515 Brightwaters Blvd NE 33704

Then and Now — 1934 & 2022 515 Brightwaters Blvd. (Snell Isle)

From 1934: “With the whole world to choose from and with previous experiences of having lived in Europe and California,  Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Henry McConkey, who have resided at 515 Brightwater Blvd, Snell Isle, have chosen St. Petersburg for their home. Coming here after McConkey had retired as a broker in stocks, bonds, and life insurance, in the west and central west, they enjoyed the city and its climate so much that they decided to live here permanently. They first purchased a home in Pasadena and then moved to the residence in which they are now located.”

“Both beauty and a historical background are found at the Snell Isle home, considered one of the prettiest waterfront properties in the city. Of hollow tile construction with buff-colored stucco finish and red-tiled roof, the house, of imposing Spanish design, commands a splendid view of Tampa Bay and at the same time attracts the admiring attention of the passers-by.”

“Although the house is comparatively new, being built in 1927, a part of it dates back many years. For instance, the tile for the roof was imported from Barcelona, Spain, while the tile on the floor of the living room was once the floor of a Spanish monastery and was trod by monks about 150 years ago. There are many treasures in the house, collected by Mr. and Mrs. McConkey during travels abroad, including valuable pieces of Spanish bronze and cloisonne ware. In all the rooms are costly Persian and oriental rugs. The rooms, light and airy, are comfortable and pleasant and are beautifully furnished.”

“The house, built by S.V. Schooley and purchased by Lou Cleveland, who never occupied it, is one of the few in the city that is “firred” and thus guarantees it against any dampness or cold. It consists of 12 rooms, five baths, a three-car garage, and servants’ quarters.”

“No convenience has been overlooked in making the home comfortable and wholly delightful. It is electrically heated and modern throughout. It occupies a large tract of land with 140-foot frontage on Brightwater Blvd., a 168-foot frontage on the waterfront and riparian rights extending 140 feet into Tampa Bay. The McConkeys are justly proud of their pier, of solid concrete. This extends 30 feet into the water, is seven feet wide and 27 feet long. There also is a seawall, which adds to the beauty of the grounds, which, landscaped with coconut palm trees and sub-tropical shrubbery, makes an ideal background for the Mediterranean type of architecture.”

“The living room is one of the most attractive parts of the house, being of vast proportions and having a fireplace at one end. There is iron grille work at the doors leading into the dining room and the sun parlor and a pecky cypress ceiling. The windows overlook well-kept grounds and a splendid view of Tampa Bay.”

“One of the most inviting rooms is in the tower from the windows of which one can look across the bay and get an excellent view of the city of St. Petersburg. Bedrooms on the second floor are furnished beautifully, especially the master suite which carried out a Spanish detail in its furnishings of brown walnut. Another bedroom that is especially clever has a tiny window resembling a porthole of a ship.”

“The house was designed by Kiehnel and Elliot, architects for the Florida Military academy, formerly the Rolyat hotel, and the Snell Building.”

“From an artistic standpoint it has few equals in St. Petersburg, and from a homelike standpoint is un-paralleled.”

This house was built in 1927 and first owned, but never lived in by Lou Cleveland. In 1932 Lou did a house swap with Edwin Henry McConkey, who was living at 210 Fern Ave. in Pasadena (the two-story, Spanish style house, at 210 Fern Ave. was torn down many years ago. Fern Ave located between 1st Ave So. & 66th Street, later became Pasadena Ave.)

Edwin was born in 1875 in Maryland and later moved to Chicago and became a wealthy stockbroker. Edwin married a young lady named Mildred and the couple had two children, Mildred, and Elmer. By 1917 Edwin and Mildred had divorced and Edwin had remarried. His second wife, Elizabeth, was 22 and he, 38. In 1926, Edwin filed for divorce from Elizabeth, but they must have reconciled, because no divorce was recorded. It was also in 1926 that Edwin retired, and with Elizabeth, moved to St. Pete for his health. As mentioned above, Edwin and Elizabeth first settled in Pasadena. In 1930, Edwin and Elizabeth had a son (Edwin Jr.). Edwin Jr. attended local schools and graduated from St. Pete High School in 1947.

Edwin and his family lived in this featured house from 1932 until he died in October of 1939. After Edwin’s passing Elizabeth sold the house and moved to 435 17th Ave NE with Edwin Jr., a house more manageable in size. Edwin is buried at Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete.

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