Pinellas County’s eclectic array of architecture. . .
Now that I live in Pinellas county, with the help of Wikipedia, I decided to find out more about its interesting history. I have enjoyed selecting and painting a number of original portraits that depict this region and have also completed some commissioned house portraits. Most of the following pen and watercolor paintings are of historic homes but I have included a few mid-century or newer ones in order to show the interesting and eclectic mix of architectural styles that can be found here.
The Pinellas peninsula, like all of Tampa Bay, was inhabited by the Tocobaga Indians, prior to European exploration and settlement. They created their own town as well as a temple mound that overlooked the bay in an area which is now known as Safety Harbor. Today this is a quaint and artsy harbor city, with a main street vibe and a sense of community, as these portraits show.
Spanish explorers first started discovered and explored Florida in the early 16th century, including Tampa Bay. Sadly, by the early 18th century, the Tocobaga had virtually disappeared after falling victim to European diseases from which they had no immunity.
I learned that much of west central Florida, including the Pinellas peninsula (then known simply as West Hillsborough), was organized as Hillsborough County. Tampa Bay was a key part of this area.
Here are some of my portraits of homes and historic buildings in the City of Tampa.
The beginnings of the city of Clearwater date back to 1830 when the United States Army began construction of Fort Harrison, named after William Henry Harrison, and built as a rest post for soldiers during the Second Seminole War. This fort was built on a bluff overlooking Clear Water Harbor, which later became part of an early 20th-century residential development (now historic district) called Harbor Oaks.
Harbor Oaks happens to be one of my favorite areas of Clearwater. This home built in the early 1900’s on S. Druid was one of the first homes in the area.
Clearwater later become the first organized community on the peninsula as well as the site of its first post office. And just to the south of Clearwater is Belleair which has its own personality. This home is by no means the oldest in the area but I felt it had a uniqueness with its rich colors and so I decided to add it to my Pinellas County House Portrait series.
Further settlement of Pinellas was encouraged by The Armed Occupation Act, passed in 1842, Like all of Florida, 160 acres was offered to anyone who would bear arms and cultivate the land. Pioneer families like the Booths, the Coachmans, the Marstons, and the McMullens established homesteads in the area in the years following, planting citrus groves and raising cattle.
Tarpon Springs became West Hillsborough’s first incorporated city in 1887 and was famous for the sponge industry it spawned.
Here are a couple of homes in Tarpon Springs showing the comparison in both size and design between the old and the new.
Just before the turn of the century, another major town in Pinellas County was incorporated in 1899. This was the city of Dunedin.
Dunedin has some wonderful historic homes and a lively downtown. One of my favorite streets in the is Victorian Drive and this home is a classic.
Lining the many waterways and lagoons that have shaped Dunedin for over a century, I found this hidden gem. From the front it is a interesting medium sized Spanish bungalow, however the owner commissioned me to do a painting from the water side. One has no idea this view exists from the street.
I hope you have enjoyed my mini house portrait exhibition and tour of Pinellas County. This is by no means my full collection and I will shortly be taking a painting trip to St Petersburg to add to it further.