You might know that Temple Terrace was named for the hybrid Temple oranges grown here in the early 1900s, or that the area’s first public school is now .
But did you know that some residents paid advances on their 1930 taxes a year early because the city was having financial difficulty? Or that the city manager earned $200 a month in 1947?
The city lists its accomplishments in timeline form each year in its budget document. The brief history begins in 1900 with the purchase of the land that would become Temple Terrace.
This year, the city added the adoption of to its history.
Check out the timeline as it appears in the 2012-13 budget draft below:
1900 – The land area that was to become the City of Temple Terrace was originally purchased in 1900 by Chicago businessman Potter Palmer, who built a winter hunting lodge along the west bank of the Hillsborough River on land now owned by Florida College.
Around 1920 – The Palmer Estate was included in a 5,000-acre purchase by W. E. Hamner, who later sold the land to a business partnership made up of Burt Hamner, D. C. Gillett and Vance Helm. This partnership formed Temple Terrace Inc., to develop orange groves north of Druid Hills Road and a vacation community along the Hillsborough River. The new community was called Temple Terrace after hybrid Temple oranges developed by Mr. Gillett’s father.
1925 – As a result of increased land sales, the residential section of Temple Terrace was expanding so fast that the developers initiated municipal incorporation proceedings, and by act of the Legislature, the City of Temple Terrace was incorporated May 28, 1925. In June, an election was held, officials [who were known as commissioners until 1955] were sworn in and an organizational meeting was held at City Hall, which was then the development company’s office at Belle Terre and Inverness and is presently the Community Church Sunday School. The first ordinance was passed in September, and it dealt with a special election to be held October 3, 1925, to vote on a bond issue to purchase, construct, and extend a municipal water works system and an electric light plant.
1926 – Commissioners passed resolutions establishing the city’s criminal code and taking over operation and control of parks, parkways, golf course, and the water system. By the end of 1926, residential development in the city had stopped, and for the next 30 years the city “stood still” as it experienced financial difficulties and indebtedness.
1928 – The position of fire chief was created, but a used fire truck was not purchased until 1934. At a City Commission meeting on February 29, 1928, R. D. Hoyt, commissioner and city manager, presented the need for a police officer to be on full duty at night. He recommended equipping the officer with a bicycle and watchman’s clock. A resolution passed at that meeting and records reflect that on March 8, 1928, A. P. DeMott took the oath of office as a policeman. From this humble beginning has developed one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the Tampa Bay area. The first public school in this area was held in a one-room converted horse stable on Woodmont Avenue, presently Woodmont Clubhouse & Park.
1929 – The city was in financial difficulty and citizens agreed to double water and garbage charges; some also paid advances on the 1930 taxes.
1930 – Temple Terrace was a struggling city in the 1930s. Outstanding bills were paid with tax certificates if the creditors were willing, and many employees were also paid with tax certificates. It became increasingly difficult to maintain the golf course. There was a city bus that operated between Sulphur Springs and Temple Terrace that was plagued with unauthorized riders. In 1932, there were 70 families living in the city.
1937 – A U. S. Congressional Amendment to the National Bankruptcy Act gave the city a way to solve indebtedness through issuing municipal bonds for city lots.
1940 – The city was still a small town in the 1940s and problems persisted. There were only 215 residents; recreational facilities were in critical condition; the city couldn’t maintain the golf course and pool; city-owned equipment was in need of repair and replacement; and most of the original 1920 structures were deteriorated.
1945 – In an attempt to resolve the city’s financial burden, officials adopted a resolution to shrink the city limits. In January 1946, by act of the State Legislature, the boundaries roughly became Whiteway on the north, the River on the east except for a small area between North Riverhills and the River between Whiteway and Bullard; 330 feet south of Riverhills Drive on the south, and 56th Street on the west. The city levied a two-cent per front foot assessment on all properties on paved streets to remove grass and weeds and to make minor street repairs.
1946 – After World War II, the city began to experience a rising economy. Citizens who were issued bonds on the swimming pool property were repaid, street signs were installed, the pool building was painted, and a new tractor and street sweeper were purchased. The city had a small savings account.
1947 – A new city manager was appointed at a salary of $200 per month. He was also tax collector, city clerk, city treasurer, fire chief and police chief.
1950 – A resurgence in development occurred. The federal census said 433 people lived in Temple Terrace. An article in the Tampa Tribune on October 29, 1950, listed the advantages of Temple Terrace as good drinking water, good school, excellent swimming pool and recreational facilities, and a number of beautiful homes. During depression years and up until 1953, anyone wishing to purchase city-owned lots could make an offer to the commissioners and rarely was an offer refused. Examples: $300 for five lots; $700 for three blocks; as little as $10 for a lot. In 1953, a Planning and Zoning Board was formed to discuss adoption of a building code.
1955 – The Legislature approved a new charter calling for a Council-Manager form of government, as recommended by a Charter Committee.
1956 – Area south of Riverhills Drive (Riversides) was annexed into the city.
1959 – A library established by the Temple Terrace Woman’s Club moved to the City Hall building in 1961 and was taken over by the city in January 1962. The location at 202 Bullard Parkway was dedicated April 17, 1966. O. K. Lightfoot donated land for construction of a Temple Terrace Youth Center, which opened September 1965.
1960 – There were 3,812 residents making Temple Terrace the second fastest-growing city in the United States. Residential development consisted almost entirely of single-family dwellings. Industrial uses did not exist and a nucleus of strip commercial shopping centers was beginning to develop at the intersection of 56th Street and Temple Terrace Highway (Bullard Parkway/Busch Boulevard). During the 1960s, commercial developments increased resulting in conflicts with through traffic, curb cuts from businesses on 56th Street, and a lack of adequate facilities to serve long-range needs. 1960-1975 was the biggest building boom with banks, shopping centers, new subdivisions, apartments and homes. The city became concerned about reserving undeveloped land to accommodate future commercial developments and finding suitable locations for civic and cultural facilities.
1961 – The city annexed land west of 56th Street and in the northeast section north to Fowler Avenue, increasing the population to 4,752.
1962 – The city issued bonds for a sanitary sewer system and improved water supply.
1970 – Census showed 7,347 residents, and by 1975, the estimated population was 9,600 residents.
1974 – The first Community Arts Festival was organized by a resident, Julia Ames, and was held at the Community Church.
1975 – The city was asked to assist the Community Arts Festival due to the show’s large size and the event moved to its present location at Riverhills Park.
1977 – The present City Hall building was dedicated.
1978 – The old municipal building and property was sold to Florida College and the current City Hall was modified for the physically challenged. The city began participating in the Community Development Block Grant Program to assist senior and physically challenged residents. The Fire Department facility on Bullard Parkway was dedicated and an experimental paper recycling program was introduced.
1979 – The Family Recreation Complex on Whiteway Drive was dedicated. The design phase of a water treatment plant began. The first coaxial cable franchise was granted.
1980 – Curbside garbage pickup began.
1982 – Council established the Municipal Code Enforcement Board, awarded a contract to build the water treatment plant, and considered an “experimental traffic device”—“speed humps” on Whiteway Drive. Temple Terrace voters approved one-half mill property tax to support HARTline busing agency. There was a fire at the library, which reopened one year later in 1983.
1984 – The city annexed acres of land in northern and eastern boundaries for the first time in 57 years [Tampa Telecom Park and Fisherman’s Landing Apartments]. The “pooper scooper” ordinance passed, parking ordinances were enacted, and fluoride was added to city water. The green and white building at the corner of Glen Arven and Bullard Parkway that once served as Temple Terrace’s first grocery, post office and telephone exchange was demolished due to dilapidated conditions.
1986 – The city issued building permits for more than $49 million in new construction for single-family homes, apartments, and commercial buildings—four times the amount in previous years. Fire Station No. 2 in Tampa Telecom Park was dedicated.
1987 – Land at Fowler Avenue and 56th Street was commercially developed, a hotel was approved at Fowler Avenue/Morris Bridge Road [Shoney’s], the city hired its first municipal engineer, the first EMS team was established, and curbside newspaper collection began. The taxable value of property rose 30 percent due to GTE Data Services in Tampa Telecom Park, Fisherman’s Landing Apartments, and annexations, such as Raintree Terrace.
1988 – Volunteers started a drive to renovate Lightfoot Center, city elections were first held in November instead of June, the first July 4 Parade was a success, the 9-1-1 program was put into operation, and Taste of the Terrace and Terrace Jubilee were introduced.
1989 – Property values increased 21 percent over the prior year, recycling service expanded to include glass and aluminum products, the city launched its own ambulance service, a Comprehensive Plan was developed, a Business District Revitalization Steering Committee and the Adopt-A-Park Program were established.
1990 – A public safety computer system was installed and the first Senior Expo was held at the Lightfoot Center.
1991 – A small tornado hit Temple Terrace in April, leaving $100,000-$150,000 in cleanup costs. Brenda Schwarzkopf, wife of the Gulf War General, came to lunch at Lightfoot. The recycling program expanded to include plastics.
1992 – The city adopted a human rights ordinance, the chipseal program was implemented to improve roadways, Temple Terrace Police and Fire personnel went to Florida City to help with Hurricane Andrew cleanup, the first Citizens Police Academy was held, the 20-acre Youth Sports Complex on U.S. Highway 301 opened, and yard waste recycling began.
1993 – A Public Works Operations Center was constructed using the design/build concept; Masque planned a $1 million theater, and the city contended with leaks in copper water pipes.
1994 – The first public artwork, a metal sculpture, was installed at the Family Recreation Complex. A fitness center and kiddy pool were added at the Family Recreation Complex.
1995 – The School Improvement Task Force was formed, art was placed in City Hall, the city got two new parks (Riverfront and Riverhills Park addition), and a minimum housing code was adopted.
1996 – The city’s first telecommunications tower was built at the Fire Station No. 1, expansion began at the Family Recreation Complex, a final site plan was approved for an expansion to the library, the Recreation Department added a van to transport seniors, Tropical Storm Josephine visited, the city debated with Tampa over sewage costs, and the voters approved the Community Investment Tax.
1997 – The School Improvement Task Force Grant program was implemented to benefit area schools, a water slide came to the Family Recreation Complex, the first class graduated from the Kids Police Academy, improvements were made to the Ridgedale Sports Complex, and Hillsborough County televised the City Council meetings for a three-month pilot program. The city also launched its website.
1998 – The library re-dedication was held, property was purchased on Riverhills Drive for the Town Center [formerly the building proposed by Masque], the city began an apartment code compliance program, renovation began at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, voters approved term limits for council members, the city began its own television production, recycling expanded to include steel food cans, clay tennis courts were constructed, and the Police Department’s National Night Out won a national award.
1999 – Recreation Department revenues went from $167,000 to more than $1 million annually, bringing in annual membership fees of $350,000. The $3.7 million Recreation Department expansion was dedicated. Business district redevelopment plans moved forward, the crime rate was at the lowest level in a decade, the Bullard Parkway widening project started after more than a decade of planning, the Chamber of Commerce opened a Farmers’ Market next to City Hall, and the millage rate was raised for the first time since 1985 from 4.41 to 4.91 mills.
2000 – The city celebrated its 75th birthday all year with Diamond Jubilee events, the Broadway Outfall Stormwater Retrofit Project was approved to help clean up the Hillsborough River, and a Temple Terrace model school district was pursued. The city created a Community Redevelopment Agency for business district redevelopment, and a business district redevelopment plan and overlay district were adopted. A contract was awarded to finance land acquisition and engineering costs for a water reclamation facility.
2001 – The 2000 Census revealed the city’s population at 20,918. The city adopted a water shortage contingency plan and implemented a state-of-the-art public safety computer system. The city continued the process to revitalize the business district; administration named the project STAR (Strategic Teamwork and Redevelopment). AEDS (Automatic External Defibrillators) were placed in city buildings. The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack affected the city’s operations and planning. The sluggish economy forced budget cuts. Council passed an ordinance requiring licenses for home-based occupations. Riverfest 2001, formerly the “Great Canoe Challenge,” was inaugurated.
2002 – The city pursued land acquisition for its downtown redevelopment. The long-awaited 56th Street wall was built and the Fire Department began a process to receive accreditation. Congressional redistricting split the city. The city acquired West River Preserve, more than five acres of pristine Florida habitat along the Hillsborough River at the southern tip of Temple Terrace, and mandated underground electrical lines for future residential development. The Police Department instituted “Do the Right Thing” to recognize children for making good choices. A Redevelopment Director was hired to guide the downtown revitalization project. The city began a community newsletter.
2003 – The city appointed its first deputy police chief, the highest-ranking woman in the Police Department’s history, and recognized its first “official band”—the Temple Terrace Highlanders bagpipe band. The city mandated uniform newspaper racks and joined federal and state wildlife agencies to eradicate rabies through a mass baiting vaccine program. The permitting process for the water reclamation plant continued and the city adopted a TECO energy program to retrofit electrical systems while saving taxpayers’ money. The city received a Community Design Award from the Planning Commission in the Public Participation category for the city’s Housing Rehabilitation Program. A second storm water filtering system to protect the Hillsborough River was authorized on Riverhills Drive and the council declined to allow pet pigs in residential neighborhoods. The city applied for a grant to build a two-mile trail from the city’s eastern and southern areas to the Family Recreation Complex. Temple Terrace history was explored in a half-hour documentary produced by Hillsborough County television.
2004 – An additional homestead exemption was adopted for seniors age 65 or older, along with reduced garbage fees for these seniors. Sewer rates were increased after a water/sewer rate study was completed. Fireworks were banned. The city’s downtown planning firm was retained. A new K-9 drug detection dog was added to the city’s crime fighting force. Construction in the Hidden Oaks subdivision began and a petition for charter amendment concerning the filling of vacant council seats was circulated and subsequently passed in referendum.
2005 – A general obligation bond referendum failed. An annexation referendum for the Terrace Estates community failed. The city’s building code processes, permitting and review fees were modified. The city’s first public information officer was hired. The city approved a franchise agreement with Verizon to install fiber cable throughout the city.
2006 – The city secured consensus with Sweetbay to construct a New Urbanist grocery store in the redevelopment area similar in style to the Torti Gallas plan. The city secured federal and state financial support for downtown development. The city became one of 114 Fire Departments internationally recognized as an accredited agency.
2007 – The city upgraded its radio system, implemented an aggressive annexation plan, established a consensus on a developer and site plan for the downtown project, began streetscaping, and completed a traffic oval at Woodmont Drive.
2008 – The city upgraded its telephone system, executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the downtown redevelopment area, and began renovation of Lightfoot Recreation Center with the assistance of a Community Development Block Grant.
2009 – The city completed renovation of Lightfoot Recreation Center, approved a development agreement with The Vlass Group for the downtown redevelopment area, and initiated a Red Light Camera Program to reduce the number of intersection accidents.
2010 – Vlass Temple Terrace LLC held the groundbreaking for the redevelopment area in July. The city completed a beautification project on 56th Street medians and streetscaping on 56th Street from 98th Street to Temple Heights Road. It also completed a Telecom Parkway extension to Arbor Isle and began 56th Street reconstruction. Construction on the redevelopment area began and Phase 1 was completed in November.
2011 – The Police Department was awarded Law Enforcement Accreditation. The city and Clouds of Hope held ribbon cutting for Lightfoot Park.
2012 – The city adopted a new logo and tagline: “Amazing City. Since 1925.” It also established a Tree Beautification Fund and Adopt-A-Tree Program to reinvigorate Temple Terrace’s majestic aged urban forest. The city received an award from the American Water Association for the “Best Drinking Water,” as well as a “Project of the Year – Historic Restoration” award for 56th Street roadway enhancement from American Public Works Association.