Then and Now — 1932 & 2022 — 490 23rd Ave. No.
From a 1937 Times Article: “Residence of Dr. and Mrs. W.E. Wyman is most attractive. It is of gray stucco and red brick trim. One feature is that the baseboard, door frames and windowsills are of stone. One of the distinguishing marks about the residence is that there is no woodwork. Instead, baseboards, windowsills and door frames are of marble. This is only one of the many features that make the home distinctive and unusual. In the sun-parlor the ceiling is of cypress; in the living room is a huge travertine fireplace, and on its ceiling an artistic bas-relief in ivory. There is a bas-relief grape design as a molding in the dining room, and other artistic effects to make the house different.”
“Looking at the residence from the outside, no one would think it had 10 rooms. It has, however, and all of them are roomy and cherry. Venetian blinds at all the windows, the broker Spanish finish is used on the walls and furnishings throughout are modern and comfortable. In the bedrooms, furniture made in California has been installed and it is colorful and most attractive.”
“A small entrance in the front of the home opens directly into the living room – a most attractive part of the house with the fireplace, bookcase filled handsomely with bound books and polished floors. Black silhouettes on the wall bring out its rich tan coloring, while other artistic effects include paintings and pieces of sculpture made by Mrs. Wyman. The electric light fixtures are finished with iron grille work.”
“Arched doorways lead into the sun-parlor, which faces north, east and west, and also into the dining room where some choice oil paintings of flowers are hung. The room is furnished in mahogany, and leads into the kitchen, electrically equipped, a breakfast nook and rear porch. There is also a bedroom with adjoining bath.”
“The stairway leading to the second floor leads from the living room to the kitchen. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, all attractively designed and furnished. There is a blue room with ivory furnishings, a green room with California furniture and an ivory room that is as luxuriously attractive as any seen in the screen’s society dramas. From the window of the blue room in the rear one glimpses a beautiful vista overlooking Crescent Lake.”
“Off the ivory bedroom are two adjoining rooms, one used as a study and the other as a studio for Mrs. Wyman. There is also a bathroom, in green and black with a flock of bird models on the wall.”
“The house is of gray stucco, trimmed with red brick, and is surrounded with attractively landscaped grounds planted with palm trees and other sub-tropical foliage. At the side of the house in a nook, is a statue, “Gretchen” made by Mrs. Wyman.”
This house was purchased in 1932 by Mrs. Marguerite Blocker Holmes. Marguerite led a very interesting life. She was born Marguerite Blocker, on November 14, 1892, the daughter of pioneer railroader John C. Blocker who was the first engineer to bring an Orange Belt train into St. Pete after tracks were laid in 1888 (Marguerite rode the last train to leave the downtown Atlantic Coast Line Railroad depot on June 2, 1963).
Marguerite was an early day teacher at St. Pete High School and on the original faculty at St. Pete Junior College. During her 15-year career with the Pinellas County School system she was chairwoman of the English Department at both institutions.
Marguerite had attended grade school near the spot where the city hall now stands and later was a 1912 graduate of St. Pete High. It was also in 1912 that Marguerite, wrapped in an American flag, appeared as Goddess of Liberty in the Washington’s Birthday parade, the forerunner of the Festival of States Parade. For several years her photo was used on the back of promotional brochures for the city.
After graduating High School Marguerite enrolled at Stetson University in Deland, FL. where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. She later earned her master’s degree at Columbia University and had even studied one summer at Oxford University in England. Marguerite was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
On June 3, 1918, Marguerite, and Everett Starr Johnson (Everett worked for the Central National Bank) were married at First Presbyterian Church in St. Pete. After the wedding the couple’s honeymoon up north was cut short by a telegram from the draft board in Clearwater, Everett’s draft number was called, and he had to return to Pinellas County immediately. On July 16, 1918 (9 days after receiving his telegram) Everett was mustered out to Hattiesburg MS. When Everett, and the other 16 men from St. Pete who were called up, arrived at Clearwater to head to war, they were met by a cheering crowd and a band. Marguerite returned to teaching at SPHS (where she had begun in 1916) and began waiting for the war to end. Less than three months later Marguerite received a telegram that Everett had contracted the flu (this was the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic) and was in critical condition at an Army hospital in New Jersey. She wasted no time in boarding the first train north to be at her husband’s side. Within a week of her arrival Everett had turned the corner and was beginning to improve in health. After staying as long as she could, Marguerite returned to St. Pete, and on October 8, 1919, she gave birth to their first child, Samuel. Everett survived the war and in 1920 the couple had their second son, Joseph. By 1921 the marriage had begun to falter and by 1922 the couple had divorced. On July 23, 1923, Marguerite married Theron Clark Holmes, a medical doctor, who had just arrived in St. Pete to open a practice. Unfortunately, this marriage also ended in divorce in 1930. It was also in 1930 that Marguerite was working on her master’s degree at Columbia University and met George Bartlett. They were both taking a Journalism class (George was a newspaper man who became a feature writer for the St. Pete Times) and they couple hit it off. They were married in 1935. Three was a charm, for this marriage lasted 42 years until George died in 1977 (he was buried in Royal Palm Cemetery in St. Pete next to his parents). Marguerite passed away on July 15, 1985, at age 92, she is buried in the Blocker family plot at Greenwood Cemetery in St. Pete.
Following their marriage in 1935, Marguerite and George, put this featured house on the market and in 1936 it sold to Dr. William Wyman, a physician, and his wife Carol (this was the family who was featured in the 1937 Times article above). Dr. Wyman died in 1941 at age 57, leaving Carol with the house, where she lived for three more years and then sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Jones in 1944. The Jones family only lived in the house for a year when they sold it to Dr. Arthur G. Lane, a retired psychiatrist from New Jersey state hospital, and his wife Maryette (29 years his junior), also retired from psychiatric social work. Arthur died in 1954 at the age of 73 leaving Maryette to live in this house until her passing on January 21, 1986, at age 75. In all the Lane’s lived in this house for 41 years.
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