324 Brightwater Blvd NE 33704

Then and Now — **1935 & 2022 **— 324 Brightwaters Blvd (Snell Isle)

**From a 1940 Lillian Blackstone Times article: **“**Mrs. Margaret L. Taylor’s **attractive home on Snell Isle, is of coral-colored stucco, with heavy imported Cuban tile roofing and turquoise blue trim to windowsills and doors. It is of Spanish design, accentuated with a wall-enclosed patio. For a long time, Mrs. Margaret L. Taylor, Pittsburgh, regarded longingly a certain house on Snell Isle. “If I ever had a house in St. Petersburg,” she would say – she was a visitor then, “I’d choose this one.”

“This one” is now hers and has been appropriately named “Aloha”. Developing this idea further, Mrs. Taylor has placed in the living room hand-painted pictures that came from a native shop in Honolulu, and on her pale gray personal stationery is a design of tiny pale yellow leis wreathed around the name “Aloha”.

“Transaction for purchase of the house was handled by John B. Green, local appraiser and realtor, and all interior decorating has been done personally by the W. and J. Sloane company of New York city, who sent their decorators here to study both the house and its surroundings. Carefully and artistically, they have transformed the place into an attractive, gay home which, once you have seen it, you will want for yourself.”

“To the Sloan touches, Mrs. Taylor has added her own ideas – such as use of miniature Mexicanos and cactus. She is interested in everything relating to the west and southwest, she says, and each summer visits her brother’s ranch, the Flying T, in Dubois, WY., where she rides, hunts, and lives an outdoor life.”

“Typically Spanish in design, the feature of which is the enclosed tile-floored patio with outside stairway leading to the second floor bedrooms. Crevices between the tiles are filled with closely cropped Italian rye grass abd the steps of the stairway are inlaid with imported Spanish tiles. Under a cypress balcony supported by cypress log pillars is a fountain, and all around are banana trees, bamboo, palms and other tropical trees and plants. Mrs. Taylor’s bedroom opens out to the balcony and the view from there is superb, a picture of vines creeping over the Cuban tile roof, of bright bougainvillea creeping over the walls, and the easy, comfortable patio chairs and tables.”

“Grounds around the Taylor home are spacious, landscaped with all sorts of fruit trees, palms, pines. These extend north of the house, around the driveway and three-car garage. Calamondin trees, heavy with fruit, poinsettias in rich, red bloom, abd a wide variety of other flowers form a perfect playground setting for the two Taylor children, **Peggy, three years old, **and Cynthia, now one and a half years old.”

“It’s a toss up of the rooms in the Taylor house you’d best like. Some might choose the living room, with its attractive color scheme; others, Mrs. Taylor’s bedroom, which she says reminds her of the gay colors that one used to associate with Czecho-Slovakia.”

“The living room is most attractive with warm, yellow walls and a soft white ceiling trimmed with exposed cypress beams. The modernistic fireplace has a bas-relief design over the mantel abd a screen of wrought iron with a ship design in the center. On either side are wall pockets with vines and on either side too are tall, copper floor lamps.”

“On the western exposure is a large, rounded picture window with gold tapestried drapes, while the other windows, square and facing north and south, have soft figured drapes of mauve and yellow. Upholstered chairs and round divan are finished with white bamboo, which is used also as a valance for all windows. Chairs are upholstered in different solid colors – soft green, a deep salmon pink, more like Chinese red and white. Pillows continue the same color scheme and are of green, red, and yellow, and the rug is of soft green. On the other side of the rounded windows are niches for figurines and small pots of cactus; a nest of tables, secretary and another table are stained gray and Chinese red, with hand painted designs.”

“Between the living and dining rooms are broad, swinging doors of bamboo, and in the dining room a large, white woolly rug almost entirely covers the tile flooring. Furniture is a light-colored, finely textured wood, and various accessories include a large, covered dish on the buffet, resembling a head of lettuce, Kensington ware and hammered silver mirrors on either side of the door leading outside. Mrs. Taylor has made silver the predominating highlight in this room as she did the copper in the living room. Hiding from view the swinging door leading to the kitchen is a large, pale salmon screen, made by Sloane, with each of the small squares decorated with some sort of food, from celery and soup to vegetables and fruits.”

“Between the dining room and immaculately-white kitchen is a butler’s pantry, and beyond the downstairs bedrooms for the children and their nurse and bath.”

“There are two upstairs bedrooms. One is done in Chinese red, accentuated by the neutral colored rugs, light, tinted walls, and built-in shelves. Furniture is gay, hand designed. There is an adjoining bath. The second bedroom, which Mrs. Taylor uses, has blue walls and gay floral pictures. This is the room Mrs. Taylor says reminds her of Czecho-Slovakia, and has been decorated daringly, but effectively, with shades ranging from pale pink to deep coral and red. The heart is the predominating design used on the light-colored furniture, carried out strikingly in the chair with the heart-shaped back that is placed in front of the vanity. This is the room that looks out onto the balcony. There is an adjoining bath, in green, with glass enclosed shower.”

Margaret Lambert Taylor was born on December 16, 1916, in Pittsburgh PA., the daughter of a wealthy steel company owner. Margaret’s father died of pneumonia in 1927, when Margaret was but 11 years old. Six years later (1933) Margaret’s mother died, Margaret was 17, this forced her to move in with relatives. On May 1, 1937, at age 21, Margaret married Job Taylor, a young attorney who was working in Pittsburgh. The couple were married in Wilkinsburg Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, by Job’s father, the Rev. George Taylor.

In 1940 Margaret and Job purchased this featured house in St. Pete, they had two child at that time, Peggy three and Cynthia, one and a half. The marriage however was on rocky ground and in 1941 Margaret divorced Job. Within a few months Job was married again to a young 20-year old socialite from New York,** Anne Harrison Flinchbaugh**. She was a direct descendant of the 9th President of the United States, William Henry Harrison. WWII began and Job took a commission as a Captain in the Army and was sent to Europe to serve in legal matters. While he was overseas his new wife began attending society parties, and while at the parties was stealing jewelry from the hosts bedrooms. She was caught and pleaded guilty to two counts of grand larceny. She was sentenced to an undetermined amount of time in the Westfield state farm for women.

Things were also getting interesting in St. Pete with Margaret, who after the divorce kept the house. Margaret began to spend time at the Chatterbox enjoying the live music from the house band which was led by Alfred Ruehrdanz. The couple struck up a relationship and Alfred soon divorced his wife and married Margaret, adopting her two children, Peggy and Cynthia and having a son of their own, Alfred III. Unfortunately, this marriage also ended in divorce in 1945, and Margaret put this featured home up for sale. Alfred was awarded custody of their mutual son, Alfred Jr. as well as Peggy and Cynthia (ages 10 & 7) who were not his children. It wasn’t long until Margaret filed a lawsuit for an overturning of the custody ruling, stating that she had only agreed to it because of threats Alfred made about making charges of ‘misconduct’ and threatening to parade the charges in public. Margaret contended that Alfred only wanted the $1000 per month that the children received from a trust fund. The Judge and jury saw it her way and the ruling was overturned and Peggy and Cynthia were returned to Margaret, as was Alfred Jr.

Margaret married one final time to **A.R. Reed III **of Miami and remained married until her death in Hollywood Florida on October 23, 1991.

Note: This house was very recently demolished and a new structure has gone up in its place. I don’t usually post houses that are now gone, but this one was torn down not long ago and the story of the original house and Margaret Taylor was worth posting.

2022 New Construction

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