of Christ and some saints: Jesus saving Peter from drowning, the death of St. Joseph, St. Patrick preaching in Ireland, Jesus giving Peter the keys to the kingdom.

Over the years, the church has had about 30 pastors and spawned new institutions. What is now Jesuit High School on Himes Avenue started at Sacred Heart. So did the Academy of the Holy Names, now on Bayshore Boulevard. Sacred Heart Academy was established as the parish school in 1931 and is a few miles north of the church, on Florida Avenue.

Longtime Sacred Heart parishioner Sandra Polo, a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, finds herself contemplating biblical stories while gazing at the windows during services.

"Beauty opens you up to the love of God, and it's a beautiful place," Polo said. "The old Renaissance windows tell the story."

Polo took her first communion at Sacred Heart when she was 6. Her family regularly attended Mass, a tradition she continues today. All four of her children were baptized at the church, and two of her children were married there.

"It's like my second home," Polo said. "Both of the orders have given to us great spiritual guidance."

Carbonneau, too, notes that some have been attending services for decades at Sacred Heart.

"There are families that are now going back four or five generations that may not belong to the parish, but their roots are here," Carbonneau said.

Congregation Is Growing

In the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, the church was affected by the exodus to the suburbs. Sacred Heart, once a focal point in a residential downtown, was no longer surrounded by many homes. As the church's population declined, the church cut the number of Masses each week.

Today, as the residential market rebounds downtown, 30 new families join the parish a month, Father Andrew Reitz said. The church and its three pastors serve about 1,500 families. More Masses may soon be added.

"We keep growing," Reitz said. "As Tampa gets more families, a lot of them end up here."

Parking is a growing problem. Northern Trust Bank and the Grandoff Building allow churchgoers to park free during weekend Masses. The church also rents a lot across the street on weekends.

But more spaces are needed, and the church is hoping the Diocese of St. Petersburg can buy a parking lot for Sacred Heart. The cost is easily $4 million, Reitz said.

The church serves a variety of people. Take a recent Tuesday afternoon, for example. During a lunchtime Mass, several dozen people sat in the pews: retirees, young professionals, a postal worker, downtown workers, city employees.

The Mass starts at 12:10 p.m. and ends well before 1, giving downtown professionals a chance to grab a sandwich on the way back to the office.

The downtown location also attracts plenty of conventioneers.

"It's in the heart of downtown Tampa," Reitz said. "The name Sacred Heart is a fitting name for it. People can be nourished, find some time for solitude and celebrate Mass with us."

Looking ahead, the church has its challenges.

Officials are trying to figure out how to best help the homeless. About 18 months ago, about 10 homeless men started sleeping on the church's front steps. Church officials didn't mind: The men were well-behaved and cleaned up after themselves.

But the crowd swelled to about 70 at times, and the cursing, trash and fights became too much. Several weeks ago, the church asked the homeless to leave.

The church also continues to try to find ways to get more people involved in its outreach programs.

In the past 15 years or so, the church has undergone a few renovations. The Moeller pipe organ was restored in 1991. The church completed a major, multimillion-dollar restoration project a few years ago.

More changes are coming.

Church officials want to light the rose window in front of the church at night. Now, Reitz said, no one truly appreciates the beauty of that stained-glass window because no one can see it.

The church also is planning a restoration program in 2009. The work is scheduled for completion in 2010, just in time for the church to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Sacred Heart Parish.

Information from "Reflections: Celebrating the Centennial of Sacred Heart Church" and Tribune archives was used in this report. Reporter Ellen Gedalius can be reached at (813) 259-7679 or egedalius@tampatrib.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec...t-of-the-city/
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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #9
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5. Tampa Theatre

Still Star-Struck At 80


The 1,450-seat theater built more than 80 years ago is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
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By KURT LOFT, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 22, 2007

TAMPA - Our city has its share of movie houses, concert halls and auditoriums, but it covets one above all, a magical place where history drifts like a ghost and a starlit sky twinkles above our heads.

The Tampa Theatre is more than a landmark. It is part of the city's body and being, a breathing remnant of the past that refuses to fade or lose its luster. For in this lavishly appointed palace, time moves in all directions, and visitors slip enchanted into another era.

Tampa rightly takes pride in its prize in the heart of downtown, a 1,450-seat theater built more than 80 years ago and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Nothing like it exists here, a mixed-breed of Italian Renaissance, Byzantine, Mediterranean, Spanish, Greek Revival and English Tudor. Gleaming marble floors and palazzo tile add touches of regal weight.

Defending the premises are mythological figures standing in alcoves around the proscenium, and exotic beasts, gargoyles and birds hide among darkened nooks and crannies. On any given night the Mighty Wurlitzer organ - a staple during the age of silent film - pops up through the center of the stage.

Designed by architect John Eberson and built for $1.2 million, the theater was Tampa's first "air-cooled" building when it opened on Oct. 15, 1926, featuring the silent film "Ace of Cads" for 25 cents. Today, the theater offers more than 700 films and other events each year in an ideal marriage of form and function.

"What's important is the programming the theater does," says Art Keeble, director of the Arts Council of Tampa-Hillsborough County. "You can see great movies and concerts, get married there, go to wine tastings. And while you go for the event, once you walk in you're struck by the beauty of the place. It's the heart of the cultural district."

That heart nearly was ripped out by indifference and neglect. By the 1960s, more and more people were leaving Tampa proper for the suburbs, and soon new malls and multiplexes stole business from downtown.

With lost revenue, the historic theater fell into decay, leaving little budget for sufficient maintenance. Termites and rust replaced Gable and Garbo, and a final act loomed: the wrecking ball.

The mere suggestion that anyone would raze the place sends tingles down the back of Randi Whiddon, president of the Tampa Theatre Restoration Society and an architect with Urban Studios.

"People have taken down some amazing buildings that are part of our history, but this is a real Tampa icon," she says. "It's full of unbelievable detail and workmanship. There are only a handful of theaters out there with this kind of feel."

Florida State Theaters, which owned the building at the time, bailed out by selling it for $1 to the city of Tampa. Local politicians, in particular City Councilman Lee Duncan, realized the potential of the theater and worked on a preservation plan with the arts council.

In 1977, the theater reopened as a quasi-nonprofit film and special events center, and the next year was named to the National Register of Historic Places. It was declared a Tampa landmark in 1988. A fundraising effort in the 1990s injected $1.5 million in much-needed restoration work.

Today, the theater is regarded as one of the country's best preserved examples of grand movie palace architecture, and each year more than 135,000 people attend its classic film series, concerts and social events.

To accommodate the crowds and preserve the theater's charm, management keeps restoration on the front burner. Nobody seems to mind.

"The day-to-day care and love takes a lot of work and money," says Tara Schroeder, a theater spokeswoman. "But I'm privileged to work here. I feel like we're stewards of a community treasure."

Reporter Kurt Loft can be reached at (813) 259-7570 or kloft@tampatrib.com.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec...?entertainment

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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #10
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My top 10, in no order:

1. Plant Hall
2. Sacred Heart
3. Columbia
4. Bayshore Blvd.
5. Cigar Factories (West Tampa/Ybor)
6. Tampa Theatre
7. Bern's
8. Sulphur Springs
9. Mons Venus/Odyssey
10. Busch Gardens

Honorable Mentions:

Social Clubs (Spanish, Italian, etc.)
Malio's (though, of course not the original anymore)
Hillsborough High School
Mel's
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Old December 26th, 2007, 10:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert.Maddrey View Post
What, no Dale Mabry between Columbus & 275? LOL




Like it or hate it, these two institutions are pretty indicative/iconic of Tampa as well.
Lol especially the Oddesy one!
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Old December 27th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #12
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Florida Future, I'm with you! How could the Trib leave out the Cigar factories! I'll have to agree w/ them on Skipper's though, it is definitely a unique place!

My top 10
1. Bayshore Blvd.
2. The Bay
3. Tampa Theater
4. Cigar Factories
5. Ybor
6. Strip clubs
7. The Castle
8. Chain Stores and restaurants on virtually every corner - many open 24 hrs.
9. Skippers
10. Gasparilla
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Old December 27th, 2007, 03:40 PM   #13
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What about Centro Espanol of West Tampa? Does that count?
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Old December 27th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #14
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It could, but they didn't.
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Old December 28th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #15
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6. Skipper's Smokehouse

Skipper's Shack Awes


Tribune photo by JULIE BUSCH
Skipper's Smokehouse patrons dance along to live music from Uncle John's Band.
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By GRETCHEN PARKER, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 28, 2007

TAMPA - Believe it or not, they wanted to franchise this.

Enterprising fans of Skipper's Smokehouse have made the pitch more than once. What a great idea, they proposed, to open a place just like this in Miami. Fort Myers. Palm Beach.

Just like this?

"You can't take this anywhere," co-owner Tom White would try to explain. He raises his hands in an understated gesture toward what looks like a heap -- with a tin roof -- around him.

This place is pure Tampa detritus.

If there was a collision of old wooden boat hulls, a giant tiki roof made of thatched palm fronds and carnival tent plastic, some old boards from when they tore down part of Busch Gardens in the 1970s and a stage built around the flatbed of a trailer - and it landed under a canopy of hundred-year-old oak trees - this is what it would look like.

At the heart of it is the dark, dusty bar that feels like it's held together by bumper stickers and band fliers. The restaurant's gator trapper contributed an old moonshine still from his family farm in Dade City. It hangs from the high ceiling. A skinned gator peeps at it from nearby.

On Sundays, the bartender shucks oysters while watching the Bucs game and pouring Budweiser into plastic cups. Also part of the menu: gator tail, grouper and conch chowder.

The bar is built around what used to be the office for the trailer park that was here in the 1950s and '60s. Outside, rusted fans blow warm air over decades-old picnic tables and other Skipper's treasures, like a giant, wooden frame filled with a collage of photos.

The years are reflected in the long hair, guitars and a few squeezeboxes on the old stage.

Attempts to put anything in order, or even find one's way to the bathroom, are quickly abandoned.

General manager Bonnie O'Connor, who has been at Skipper's nearly 25 years, puts it this way: "This is not something built to look like a shack. It IS a shack."

The Hillsborough County Planning Department, kept busy by Skipper's most active expansions in the early 1980s, had a name for this place. The blob.

At dawn's light, planners would discover a new, unapproved appendage poking out of the old property.

The stage was allowed to stand only because it was made from a trailer bed that was still on wheels. Zoning authorities considered it temporary.

There are many stories about the early days, when co-owner Vince McGilvra and White and a third partner (Anders Bastman, who was bought out in 1988) made it up as they went along after they bought this place in 1980. Friends from serving in the Air Force in Alaska in the early 1970s, they wanted to buy a place they would feel comfortable hanging out in.

They traded construction help for beer and favors. When the oyster truck came, they asked the driver if they could climb on it to work on part of the stage they couldn't reach. They didn't have ladders. Turns out they were over a septic tank; the truck sank to its axle in mud.

They borrowed electricity from the vegetable market next door, after it closed at 6 p.m. The bands were running off a 100-foot extension cord that stretched across the parking lot. When they warmed up, heaters plugged in nearby would dim.

For years, offices were in the back end of an old box truck that hauled vegetables. It's still sitting out back, of course, rusted over with age and weather.

McGilvra likes keeping it back there. It reminds him of the time he sat in it with John Lee Hooker, one of the first national acts Skipper's booked, in 1987. Buddy Guy and Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen also came early on.

It was risky, booking those big gigs before Skipper's was a known name.

These days, its reputation as a live music venue is solid. The clutter and sand and dust and history all contribute to the ambiance, which feeds the performers here.

"Every time you walk in here, you feel good," says Mike Edwards, leader of Uncle John's Band, the Grateful Dead tribute band that has played here weekly for nearly a decade. "It's almost like a drug. The Skipper's buzz hits you."

He likes to watch from the stage as patrons walk in. Their faces relax, he said, as they walk in under the twinkling lights and take in the aura. To explain how laid back this place is, McGilvra points out they haven't had a bouncer here since 1985. They haven't needed one.

After all, he said, there's not a lot of attitude here.

Reporter Gretchen Parker can be reached at gparker@tampatrib

.com or (813) 259-7562.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/dec...shack-and-awe/
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Old December 28th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #16
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Now it makes sense... It's a shithole, just like Tampa... lol j/k
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #17
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^Well it is on Nebraska Ave. :P

But hey, I may have to try it now just for the novelty. It's the closest out of the 10 to where I am. It's at Skipper Rd. and Nebraska (couple blocks south of Bearss and Nebraska)
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Old December 29th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #18
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Skipper's definitely has a look and feel all to itself. As a kid I always thought of it to be a moderate incarnation of a gypsy shanty. All things considered, from what I understand they do have the best smoked mullet this side of Hernando county. As I don't eat seafood I can only go by what everyone else has said. I did it enjoy the days when Spec-R tuning was in the plaza directly adjacent to it. You could go over to skippers and grab some food and drinks while your car was dyno tuned.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 04:52 AM   #19
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Guys how could we forget about the junction!
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Old January 1st, 2008, 12:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert.Maddrey View Post
What, no Dale Mabry between Columbus & 275? LOL




Like it or hate it, these two institutions are pretty indicative/iconic of Tampa as well.
thats what I was thinking.

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