307 Brightwaters Blvd NE 33704

Then and Now — 1951 & 2021 307 Brightwaters Blvd NE

From 1951: “Mr. & Mrs. John J. Dewey have purchased this large residence in a well-known Snell Isle location, and will take it over as their residence February 1. Dewey is manager of the Soreno Hotel here.”
“The property – first waterfront site on Brightwaters Blvd as it skirts Coffee Pot Bayou – was sold intact with furnishings, equipment, and a 4-berth Owens cruiser by Mr. & Mrs. Edwin B. Holtam, who have occupied the house for more than four years. The sale, completed Friday, was handled by the office of Al Werly, realtor. The asking price was reported at 60,000. The new Dewey residence is one of the points of interest on the local ‘sightseeing circuit.’ It was built in 1929 by Mr. & Mrs. Bayard S. Cook, who lived there many years. Mrs. Cook sold it to the Holtams in 1946.”

“Of hollow tile, steel and stucco construction, the house has five bedrooms and four baths. The Holtams made various improvements during their occupancy. Dewey came here to be manager of the Soreno Hotel in 1947 from Joplin, Mo. Where he managed another hotel in the Alsonett chain. Earlier he was in military service and for a time was associated with his father, William M. Dewey, who was president of the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago.”

The house was built in 1929 by Bayard Sylvester Cook and his wife Sarah Jane. Cook was born on May 22, 1880, in Cordova Maryland and was the oldest of 7 children. The Cook family moved to Easton Pa. and it was there that Bayard received his schooling. After graduating High School Bayard went to work for the Merchants and Minors Transportation Co. in Philadelphia and took up the study of law at Temple University. In 1901 Bayard married Sarah Jane Berryman and they had three sons, Bayard Jr., Douglas, and James. After practicing law for several years in Philadelphia, Bayard moved his family to St. Petersburg (1915) and began a successful law practice.

Bayard served as President of the local Chamber of Commerce, also he and Jane were extremely active in the St. Petersburg Rotary, where they both served as President. Tragedy struck the Cook household when the youngest son James (age 23) died suddenly and unexpectedly at his parent’s home. While at St. Pete High School James, or ‘Jimmy’ as he was known to his friends, suffered a head injury and had been subject to occasional violent headaches following a brain operation he underwent in the late 1930’s. Four years later, on January 16, 1946, Bayard S. Cook died at the age of 65 and was buried at Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete. If it were not enough that Jane had lost her husband and youngest son, she was again met with tragedy in 1948 when her eldest son Bayard Jr. died. Sarah sold the Brightwaters house in 1946 following her husband’s death, in all the Cooks lived in the beautiful house for 17 years. All the Cooks (Bayard, Jane, Bayard Jr, and James) are buried at Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete with the exception of Douglas who died in 1983 and is buried at the First Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden.

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