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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Historic farmhouse of ‘Capt. Bill’ Jackson for sale in Seminole Heights

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — An 1870s farmhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places is for sale.

The homestead, at 800 E. Lambright St., is the legacy of William P. “Capt. Bill” Jackson, whose farm with cattle and orange groves once spread across more than 150 acres.

Most of Seminole Heights once was owned by Jackson and his family. Seminole Heights Elementary School was built on land he donated and for years was known as the “Bill Jackson “ school.

The historic home is selling for $99,000.

Historic preservationists are hoping new owners will welcome the chance to preserve a unique link to Seminole Heights’ and Tampa’s earliest pioneers. To that end they plan to ask city leaders to designate the farmhouse a local historic landmark.

A search is under way to find a new location for Capt. Bill’s farmhouse. It now stands at the dead-end of Lambright, jammed next to Interstate 275 and thousands of exhaust-spewing vehicles that whiz past daily.

“That is what it’s going to take,” said Ann McDonald, chairwoman of the historic preservation committee of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. “We have to get it somewhere that it’s not sitting next to the highway.”

McDonald is spearheading efforts to scout a new location for the farmhouse — hopefully, she said, within Seminole Heights — and to work with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission on the landmark.

Two years ago the neighborhood association successfully lobbied to have the farmhouse placed on the National Register of Historic Places. But the honor is largely symbolic and doesn’t ensure the house will remain standing. Local historic status could offer a potential buyer tax incentives to preserve and restore the house.

“We are in the business of preserving these things,” said Thom Snelling, the city’s director of planning and development. “We’ll do what we can so they can achieve their historic preservation goals.”

Hillsborough County has grants available that might help pay for relocating the farmhouse, McDonald said. Such a grant was used recently to move former Major League ballplayer Al Lopez’s house, which is planned as a baseball museum in Ybor City.

Research shows Capt. Bill’s parents, Nancy Coller Jackson and Robert Jackson, were married in 1836. It is thought to be the first recorded marriage on Florida’s West Coast.

The Jackson and Coller families were pioneers with property holdings that spread for hundreds of acres across Hillsborough County, and even into Pasco County, McDonald said.

The Coller family owned land on Six Mile Creek, then known as Coller Creek. Levi Coller reportedly sold property known as Ballast Point for $50. Nancy Jackson sold about 20 acres to O. H. Platt of Hyde Park, Ill.

The Jackson’s son, “Capt. Bill,” piloted ships, sailing passengers and mail from Cedar Key to New Orleans and from Tampa to Cuba. The mantel in the farmhouse is thought to be wood the captain salvaged from the Hiram Cool, an iron-hulled steamship that ran aground.

For more than a decade current owner Debbie Rowland and her family lived in the farmhouse which initially was bought by Rowland’s father, John Hussy, in 1984. Some think the farmhouse might be the oldest house in Tampa still serving as a residence.

Plans are moving forward, with McDonald and others, to ensure the future of the farmhouse.

“It will take time and effort from more than one person,” McDonald said.

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