Then and Now — 1935 & 2022 — 446 21st Ave NE
From a 1937 “Lillian Blackstone” Times article: “There’s a southern charm about the Ann Hathaway type of home at 446 21stAvenue Northeast, where Mr. and Mrs. John H. Sale, winter residents from Louisville, KY., spend the greater part of the year.”
“The home, from the outside, is most attractive, with the iron grilled railing leading to the door, the front gable and the heavy planting of crotons, hibiscus, poinsettias, and azaleas around the foundation. Mrs. Sale is planning to have hollyhocks at either side of the front door and these, when in full bloom, will add another effective note which cannot be overlooked. On the east side of the home is bougainvillea, and around the rear grounds is a white trellis fence along which has been planted a healthy flame vine. This made a beautiful picture recently when in full bloom.”
“There has been special landscaping on the grounds, including the planting of trees which give Mr. and Mrs. Sale all the citrus fruit they can eat. They can supply their table with oranges, grapefruit, lemons and calamondin. The lemons weigh several pounds.”
“One enters the front door directly into the living room – a comfortable part of the house, with its fireplace, its etchings and tapestries on the wall, its comfortable furniture, and the thick green carpet. The living room is connected with the dining room by an arched door, and from the dining room one steps into a sun porch where the Sales spend much of their time. It is most attractive, with green furniture, table for magazines, and desk for writing letters. It overlooks the grounds which have been laid in azaleas, flaming poinsettia, and other flowers. The birds like to come to this secluded spot, and to gave out over the vista, such as only nature can provide, is to give one an inspirational design for living.”
“The kitchen in the rear of the home, leading off from the dining room, is electrically equipped, and on the other side of the house are the two bedrooms and bath. The bath is in green orchid, and the bedrooms, respectively, are in tan and gold and pink.”
“The walls of the house are of rough finish, so significant of Florida architecture, there are Venetian blinds at the windows, and all rooms are equipped with radiators as a provision against cool weather. The house has been well built and was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Sale before its completion. They have lived in it since last year, having resided the year before in a rented home in the same neighborhood.”
“Mr. Sale, who celebrated his 86th birthday recently, is a most unusual man. On the walls are etchings – – his own handiwork. Like many Kentucky colonels, he is extremely fond of the derby, so many of the pictures are of thoroughbred Kentucky horses. There are many, too, of dogs. He never had an art lesson in his life but has been able always to do good work with pen, brush, crayons or pencil.”
“In the living room are large tapestries, also his work. He tells how he was at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893 when he saw tapestry such as graces his front walls. He asked the artist in charge if he could learn to do the work, was assured that he could. He discovered that it was not woven, although it had the same effect. It was made of dye work and the samples in his hoe are proof of Mr. Sale’s artistic ability.”
“At the close of the civil war when he was a young boy, Sale was on his way to New Orleans on the boat “City of Richmond” and on this vessel was Jefferson Davis with his staff officers. It was after Davis’ surrender. Jefferson Davis was sitting on a chair, and the young Sale got out his sketch book and began making a portrait. One of the officers stood behind him, watching, and asked if he might show it to Davis. Davis looked at the picture with interest, commented upon it enthusiastically, and asked if he might have it. Young Sale replied in the affirmative, but with one provision – that he might draw another picture. So, Jefferson Davis posed again, and when the picture was finished said it was the finest, he had ever seen, absent-mindedly put it in his pocket and walked away.”
“Mr. Sale is the last member of the Sale family which dates back to some of the illustrious people in history. Zachary Taylor’s daughter married Capt. William Sale, one of Mr. Sale’s ancestors, and the name Sale is contemporary in United States history with that of George Washington. He met John Wilkes Booth and recalls the night the tragedy when Lincoln was shot. He has seen Edwin Booth on stage many times, as well as other famous men and women.”
“Mr. Sale lived in California, Missouri, and Georgia, and states emphatically that he likes St. Petersburg the best. His wife bears him out in this, and the two are hoping to spend most of the year here.”
John H. Sale was born in February of 1852, in Kentucky, he was the 4th of 8 children, his father worked in a brick yard. After receiving his schooling in local schools, John took a position as a store clerk at age 18.
On February 16, 1871, at age 19, John Married Ms. Virginia ‘Jennie’ May Parr. The couple had one son, Marmaduke (1885). By age 28, John had gone into the marble stone business, opening his own company, and becoming very successful. Besides his marble business, John had branched out into real estate and stock brokerage. By 1920, John had retired and moved with his wife and son to California. Marmaduke had earned his degree in law, but only used his education in handling the family’s sizeable fortune and interests. Marmaduke had a long habit of drinking himself into a stupor and on at least five occasions was arrested for drunken and violent behavior, finally spending 30 days in jail for his conduct. Tragedy struck the family when in 1927, their only child, Marmaduke, died at age 41. Strange circumstances led to his death. He was at home in Los Angeles with his parents on October 25th when he arose early for breakfast and then went upstairs to prepare for a hunting trip he had scheduled with two friends. Minutes after going upstairs his parents heard a shot gun blast and rushing up found Marmaduke fatally shot in the side of his abdomen. The family indicated to the police that Marmaduke was in good spirits that morning and that no suicide note was found. The police detective however was not convinced and declared that the death seemed to him to be suicide due to the angle of the blast. There was never a follow up in the papers about the death. On March 11, 1930, Jennie Sale died at age 77, leaving John who was 78. The following year John was remarried to Caroline Fryer and by 1935 the couple had decided to move to St. Pete. where they purchased this featured house which was still under construction.
John died here in St. Pete on December 18, 1939; he was 88. John, Jennie, and Marmaduke are all buried in Jennie’s family (the Parr’s) plot at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. Caroline remarried in 1940 to Thomas S. Miller and she lived in this house until 1957 when it was sold to the Eustis family.
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