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The History Of Temple Terrace Florida
My curiosity for the history of Tampa Bay leads me to my own backyard, Temple Terrace. What a beautiful place with rolling hills, (yes there are hills in Tampa), a great golf community and the developing plan for a new downtown. What I found gave me a new respect for the city.
Before Columbus there were several tribes of Indians who inhabited the Temple Terrace area with one called the Tocobaga Tribe. After the Europeans came to America the tribe began dyeing off from diseases brought to America that the Indians had no natural defenses for. Between that and the raids to claim land the Tocobaga Tribe only survived about 100 years after.
When the Spanish explorer Don Francisco Maria Celi came to Florida around 1757, he made his way up the Hillsborough River naming it, “el Rio de San Julian y Arriaga,” (the river of San Julian and Arriaga) He continued on to what is known now as the Riverhills Park looking for pine trees to use as masts for his ships. There he erected a cross to mark the location of his finds, and to this day a historical marker and a replica of the cross is still in Riverhills Park.
In 1911, the famous Potter Palmer family of Chicago (founder of the first mostly women’s clothing store with big display windows that later became Marshall Fields and Company) bought 6000 acres including the Temple Terrace area for a winter hunting preserve. When Mrs. Palmer died in 1918 the family sold the property to two development companies named Temple Terrace Estates, Inc. who developed the golf course with famed Scottish designer Tom Bendelow and Temple Terraces, Inc. who developed the 5000 acres of orange groves.
It was for these oranges that Temple Terrace got its name. They produced the then new hybrid orange called the, “Temple” that was a cross between mandarin oranges and the common sweet orange. Temple Terrace was the place that the new Temple oranges were grown in quantity. The terrace part of the name came from the hills of the groves being terraced so the rain would not wash the groves away.
As of today the incorporated city of Temple Terrace remains one of the most beautiful neighborhoods with a great community spirit not seen in many places. The style of homes indicative of Temple Terrace is the Mediterranean Revival style still seen throughout the city. In fact the now developing downtown area is in that same style giving homage to the history.
Sometimes when you live in a place for a long time you don’t explore what your area has to offer. I hope by reading this article you will come to Temple Terrace and find its beauty and history as exciting as I do. See you there……
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