Then and Now — 1932 & 2023 — 219 13th Ave No.
This house, built in 1920, was originally owned by Mrs. Rhoda Elvira Vogel. Rhoda’s life was anything but boring.
Rhoda Elvira Whelove was born on February 11, 1858, in St. Louis, Mo., the youngest of 5 children, her father was a blacksmith. Rhoda received her schooling in St. Louis and at age 21 (1879), married Edward Baker, a local glass blower, who had been married previously and had a son, Edward Jr. The couple moved to Colorado to find their fortune.
By August of 1892, Rhoda and Edward, who were still living in Colorado, were divorced. Six months later Rhoda married Ira Scott in front of a Colorado Justice of the Peace. They were married for 7 years when on January 30, 1900, Ira died. Rhoda was a widow three months when she again married, this time to John C.H. Vogel, a St. Louis businessman, who, with his brothers owned a large family business including the Athletic Tea Company. The couple moved back to St. Louis where they lived a very active society life until John died in 1916 at age 57. The local paper said that John had been distraught over his brother’s death which affected his health. His brother had fallen down an elevator shaft at one of their office buildings and died.
This was to be Rhoda’s final marriage. Following a period of mourning, Rhoda boarded a train and started traveling the east coast looking for a fresh start. She stopped in St. Pete in 1917, after a friend recommended that she look at this up and coming town, and she immediately fell in love with the Sunshine City. She purchased some available property before heading home to pack her belongings.
Here is a 1920 Times article about Rhoda’s move to St. Pete:
“St. Petersburg is the rainbow’s end. That is – if the legend of the pot of gold is true. Many women have invested in St. Petersburg real estate in the past few years and have become rich. The most outstanding instance is the business experience of Mrs. Rhoda E. Vogel. Mrs. Vogel came to this city just three years ago. She invested $1,500 in lots. Less than a month ago she sold the Vogel apartments for $100,000.
“When Mrs. Vogel arrived in St. Petersburg in 1917, homes and apartments were so scarce that the mayor had to issue a proclamation asking the people of this city to open their homes – to put cots in their living rooms for the winter visitors – here was the place to invest in real estate. So here, just three years ago Mrs. Vogel took $1,500, all the money she had with her and put it down on some lots.”
“She went back to St. Louis to visit her folks and tell them about her investment. They kindly informed her to count the $1,500 a complete loss and remarked about the clever crooks who put it over on her in this swamp. Poor folks! Now they have changed their viewpoint. There is some difference between $1,500 and $100,000, which is what her fine apartment building sold for a short time ago.”
“The first large investment Mrs. Vogel made was the Rhoda Court cottages between 3rd and 4th Streets on Sixth avenue. She sold these and invested in seven cottages at Fourth street and Fourth avenue south. A short time afterwards she removed some of the cottages and built the Vogel apartment building. The walks are kept clean as crystal. The builds are immaculate. Mrs. Vogel has always taken great pride in the fact that her back yard is as pretty as the front yard.”
“Mrs. Vogel remains active in buying real estate in this city. St. Petersburg will remain her home. She is too fond of the place to leave.”
In 1922, Rhoda boarded a steam ship in New York and traveled throughout Europe. On February 22, 1926, she and a number of other St. Pete friends boarded a ship to Cuba where they spent a month. Eight months later, on October 1, 1926, Rhoda died here in St. Pete at age 68. Her only heirs were three nieces and her stepson, Edward. Following funeral services here in St. Pete, her body was transported to St. Louis where she was buried in Valhalla Cemetery.
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