“Minarets to Mid-Century Modern: Preservation in Tampa Bay” is the theme of the 36th Annual Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Conference being held here from May 15 to 17. The success stories we have to share with our colleagues and friends from throughout Florida should make us all proud!
Twenty years ago, when this event last graced our community, things weren’t so rosy. The Floridan Hotel stood vacant, St. Paul’s AME Church had cracks in the stained-glass windows and the Centro Asturiano, Cuban Club and Italian Club lacked elevators. The University of Tampa’s grand veranda needed a paint job. The Waterworks Building, which is about to house the Ulele Restaurant, was used for police storage and the Tampa Theatre’s iconic blade sign was dark.
Motivated, dedicated citizens have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the historic structures, the homes, clubs, churches and parks which tell our story. The energy and vision devoted to caring for our historic buildings is impressive and heartening. And with the truck traffic being directed onto the Ybor City Connector from I-4 to the Crosstown Expressway, our National Landmark District, Ybor City, will no longer fear an oil-truck accident burning it down!
The Florida Trust Conference is open to anyone who chooses to enjoy the mobile workshops, cemetery tours, expert panels, receptions and other tours. Over 40 activities are packed into three days — from kayaking around the archaeological ruins at Weedon Island to touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern Campus in Lakeland.
Folks are encouraged to peruse www.floridatrust.org. for detailed information and registration. Students with valid IDs can register and attend for free!
The Tampa Theatre will host a free awards ceremony on May 16 at 5:30 p.m., showcasing notable projects from throughout Florida. Come and get inspired!
The writer is co-chair of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Conference, a Florida Trust board member and the chairman of the Tampa Theatre board.