Then and Now — 1936 & 2023 — 155 19th Ave NE
This bungalow was built in 1934 by John and Lucille Danison. John Floyd Danison was born on June 21, 1895, in New Lexington Ohio, the 3rd of 6 children. His father owned Danison Monumental Works, a company that specialized in marble and grant work.
John grew up in New Lexington and attended New Lexington High School, where he graduated in 1914 in a senior class of 28. Lucille Hammond also attended New Lexington but was two years behind John. The couple began dating John’s senior year and in 1915, Lucille went along with John and his family on a summer vacation.
In 1917, John, who was very mechanically inclined, joined the National Guard as a mechanic and was soon promoted to sergeant. John’s unit was called up to the front lines in the Argonne in France during WWI, where they worked at keeping the mechanized equipment running. He was in France from June 28, 1918, until March 27, 1919.
As soon as he returned to the states, he proposed to Lucille and the couple were married. They never had children. Shortly after the wedding the entire Danison family decided to move from Ohio to St. Pete. John and his father packed a Ford touring car and drove down, while the rest of the family came later, presumably by train.
When they had arrived and proper accommodation was made, John set up a business working on car batteries (which were beginning to be widely used), ignitions and radios. Lucille worked as his bookkeeper. His original location was at 240 2nd Ave So. By 1929, John had begun focusing more on radios and relocated his business to 125 3rd St So, where he would stay for the next 35 years. John eventually left batteries and ignition and dealt solely in radios, Philco radios specifically, and not just for cars, but for household usage as well. He changed his business name to John Danison Radio Co. In later years he would expand further into refrigerators and other appliances.
So, now comes an interesting twist with this featured house at 155 19th Ave NE. John and Lucille moved into this house in 1935 after they had the home constructed on a large lot they had purchased from Charles F. Fisher. This lot included the corner lot to the east of 155 19thAve NE. After about a year John and Lucille decided that they would build on their corner lot next door and set the house back a bit to have some space between the houses. The new house would be used as rental property.
The new house (then numbered 165 19th Ave NE) was completed in 1937, and was so much to John and Lucille’s liking that they decided to live there and to rent their original house at 155 19th Ave NE.
John and Lucille stayed in the house at 165 19th Ave NE until 1989 when John passed away at age 92. Lucille had died on January 19, 1979, leaving John to live out his last 10 years by himself in this house.
John and Lucille are buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Pete.
After John’s death the house was sold and in recent years has had expansive additions added. You will see in the picture that it originally was just a small part of what it is now. Also, the number was changed after John’s death to 1900 Bay St. NE.
Here is a 1942 Times article about John and Lucille’s house at 165 19th Ave NE.
“We’re warning you – you won’t want to leave, once you have visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Danison, 165 19th avenue northeast. The house is set far back from the avenue, facing a broad expanse of carefully cut lawn, and on the street side (it’s built on a corner) a low, white picket fence encloses an area in which are yard furniture and a flagpole.”
“For all of its Cape Cod architecture, it reminds one of a Hansel and Gretel cottage – at least, it has the compact coziness of this popular fairy tale house.”
“Those of you standing on the outside see a squarely built house, with two dormer windows set in its deep-sloping green roof. It is made of white asbestos shingles, has a front terrace porch laid with crab orchard stone and window shutters painted green. The porch is bordered by a Surinam cherry hedge and hooded by a white-trimmed green awning like the ones that are over the windows.”
“A flagstone walk leads from the side street to the entrance and all around there are oak, punk and palm trees and a wide variety of flowers ranging from bougainvillea vine climbing up the brick chimney to Ligustrum turk’s cap and other Florida favorites.”
“History of the Danison home can be traced back to 1937 when the Danisons were living next door in the big house. Drawing plans for houses is one of their major hobbies and one day they had a suggestion to offer each other. ‘Let’s build at the back of the yard and rent it.’ They said. So, they drew plans and put into the house all their favorite features and conveniences. When it was finished, they had another idea – ‘Let’s try it out before we rent it.’ They said. And they are still living in this house and renting the big one next door.”
“The house is everything you or I could want. It’s small and compact. It has a radio in every nook and cranny, radios being Danison’s hobby as well as business.”
“Its living room has a high vaulted ceiling with exposed beams. It is air conditioned. At the front door you may wonder why there is glass instead of screening. You know as soon as you step over the threshold, because it’s as coolly refreshing inside as any mountain top in North Carolina.”
“Mrs. Danison says that it’s as warm in winter as it is cool in summer. She and Mr. Danison have a time clock that turns on the heat whenever they want it warm. They turn it on early in the morning so that it is toasty and comfortable when they get up. They set it for mid-afternoon and by the time they reach home around dinner time it’s cozy warm. The same timing is used in the summertime, only in this case the atmosphere is frosty cool when they reach home after work.”
“There are other interesting features, one being a two-way speaking system extending from the second floor bedroom to the front door. It’s possible to find out who’s at the front door before going down to answer the ring.”
“The house isn’t large, so far as size goes, but it has everything to meet the needs of the Danisons. There’s a main downstairs room – a combination of living and dining room and kitchen. This is lined from bottom to top with knotty cypress that is polished as smooth as the floors. The cathedral ceiling is very high and on the side, half-way up, is a balcony leading to the second floor bedroom.”
“In the rear of the room is a dinette and to one side, with sliding doors so that it can be cut off from view entirely, a modern kitchenette. There are also cooking facilities in the two-car garage that connects with the house.”
“The room is artistically arranged and decorated. Over the cypress front brick lined fireplace is a map of Florida, and on shelves and walls interesting souvenirs, from Mexico, Italy and Far West and other corners of the world.”
“Windows equipped with Venetian blinds, have blue drapes, made with horizontal white stripes woven into the heavy material. There are oriental rugs and chair upholstered in gay floral design and plaids of colors blending with the cypress. Coffee and reading table, bookcases, and magazine racks provide additional touches.”
“The stairway leads from the living room to the balcony and bedroom. The bath is tiled and there is a dressing room. Downstairs there is another bath, in ocean blue and tan tile.”
“The Danisons have utilized every bit of space, with built-in closets for everything from medicine and blankets.”
The Danisons lived in this house for 52 years.
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