Then and Now — 1943 & 2021 — 100 18th Ave No.
From 1943: “This attractive home, in the North Shore section was included in the week’s real estate sales. This is the new home of Mr. & Mrs. Charles A. Lenz at the southwest corner of 18th avenue and 1st street north. It is one of the most attractive homes in that area. The sale was in excess of $15,000.”
Charles Albert Lenz “Charlie” was born January 24, 1895 in Danforth Illinois. His mother was murdered by a transient farm worker when Charlie was just shy of 2 years old.
Charlie attended the University of Illinois. He was first married in December of 1919 to Helen Louise Houghton (1896-1920) who died from influenza after only 3 months of marriage. He married again on February 20, 1929 to Margaret Marie Graves (1895-1972) with whom he had two children: Sarah “Sally” Caroline (1930-2002) and Albert Taylor Lenz (1931-1990). Charlie and Marie moved from Illinois to St. Petersburg, FL where they made their home. After Marie’s death, Charlie married Olga “Mike” Schulmeyer on 4 Dec 1972.
Charlie got his start in the insurance business in 1920. He was a prominent personality in outdoor carnivals, whose initial signing of Sonny’s Amusements in the early 1930’s was called the first recorded insurance coverage of an American carnival.
A move to Florida led to the establishment of the Charles A. Lenz & Associates office in St. Petersburg.
Charlie had a life long fascination with boating and held many club memberships in this field. Prior to WWII he acquired the 52 ft. yacht “Sal-Al III” which was commandeered as a Coast Guard patrol boat during the war. It was a prominent part of the show business fleet to gather in Tampa for the Gasparilla Day festival.
Charlie was the first developer of Mullet Key in Pinellas County, before it became the home of Fort De Soto Park. He installed concession stands, a sightseeing railroad and bait stands. He purchased the old WTSP radio station during the 1940s and was one of the first persons to install car telephones. He also had the first teletype in St. Petersburg.
Charlie served on the board of the Boy Scouts of America and the YMCA, was port captain of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and was an Elk, Moose, 50 year 32nd Degree Mason, and a member of the Shriners.
Charlie died October 23, 1977 at the age of 82. He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, St. Pete.
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