455 17th Ave NE 33704

Then and Now — 1935 & 2022 — 455 17th Ave NE

From 1935: “In perfect condition, surrounded by pretty houses and fine neighbors. Near car line & waterfront park, 6 spacious rooms, lovely living and dining rooms with fireplace, 2 sunny bedrooms, bath and the coziest built-in conveniences. Laundry tubs & service porch. Completely and unusually well furnished including handsome rugs and furniture, radio, many books, lamps, pictures, vases, etc. bedding, dishes, kitchen utensils, electric toaster, iron and heater, lawn mower, hose, step ladder, garden tools, dandy work bench. $5,500”

This house was originally owned by Judge and Mrs. Arthur Rumford Thompson who owned it from 1928 until 1935.

Arthur, a descendant of Israel Putnam of Revolutionary War fame, was born on October 6, 1871, in Titusville, PA. to Ebenezer and Mary Thompson. Arthur was the youngest of 5 children. Arthur’s father owned a local drug store. Arthur attended local schools and after graduating High School entered Cornell University (1891) where he earned a bachelor’s degree. Arthur then attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Law Degree in 1895. Arthur was quick to set up his private law practice which he located in Washington DC. In 1907, Arthur married Ms. Mary Peck and they had two children, Arthur Jr (1908) and Ethel (1912). It was also this year that Arthur took an appointed position in Havana Cuba as Assistant Attorney of Cuba. By 1910, Arthur moved back to Washington DC and continued his private practice in International Law.

In 1914, Arthur’s mother passed away which prompted him to move his family back to Pennsylvania to care for his 80 year old father. It was during this period that Arthur was elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which earned him the title of ‘Judge’. Arthur’s father died in 1926 allowing him to move with Mary to St. Pete where he established a local law practice. In 1929 Arthur was elected Mayor of St. Pete and was responsible for getting the city back on sound financial ground following its default on bond payments following the stock market crash. Arthur was quoted during the 1936 presidential race as stating “I don’t believe in a solidly Democratic state or a solid Republican state. Competition and rivalry in politics give to the community the same benefits it does in business where it is the life of trade.”

Mary died on May 27, 1946, at age 75. By 1950, Arthur was living with his daughter here in St. Pete until the time of his death on November 10, 1954.

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