Temple Terrace, Florida - History - The Mediterranean Revival Golf Course Community

The Mediterranean Revival Golf Course Community

Mrs. Potter-Palmer’s vision for her property was that it be developed into a golf course community surrounded by extensive citrus groves, but her death in 1918 prevented her from fully realizing that vision. At her death, the trustee of her estate and brother, Adrian Honoré, sold her local land holdings to Burks Hamner,

Vance Helm, Maud Fowler, Cody Fowler, and D. Collins Gillett, who formed two development corporations—Temple Terrace Estates, Inc., which developed the golf course and residential areas; and Temple Terraces, Inc., which developed 5,000 acres (20 km2) of orange groves that originally surrounded the city to the west and north, the largest orange grove in the world in the 1920s. (Adrian Honoré retained a seat on the board.) D. Collins Gillett oversaw Temple Terraces, Inc. and owned the first and largest citrus nursery in Florida, Buckeye Nurseries of Tampa. His father, Myron E. Gillett, thirty-first mayor of Tampa, was instrumental in popularizing the exotic hybrid Temple orange in the US.

The 1920 Vision for the community was that wealthy retired Northerners would purchase one of the lots in Temple Terrace, build a Mediterranean Revival villa on the lot and also purchase a parcel in the extensive adjoining citrus grove to either manage as a hobby or provide extra income. Temple Terrace was originally only occupied during "The Season" (which lasted roughly from December to the annual Washington Ball held at the clubhouse on February 22). The rest of the year the houses were cared for by caretakers until The Season came again and the homeowners returned.

In 1924, part of the 5,000-acre (20 km2) area platted as the Temple Orange grove and called Temple Terraces, Inc. was developed into the present day neighborhood of Temple Crest, immediately adjacent to Temple Terrace and to its west, hugging the Hillsborough River. The land occupied by nearby Busch Gardens was also part of Mrs. Palmer's original 19,000-acre (77 km2) ranch.

In 1925 and 1926, the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club (which is still in existence) hosted the Florida Open (in 1925 billed as the "Greatest Field of Golfers ever to Play in Florida"). "Long" Jim Barnes was resident professional of the course at the time (James Kelly Thomson was the course's first pro), and every major golfer of the day competed in the event except for Bobby Jones. Leo Diegel won the tournament. Jim Barnes' friend Fred McLeod is also associated with the early days of the course. The golf-course architect was Tom Bendelow, who also designed Medinah Country Club's Course #3 in Chicago, a 7,508-yard (7,385 m) golf course which has hosted three U.S. Opens (1949, 1975, 1990) and two PGA Championships (1999, 2006). The golf course of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club is virtually unchanged since its design by Bendelow and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It measures 6,414 yards with a par of 72.

Temple Terrace is one of the first planned golf-course communities in the United States (1920). The town plan was created by town planner and landscape architect George F. Young, who also created the plan for nearby Davis Islands (Tampa) and McClelland Park (Sarasota), among others. The architecture was designed in the Mediterranean-Revival style by two different architects at two different time periods. The first phase was in 1921 by noted Tampa architect M. Leo Elliott (Centro Asturiano de Tampa and Old Tampa City Hall) who designed the initial houses and the public buildings. In 1926 renowned New York architect Dwight James Baum (architect of John Ringling's Ca' d' Zan, the Hotel El Verona in Sarasota, and the West Side YMCA in New York City) also designed residences in Temple Terrace.

There are fifteen houses and buildings designed by Elliott remaining in the city, the largest collection of his work anywhere. In addition, there are over 35 houses in the city designed by architect Dwight James Baum, which is thought to be the largest collection of his work in the Southeast.

Temple Terrace struggled through the 1930s like the rest of Florida. Building activity began to pick up again after World War II. There is now a fine collection of mid-century modern homes and buildings, at least two of which were designed by well-known architect Frank Albert DePasquale.

Read more about this topic:  Temple Terrace, Florida, History

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