405 15th Ave NE 33704

Then and Now — 1935 & 2022 405 15th Ave NE

From 1935: “To close an estate, this fine North Shore home must be sold. Two-story, interlocking hollow tile structure. Spacious downstairs, including living room, dining room, tiled sun porch with French doors opening onto lawn, large airy kitchen, breakfast room, service porch and besides, there is a lovely bedroom and tile bath downstairs. Upstairs, there is a large master bedroom, two other bedrooms, and two tile baths. Plenty of closets throughout the house, radiator heat, automatic hot water heater. Nice corner lot facing south with profusion of Royal palms, beautiful trees and shrubbery. Two-car Garage.

This house was built in 1926 and first owned by Bernard and Reina Gaines. Bernard Charles Gaines was born on March 5, 1885, in Burlington Kentucky to one of the largest landowners in Boone County. His father, William, was a very prominent farmer and active in political and social life in Kentucky. Bernard was the youngest of two children.

Bernard received his schooling in Burlington and upon graduation in 1904 decided to attend the University of Michigan. He attended the University from 1906 – 1908 and then returned home to help his father run the farm. While attending college in Michigan, Bernard met Ms. Reina Blackburn and the couple fell in love. They waited until Reina graduated from college to be married. On June 10, 1912, just days after graduating, Reina and Bernard were married. Their wedding announcement in the paper stated that they would set up housekeeping at their country home in Burlington, KY, called ‘Maplehurst’. Nine months later their only child, Helen (whom they called ‘Honey’) was born.

In the early 1920’s Bernard and Reina began coming to St. Pete for the winter season and fell in love with the Sunshine City. They purchased this featured home in 1929 and lived here until they sold it in 1935, following the death of Bernard’s father in 1934. Since the sales ad from 1935 states that this house was being sold to ‘settle an estate’, it is possible that Bernard’s father had some connection with the purchase.

By 1936, Bernard and Reina had begun spending most of their year in St. Pete and only returning to the family farm in Kentucky for a couple of months in the summer.

Reina died on January 3, 1951, and was buried in the Gaines plot at Highland Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell, KY. By 1954 Bernard was remarried to Alice S. Weathers and the couple lived here in St. Pete until Bernard’s passing on January 22, 1964. Bernard was buried next to Reina. Alice lived until 1982 when she passed away at 82 years of age. She is buried next to Bernard and Reina.

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