|daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on one|
|March 1st, 2007, 09:54 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2005
Likes (Received): 0
Memories To Help Build Sulphur Springs Museum
Memories To Help Build Sulphur Springs Museum
By KATHY STEELE The Tampa Tribune
Published: Mar 1, 2007
SULPHUR SPRINGS - When Interstate 275 tore through the neighborhood, the blacks-only Dillard Elementary School and several houses were moved out.
"We had to relocate to Jackson Heights," Johnnie Barlow said.
That was in the 1970s and one of several times Barlow moved away from Sulphur Springs. She never stayed gone for long.
At 54, Barlow is proud to be a longtime resident. Her church, New Bethel AME, which she began attending at age 11, celebrated its 89th anniversary last weekend.
"Sulphur Springs is a pretty nice neighborhood," she said.
She doesn't worry about its reputation for crime and drug deals: "I'm not afraid to go to Bible study late at night."
Those kinds of memories and loyalties are helping create an oral history of Sulphur Springs and Spring Hill. Barlow and others met Saturday at George Bartholomew North Tampa Community Center to help preserve the past as part of the Spring Hill/Sulphur Springs History & Heritage Day.
The project is sponsored by the Sulphur Springs Museum, the University of South Florida Heritage Research Lab and the Sulphur Springs Action League Neighborhood Association.
USF students videotaped and recorded conversations and scheduled additional interviews. The goal is to preserve an oral history, with photographs and keepsakes, and eventually open a museum. Nine oral histories were recorded before last weekend. The goal is at least 30, said student volunteer Juan Ruiz.
Past And Future Linked
Finding out how the past leads to the future means looking at the good and the bad, he said.
Sulphur Springs, which has had its share of both, has always been home to the working poor. Boundaries separating blacks clustered in homes around Spring Hill Park from whites closer to the tourist side of Sulphur Springs defined the city's racial divide.
Norma Robinson of the Sulphur Springs Action League plans to ask the city for help finding a museum site. For a while, items were housed at an old storefront at the Harbor Club, once home to an all-white tourist club. Robinson said the museum lost its lease in December.
"We'd like to keep it in the neighborhood," she said. "We want to make people aware of what's here and bring them here."
As a child in the 1950s, Barlow saw Sulphur Springs' heyday as a tourist resort. Everyone knew where the racial lines were drawn.
"It didn't bother me," she said.
Blacks didn't swim at the spring-fed swimming pool off Nebraska Avenue, spend their money in the arcade shops or go to movies at the local theater.
Spring Hill Park, where Barlow's uncle was in charge, was the heart of the black community. Rain showers drove children to scrunch together under its lone shelter.
Earl Glymph, 74, lives on Yukon Street in a 43-year-old family home.
"We swam in Hillsborough River," he said. "Oddly enough, we used to get baptized in the river."
Blacks operated barbershops, auto repair shops and laundries from their homes, he said. He attended Florida A&M and when he graduated got a job as a janitor at the University of South Florida. He became a teacher, and when schools integrated in the 1970s he was sent to the predominantly white Pinecrest Elementary.
"That was one of the greatest experiences I ever had," he said.
Former resident Joel Barnum remembers the river in the 1960s for its clear water and plentiful mullet.
"You'd just scoop them up and put them in a basket," said Barnum, 55, a deacon at New St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church in Palm River, which traces its history to Sulphur Springs. "The river was so pure, so clean."
From Promises To Parking
Samuel Scoggins, 72, lives in the University Area but called Sulphur Springs home from 1935 to the 1950s. His father drove a taxi and was a janitor at the Sulphur Springs school.
"My mother and I worked at a skating rink near the Sulphur Springs pool," he said.
The arcade, with its many shops and jobs, was torn down in the mid-1970s.
"To me, it was the downfall," Scoggins said.
There were promises the property would be developed, he said, but it's now a parking lot for the Tampa Greyhound track.
"I take a ride through there every once in awhile," he said of his old neighborhood. "It's improving. It's got an awful way to go."
John Klay, 62, remembers music shows at the band shell next to the pool. The shell is now fenced off.
"People would get dressed up," Klay said.
His family lived in Seminole Heights and owned citrus groves north of Sulphur Springs. He would finish his chores and head to the springs with 20 cents.
It cost a dime to get into the pool, and a dime at an arcade shop got you a big hot dog and a root beer. There was a chute at the springs that swooshed into the river, and Klay said he and friends would ride the chute at the end of the day and swim home in the river.
To slake their thirst, he said, they would "dive into the pool to the bottom where the water bubbled up and take a fresh gulp."
For information about the heritage project, contact USF assistant anthropology Professor Antoinette Jackson at (813) 974-6882 or ajackson @cas.usf.edu or Norma Robinson at (813) 932-9288 or norma@sulphursprings museum.org.
Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 835-2103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.