Then and Now — 1929 & 2022 — 209 13th Ave. No.
From 1929: “The Laughner place, on Thirteenth avenue north, has been counted among the beautiful homes of St. Petersburg for many years. It is surrounded by extensive gardens with a variety of rare tropical plants.”
This home was designed and built in 1919 by Perry O. Laughner and his wife Emma. Perry Orville Laughner was born at Six Points PA. on September 21, 1859, the 5th of 12 children. Perry’s family moved to Salem Township PA. where he received his early schooling. At age 17, Perry entered the state normal school at Edinboro PA., now Edinboro University. Normal schools were established chiefly to train elementary-school teachers for public schools. Between terms at Edinboro Perry taught in the county schools. Soon after completion of his schooling, Perry moved to the oil fields of McKean County PA. until 1882 when he established a home in Oil City, PA. Perry opened a hardware store dealing in oil well supplies and a year later, with his brother as partner opened stores in Coraopolis and McDonald PA., then both were oil field centers. On May 30, 1882, Perry married Ms. Emma Cecelia Findley, whom he had met in Salem Township years earlier, daughter of William P. Findley, one of the Standard Oil Co. pioneers (Perry later became extremely involved with the Standard Oil Co.). Perry and Emma had three children Aymer Vinoy (1883), Chalmers (1885) and Gladys (1893). In 1899, Perry organized the Crescent Oil and Gas Company, in 1904 the Minnetonka Oil Company, which took up valuable leases and drilling. In 1906, the Minnetonka Oil Co. acquired leases in Crawford Co. Illinois and drilled more than 200 producing wells there. In 1908 Minnetonka Oil Co. sold its oil and undeveloped leases to the Ohio Oil and Gas Co. for more than a million dollars.
Perry had turned his interest to the development of Florida West Coast real estate. Coming to St. Pete in 1918, Perry established Laughner Enterprises, a real estate concern. In 1919 Perry and Emma built this featured home on 13th avenue north.
Perry went to work on many development projects in St. Pete, among the most distinguished of which was the Vinoy Park Hotel which venture he, and his son Aymer Vinoy Laughner, completed in 1925.
Perry was associated with the Pittsburgh Field Club, Pittsburgh Athletic Association, the Masonic Lodge, Shriners, and the Pittsburgh Press Club.
Perry died on April 17, 1926, four months after the grand opening of the Vinoy Park Hotel, he was 67 years old and was buried at Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh PA. Emma lived in this home until the mid-1940s and then moved to 991 Beach Dr., a private home owned by Caroline Rust, which was being run as a small nursing residence. Emma, and three other women in their 80’s, was cared for by a live in nurse (Ms. Lucille Sullivan). Emma died on July 7, 1951, at age 90, and buried next to Perry.
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