Recognizing Downtown Historic Homes
Among the sections of downtown where history is being demolished to make way for new condos & townhomes is 4th & 5th Avenues North., between Beach Dr. and 4th St., a corridor that has long served as a gateway to downtown. Within that corridor are a collection of architecturally significant homes, dating from the turn of the century up to the mid-1920's, an increasingly rare downtown resource. The area is also a part of the Downtown National Register Historic District, a designation that offers incentives to reuse historic buildings but does not protect them.
In June 2016, SPP filed landmark applications for four pre-1920 homes in the 100 bock of 5th Ave. N. Since the city's 2007 denial of a massive high rise hotel plan for these properties the owners and mortgage holders have left them in disrepair, largely forgotten but not without hope for reuse. On Feb. 16, 2017, City Council designated as a landmark the Burnside/Duckering home at 136 5th Ave. N. The 1914 home is an architecturally significant prairie styled structure and was first owned by Virginia Burnside and her husband. In 1920 she became the first women elected to the 'Burg's city council and the first female elected to a local commission south of the Mason Dixon line, at a time when women were still waiting for the 19th Amendment to be ratified that would give them the right to vote!
In November 2017, the historic Aiken home at 118 5th Ave. N. was demolished after being condemned by the city. Its loss serves as an example of demolition by neglect, where an owner is not interested in reusing nor maintaining the property and the city fails to ensure the property meets code standards.
The Burnside home joins the Palladium (1925 First Church of Christ Scientist) as a local landmark on 5th Ave. N. On 4th Ave. N., The 1926 Flori-de-Leon Apartments, the 1901Veillard home (262 4th Ave. N) and the 1910 Bay Gables (136 4th Ave. NE) are designated as local landmarks. The city has identified seven other buildings along the 4th & 5th Avenue North corridor as being eligible for local landmark designation.
The historic buildings along 4th & 5th Avenues North help to keep St. Petersburg special. A downtown filled with new development that turns its back on history looses its sense of place. The city should designate the 4th & 5th Avenue North corridor as a local landmark district!
You can encourage the city to designate the 4th/5th Avenue North corridor as a local historic district. Write your own personal letter and send to email@example.com or use the letter below. Thanks for doing your part! Ask your family and friends to do so too!
Keep St. Pete Special
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