Spring Issue of TPI Newsletter

The Spring 2009 issue of the Tampa Preservation, Inc. newsletter, “Cornerstone” is now available online. Printed copies of the quarterly newsletter are mailed to all TPI members. Please check out the most recent newsletter along with past issues and consider joining TPI in its mission to promote and preserve Tampa Bay area historic resources.

TPI President’s Message

I know all of you are as tired as I am of hearing all the gloom and doom about the economy. It’s Spring, the weather is beautiful and we should be happy. Unfortunately, that was hard to do when I ventured to Tallahassee a few weeks ago for Heritage Month activities. The legislature was in full session and there was nothing but gloom and doom. There simply is not going to be enough money to go around to support the many needs of our state. As we spoke to various legislators, they were almost apologetic. They definitely understand the importance and value of preservation, but they simply could not find a way to choose preservation over health and welfare issues. They have to make some very tough decisions this year.

Once again, the 2009 budget will not provide any money for Special Category Grants. At this point in time, we are keeping our fingers crossed that a very minimal amount of funding will be budgeted for the small matching grant programs. This would be a blessing by keeping those line items in the budget. It will be much easier to achieve increased funding next year if they are existing line items, rather than starting from scratch.

I hate to sound so depressing – there were some positive events going on during the week. Secretary of State Kurt Browning spoke at the Legislative reception hosted by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and Florida Association of Museums. His message was positive and uplifting. He is a very strong support of what we do! Not only did he speak to us, he visited with everyone for almost two hours at the reception!

Did you know that Mel Tillis lived in Tampa as a child? I didn’t either until he was inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame during the Heritage Awards Ceremony. I have since learned that he attended Mitchell Elementary School for several years!

Well, despite the current economic situation, TPI will keep working to preserve and protect the heritage and historic resources of Tampa. As always, we appreciate your continued support of our efforts and welcome your involvement!

Submitted by Becky Clarke, TPI President

Historic Harlem Academy Marker Dedication

Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Historic Harlem Academy Alumni invite you to the Historic Harlem Academy Marker Dedication at 4 p.m. Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 506 E. Harrison St., Tampa, FL 33602. A reception will follow at the Raymond O. Shelton School Administrative Center located at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Please RSVP to Kristin Jernigan kjernigan@sdhc.us or 813-272-4055.

The historic Harlem Academy, known as “The Mother of African-American Schools,” was the first public school erected for African-American children in Tampa.

The first classes were held in 1868 in the Hillsborough County Courthouse. In the early 1870s, the Freedmen’s Bureau financed what became known as School No.2. In 1889, a new building was constructed at the comer of Harrison and Morgan Streets, and the school was officially designated as the Harlem Academy. The goal of Harlem Academy was to provide a quality education for its students, and to encourage them to learn within and outside the classroom and to continue on to higher education.

In 1892, Harlem Academy was destroyed in a fire. Thomas McKnight and other members of Tampa’s African-American community raised funds to rebuild the school. St. Paul AME and other churches provided space, until a new building was completed in 1895. This structure was replaced by a brick building in 1912. Many prominent African-American citizens were involved with the school. Christina A. Meacham and Andrew J. Ferrell, Jr., once principals of Harlem, had schools in Hillsborough County named in their honor.

The Harlem Academy closed in 1964, thus completing its ninety-six year contribution to the education of African-Americans in Tampa. Although the physical structure was later demolished, the heart of Harlem Academy lives on in the teachers, students and staff that graced its classrooms and halls.

Preservation Banner Awards Deadline


REMINDER: The Tampa Preservation Preservation Award application is February 29, 2009. For an application form and more information go to http://9ff.520.myftpupload.com/tampa_preservation,_inc_002.htm. Since 1982, Tampa Preservation, Inc. Has been recognizing significant contributions to the preservation of Tampa’s historic resources through our Annual Award Program. TPI invites members of the community to submit nominations for outstanding historic preservation projects, programs and achievements by individuals and organizations.

Tampa Preservation is on Facebook

Hoping to spread the positive word about how historic preservation efforts help the Tampa Bay community, TPI now has its own Fan Page on Facebook. Updates to this blog, as well as upcoming events and news are available on the Fan Page. As a fun side, TPI has also created a Gift Application for Facebook called Tampa Treats. Through this app you can send historic postcard images of Tampa Bay area landmarks to you friends for fun and a bit of nostalgia. If you enjoy social networking on Facebook, please become a Fan and join in the pro-preservation discussion!

TPI Website Updates

In an effort to provide easier access to information, we have made several improvements to the TPI website. First, check out the Links page which now has more, and hopefully better organized, links to preservation-related local, state and federal government sites as well as preservation non-profit organizations. We have also added useful links to sites offering historic photographs, maps, and restoration and renovation advice.

We have also added a new Resources page offering preservation books and magazines for sale through Amazon.com. We have selected some of our favorites, including Bungalow Kitchens, A Guide to Historic Tampa, and The Old House Journal Guide to Restoration along with subscriptions to American Bungalow and This Old House. Sales through the website link help generate revenue for TPI, so please consider making a purchase.