Then and Now — 1933 & 2022 — 205 25th Ave. No.
From a 1933 Times Article: “The home of Robert H. Thomas is beautiful in its symmetry of architecture. It was built in 1929 and is regarded as a fine type of comfortable home. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have been residents of St. Petersburg for 32 years. Their home is spacious and comfortable, with light and airy rooms that fit in well with the general architecture of the home.”
“The Thomas home is on the north side of the street and immediately attracts the eye not only because of its beauty but because it is surrounded with grounds laid out with precision in landscaping design. On either side of the sidewalk leading to the front entrance are palm trees, while southern pine and sub-tropical shrubs are also planted. Orange trees are in front of the home, the blossoms at this time of year exhaling a delicate perfume.”
“The front entrance bespeaks a royal welcome, and within doors the same hospitable atmosphere is retained. All of the rooms are so large, that the house as if it had more than nine rooms. Mrs. Thomas herself explained this when she said that the bedrooms on the second floor were designed first and that the first floor had to be planned to correspond.”
“Of all the rooms in the home perhaps the most pleasant is the sun parlor with has a northern, southern and eastern exposure. This is one of the coolest spots in St. Petersburg in the summertime, Mrs. Thomas claims.”
“A Colonial style of architecture is followed, both in the exterior and interior of the home. Particularly noteworthy are the arched doorways connecting the various rooms.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have lived here 32 years and several weeks ago celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. The home was decorated exquisitely with rooms filled with roses, snapdragons, lilies and other flowers in large baskets sent to the celebrants by friends and family. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas came here in 1901 from Lacon, Illinois and Mr. Thomas claims distinction in having been the first “yankee” elected in this city to the office of mayor. So successful was he that he served two terms.”
Robert Henry Thomas was born in Woodford, Illinois, February 22, 1861. In March of 1883, at age 22, Robert married Ms. Ada Margaret Taggart, who was the same age. The couple had a daughter, Ida born in December 1883. In the late 1880’s Robert was working as a hotel keeper but soon had decided that there was better money to be made in real estate. In 1901, he and Ada packed their belongings and moved with their daughter to St. Pete where he hoped to be a part of the building of this new town. In 1902, Robert was elected mayor of St. Pete and worked diligently to improve schools and education, business opportunities, and generally to move from the status of a town to that of a city. Robert served a second term as mayor in 1904. Besides being active in local real estate, Robert was to become president of the St. Petersburg Bond and Mortgage Company, and a director of the First National Bank. During WWI Robert served as chairman of the local Red Cross and helped build the organizations membership to 4,500.
Robert and Ada were active in the social scene in St. Pete. Robert was a member of the Country Club, Yacht Club and the Elks.
In 1928, Robert and Ada were granted a permit to build this featured home at a construction cost estimated at $15,000. The home was completed in 1929 and they lived there until they died in 1936. Ada died on September 9, 1936, and Robert died less than 30 days later on October 4, 1936. They are both buried at Lacon Cemetery in Illinois.
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