140 27th Ave N 33704

Then and Now — 1936 & 2023 — 140 27th Ave N

From 1936: “Designed and built by Mark Dixon Dodd, local artist, this unusual home was recently purchased even before it was completed. The house contains five rooms and bath, and the interior is decorated with murals by Dodd. The sale price was reported to be under $6,000”

Marcus Dixon “Mark” Dodd was born in St. Louis Mo., on January 28, 1888, 7th of 8 children, his father was a local dry goods merchant. Mark’s father died suddenly at age 52, when Mark was 8 years old. Mark was sent to be raised by his uncle, Samuel, a wealthy St. Louis businessman.

Mark received his education in the St. Louis schools and graduated in 1909 from Washington University in St. Louis. Upon graduation Mark began selling Real Estate as he honed his skills in the field of art.

In 1913, Mark moved to New York City where he studied at the Art Student’s League. While in New York he met Ms. Vivien Moran in the art circles, her grand uncle was Thomas Moran, the famous western landscape artist. Mark and Vivien hit it off and their engagement was announced in December of 1916 in the New York papers. They were wed on May 31, 1917, in Manhattan and had three children, John (1918); Sydney (1922) and Randall (1928).

The US Army refused Mark in 1918 as his right arm was 3” shorter than his left. Mark and Vivien were living in the Bronx and the 1920 census listed his profession as commercial artist. Their daughter Sydney, born in 1922, was having health issues and in 1925 the family decided to move to a more hospitable climate and decided on St. Pete as their new home. Their last child, Randall, was born here in St. Pete in 1928. All the children attended local schools here.

In 1930, Mark opened the “Mark Dodd School of Fine Arts” at 232 Beach Drive where he taught art and did his painting. In 1933, he finished his mural Seminole War, commissioned by the state of Florida as one of the series of six historical subjects to adorn the Florida building of “A Century of Progress International Exposition”, in Chicago, which opened in June 1933.

By 1936, his reputation as an artist and teacher grew, he was hired by real estate investors, Arthur Modine and Francis Marion Boone, to design a real estate subdivision called Driftwood in St. Pete near Big Bayou. In 1937, he designed and built fifteen homes on Coffee Pot Bayou. In each he placed one of his paintings, usually anchored to the wall above the fireplace.

Mark would later become head of the art department at St. Petersburg Junior College.

Mark Dixon Dodd died on November 4, 1952, at age 64. His wife Vivien survived him another 26 years, passing away on December 26, 1978, at age 80.

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