Oct 8, 2023 - News

108-year-old Turner bungalow added to Pinellas County's living history museum

A restored bungalow propped up on bricks

The Turner Bungalow. Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Take a break from ogling mansions on Zillow, and take a walk among some simple homes with rich Tampa Bay history.

Driving the news: Heritage Village in Largo opened a 108-year-old bungalow to the public late last month, adding more to explore in the 21-acre living Pinellas County history museum.

Why it matters: The Turner Bungalow, built in 1915 in Clearwater, is a great example of Florida's vernacular architecture (original construction with local materials).

Plus: The items inside also offer a glimpse into the life of the Turner family, which played an important role in developing mid- and upper Pinellas.

  • Arthur Campbell Turner, a postmaster and politician, published an early newspaper that later became the Tampa Bay Times.

Details: Geraldine "Gere" Clark Turner, one of Arthur's 20 children, gave the house and its contents to Pinellas County's Heritage Village in 2014.

  • Heritage Village staff spent the last three years restoring the home, including its floor, ceiling, walls, windows and other architectural elements.

What they're saying: "It's the history of Florida you never really hear talked about anywhere," said visitor Cooper Kellis. He and his father, Greg, stopped by the home last week while strolling through the village and the Florida Botanical Gardens next door.

  • "It's about being able to see how people lived 100 to 150 years ago and how simple they lived without all the modern conveniences and distractions," Greg Kellis said.

Heritage Village also has a ton of interesting economic and cultural history:

🧽 Check out the Sponge Warehouse, which tells the story of a Greek immigrant family who made Tarpon Springs the sponge capital of the world.

  • You can see some of the famous sponges and learn about sponge-diving.

🍬 Catch a demonstration of the sugarcane mill and boiling shed, where workers from The Largo Area Historical Society show how sugarcane was manually juiced and boiled to make syrup.

🥤 Grab a tiny bottle of soda at the H.C. Smith Store. Be sure to bring cash for the hand-crank register. (They didn't have tap-to-pay or Venmo in the 1920s.)

  • The store also contains an old barbershop, where you can flip through wanted posters for infamous figures like Alphonse "Scarface" Capone and George "Baby Face" Nelson.
  • Around back in the mechanic's bay you can see a 1925 Ford Model T truck.

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