Then and Now — 1918 & 2022 — 266 Park Street No.
This house was built in 1917 by Dr. George William Fitch and his wife Jennie. George was born on January 7, 1865, in Beemerville, NJ., the only child of Sanford and Emma Fitch. George graduated valedictorian of his High School in 1885 and then taught High School for a year before entering Columbia University where he graduated medical school in 1891. The first thing George did upon graduating medical school was to marry his sweetheart (September 17, 1891) Ms. Jennie L. Richman. The couple had no children. George ran a private practice in New Jersey for 25 years and retired in 1916. George and Jennie decided to move to St. Pete, where they had wintered a few times and had fallen in love with the weather and the fishing. Upon arrival in St. Pete, George and Jennie took a tour to the newly developed ‘Jungle’ area and purchased this featured home in the Davista neighborhood.
George was very active in city government and politics and was to become a city commissioner on April 2, 1919. He also ran for Mayor in 1920, 1921 and 1922. He spent much time and effort in pressing city hall to make improvements to the West Central and Davista neighborhoods by improving certain roads and drainage. George was also a director on the board of the Ninth Street Bank and Trust Co.
In 1918 George was commissioned a Captain in the US Army Medical Corp and served at Camp Sevier in Greenville SC. After the war George returned to his home on Park Street and settled back into his life in city government as well as social events and foremost, his fishing. George named his ‘launch’ the ‘Sunshine’ and not too many days went by that he couldn’t be found landing tarpon, mackerel, red fish and snook off the shores of St. Pete.
In 1920 George and Jennie went into business with Ben Freer and opened the Freer Drug Store at 9th and Central. Ben was President, Jennie, Vice-President and George Sec/Treas. Shortly after starting this venture Jennie became sick and passed away December 10, 1922. Following Jennie’s death George sold the Park Street house to Mr. and Mrs. John E. Christian.
George married Ms. Susie Lee Marshall on August 9, 1933.
George was an active member of First Presbyterian church, Post 14, American Legion, Masonic Lodge, and Shriners. George died on November 22, 1937, after a brief illness, he was 65. Susie passed away in 1959. Both are buried in Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete.
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