Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Biglow-Helms Mansion








I took these photos a few weeks ago when I was visiting Tampa, Florida. This beautiful old house is located on the corner of Bayshore and Gandy Boulevards. It was built by my great-grandfather, Silas Leland Biglow, in 1908. My grandfather (who was one of his sons) used to tell me and my sister many fascinating stories about growing up in this house. My great-grandfather came to Tampa in 1884 from Brooklyn, NY and became a successful merchant and real estate developer. He also was active in government, serving as president and one of the founders of the Tampa City Council. He was the first chief of the city's sanitation board and was also a member of the Ybor City Building and Loan Association. He died in the house in 1913 and later my great-grandmother sold it to Dr. John Sullivan Helms, a prominent surgeon at the time. Dr. Helms used the house as a residence until adding a wing in 1920 and opening it as Bayshore Hospital, a small private clinic serving residents of the Hyde Park and Bayside areas of Tampa. The hospital closed in 1927 and the house became the Helms' residence again. Dr. Helms died in 1932, but his widow lived there until her death in 1974. The house sat vacant for a number of years, but was later sold and has since been used by various businesses as office space. In the last photo you can see the original carriage house, which is located on the side of the house.

The second set of photos I am showing below are some old photographs I have that were taken by my grandfather when he was 13 years old and living in the house.

The front of the house as it looked in 1914. Notice in this photo that there are not as many steps leading up to the front porch as there are now. The house originally sat further back on the property and sometime after it was sold, the entire building was lifted up and moved forward to accommodate additional structures being built behind it. An additional floor was also built underneath the house and more steps were added so that the porch could still be reached from the front.

This interior shot shows the front hall as it looked when entering the house from the front porch. It also shows part of the staircase leading to the upper floor. This photo was taken on July 9, 1914.

A photo of my great-grandfather's library as it looked in 1914.

This photo shows my great-grandmother, Mattie Lucas Biglow, and two of her children riding in their automobile, which is decorated with palm fronds because they were participating in a parade in downtown Tampa.


Linking to Tuesday's Treasures.


24 comments:

Ginny Hartzler said...

These old pictures are priceless. Your great-grandfather was multi talented! The architecture is like a work of art! The steps are designed in such a majestic way. The porch and bay window are wonderful. Beautiful palm trees, too.

Lowell said...

This is a truly delightful post! I knew you had roots in Florida and the Tampa area but didn't realize how deep they were! And what a house that was (is). Love the steps...they provide for a grand entrance and are perfect for group photos. I've known churches to have such entrance steps but not residences. Your photos are wonderful as usual and I also enjoyed the older sepia photos. My dad was born in 1903 so he would have been about 10-11 years old when they were taken.

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Um belo edifício e com muita história.
Um abraço e boa semana.

Andarilhar
Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
O prazer dos livros

biebkriebels said...

Oh what great you have those old pictures of the house. Those steps looked very high to me, but they were not original.

Barbara Rogers said...

The original house looks well proportioned and quite stately. The newer version with all the steps seems a bit over-the-top...but probably was fitting. And it must have a great view of Hillsborough Bay! I'll be visiting Tampa soon and will have to go check it out! Thanks for the vintage photos especially!

Sandra said...

wow, what a nice piece of your family history, the old and the now. i love the old photos from the past and prefer the house your grandfather saw over the new bigger better one. i was glad to see there was ground floor entrance at the back since those steps blew my mind thinking how i would get in and out of the home. i enjoyed the history here and especially since i love 40 miles away from it. i have never been to tampa except to pass through on the interstate.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

moved and raised! wow

I'll pay more attention next time I drive by.

Sandi said...

Lovely!! So much history here.

Tom said...

...Lois, what an interesting piece of history. Locally I see buildings with those decorative blocks, they were popular back in the day. It's wonderful to see the vintage photographs. Thank so much for sharing, enjoy hour week.

Christine said...

How wonderful to see this beautiful building still thriving and to learn of your family's history with it, is just fascinating, Lois!

Sharon Anck said...

I love the history of a place and when it has a direct connection to the person relating the story it's even more special. What a gorgeous place and those historic photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing this bit of family history!

Betty Crow said...

Great pics of this beautiful mansion. I love that you included the old photos.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It's a beautiful old home Lois. Do you feel a connection to it seeing as your great grandad built it? What an interesting life it has had. A home built to last for generations.

Revrunner said...

Use of this house as a hospital made me think of the flu epidemic in 1918. I wonder if that played any part in converting it to that use.

William Kendall said...

That place was and is a jewel!

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent historical mansion and photos!

Happy Week to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Tanya Breese said...

wow lois, i loved this post so much! how neat to have this beautiful old home still around that you can go visit and show your grandchildren! i really enjoyed the old photos to...really neat lois!!

RedPat said...

That is a wonderful bit of family history, Lois! Definitely Treasures!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

What a magnificent record of history. You should be proud of your family.

God bless.

bill burke said...

What a wonderful post, Lois. A lovely story about your family's connection to the house that your great-grandfather built. The old photos taken by your grandfather are priceless. A fantastic family story and thank you for sharing it.

Adam said...

cool mansion

Kay said...

Wow! What great family history. I was mightily impressed by the house even before I read about your link to it. Your family photos are fabulous, too. What an interesting history. (My great grandfather's house was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco though he had died a few months prior. I always wonder how my great grandmother managed first the loss of her husband and then a few months later a massive earthquake and fire. My taciturn grandfather never talked about it.)

Linda said...

So many steps!!!

betty-NZ said...

What a fabulous place with an equally wonderful history.