555 5th Ave N 33701

Then and Now — 1934 & 2022 555 5th Ave No.

From 1934: “Just around the corner from Mirror Lake Park, this home appeals to those desiring to live close to the tourist activities. Impressive Colonial entrance with spacious tile porch; 28-ft living room, with fireplace and built-in features; column entrance to dining room; large tile kitchen, tile service porch, tile lavatory, and toilet downstairs; parquet flooring in living room and dining room; upstairs master bedroom with twin beds, two other corner bedrooms, large tile bath. House completely equipped with high grade furniture including Frigidaire, Wilton rugs, Beauty Rest mattresses, radio, etc.; all new drapes and curtains. Extra durable hollow tile and stucco construction. Beautiful corner lot with shade trees, palms and shrubbery. Garage. The very finest close in home available at $10,500. Be sure to see it.”

This house was purchased in 1936 by the Whipple children, Fred, Clara, Harry and Rose. The children owned the house from 1936 until 1962 (26 years). The “Four Whipples” as they were called were prominent in the late 1890’s as pioneers in the use of refrigerator train cars to ship fruit and produce. The Whipple children were born in Ledyard Connecticut. Fred Whipple was born on March 21, 1861; Clara on March 5, 1864; Harry on December 5, 1867; and Rose on January 21, 1870.

The four children never married. They lived together and conducted all of their business affairs jointly. In 1899, the opened one of the first washing machine plants in the country at Westerly, RI, and were the first to send out trial washing machines for the American home.

After a severe frost destroyed their 13-acre farm in Westerly, the “four Whipples” went south to Beaufort and Port Royal, SC., where they bought plantations from $10 to $25 per acre. It was from here that they shipped their produce North by means of iced freight cars. When they returned to Rhode Island, they sold their land for $1,800 an acre.

By the early 1930’s the “four Whipples” decided to come to St. Pete where they would spend their winters. They purchased this featured home and the four moved in. Ultimately, they spent most of their time in St. Pete.

Fred was the first to pass away, he died June 9, 1939, followed by Harry on September 9, 1943, then Clara on December 16, 1947. Rose, the youngest, lived longest, passing away on July 27, 1962, at the age of 92. There being no other heirs, Rose left the money from the estate to three local hospitals equally. Mound Park, St. Anthony’s and Mercy hospital each received $90,000.

All four of the Whipple children are buried in Ledyard Union Cemetery in Connecticut.

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