Then and Now — 1934 & 2022 — 525 49th Street No. (was Disston Blvd)
From 1934: “Highest and Healthiest Spot in Town – Solidly constructed and especially adapted to year ‘round Florida climate conditions. Large tile living porch, living room across entire front, dining room, handy kitchen, extra toilet and lavatory, service porch and porte-cochere entrance down; three fine corner bedrooms, two exceptionally large sleeping porches and tile bath with built-in tub and shower upstairs; has oak floors down, new interior decorations and outside paint; furnishings include electric range and automatic fuel oil water heater; lot 50 X 100 with palms, oaks, cement drive to two-car garage. $3,850.”
This house was built in 1926 and owned from 1934 until 1940 by Hugh Newkirk Carson, his wife and two daughters. He was in the auto industry and had retired as a machinist with Ford Motor Co. The Carsons sold the house in 1941 to Frederick M. Walters and his wife Sophie who lived there until 1952 when they sold it to Robert and Cornelia Gumbiner, who owned the house for over 50 years.
Robert Nathanial Gumbiner was born on August 5, 1917, in Belle Plaine, Iowa, the 3rd of 8 children. His father worked as a clothing salesman. By 1930 the family had made their way to Gary Indiana by way of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Robert received his schooling in Gary Indiana, attending the newly opened Horace Mann High School, from which he graduated in 1936. During High School Robert was active in the High School Band where he played drums and xylophone and performed xylophone solos at local church and community events. His love for band music was to show later in life when his son Hal would become Band Captain at Boca Ciega High School in 1966.
Robert’s father died in 1937, a year after Robert graduated from High School, and the working age children did what they could to help their mother with the expenses of running the household. His mother Vera was working in a dress factory. This did not stop Robert however from earning a degree in architecture. In 1941 Robert joined the WWII war effort by enlisting in the US Army. He was stationed throughout the war in Tampa, and his brother in St. Pete. It was during this period of his life that he made the decision that he would one day return to this area and make it his home.
The war ended and Robert returned to Crown Point Indiana where his mother was living. In 1947 Robert married Ms. Cornelia R. Hitt and the couple had three sons, Hal, Barry, and Kimble and one daughter, Robin. In 1950 Robert and Cornelia decided to make that permanent move to Florida, which Robert had envisioned during his war years. They packed the family and moved to St. Pete just in time to find this featured house on the market. They fell in love with the house and made the purchase and it would stay in the family for the next 52 years.
Robert began working locally as an architect and designed several local buildings including the First Christian Church of Largo and Westminster Shores. Robert died on June 3, 1992, at age 74. He was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery. Cornelia lived until she passed on July 23, 2001, at the age of 75. Cornelia had primarily been a homemaker but had also been a part-time secretary and usher for the St. Louis Cardinals for 20 years, the New York Mets for 12 years, and an events usher for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for three years. She was a charter member of Central Christian Church in St. Pete.
Cornelia was buried next to Robert at Memorial Park Cemetery.
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