650 38th Ave S 33705

Then and Now — 1935 & 2023 650 38th Ave So.

From 1935: “Admirers of a typical southern home nestled in an abundance of fruit and shrubbery, located near beautiful ‘Bayou Bonita’, convenient to fishing and boating; stores and carline. 8 room, 2-story frame in spic and span condition, completely and attractively furnished; including new electric refrigerator, electric range and instant hot water system. 4 lovely corner bedrooms, oak floors, 2-car garage, separate wash house with commode. 75 ft lot in beautiful neighborhood. Price $4,950.”

This house, built in the 1920’s was originally owned by John and Magdalena Jurgens. John Frederick Jurgens was born in Germany on September 28, 1855. At age 26, John had saved enough money to immigrate to the US and in 1882 arrived at Ellis Island in NY. John’s first job in New York was that of a carriage driver. By 1890 John had become a naturalized citizen. On August 13, 1891, John married Ms. Rebecca Watkins, a southern belle from Baton Rouge Louisiana. The couple had three children, Lewis (1892), Emma (1894) and a third who died in infancy. Rebecca became sick in 1900 and on John’s birthday, September 28, passed away from dysentery, leaving John to raise their two children, now ages 8 and 6.

It wasn’t long before John decided to move to Florida and initially chose Clearwater as his destination. By 1908 John had established a citrus grove in Clearwater and was packaging and selling fruit. Within a couple of years John had decided that St. Pete would be a better location to live, so he packed his children and their belongs and moved to the Big Bayou area of town.

Lena Peuser

On June 12, 1913, John married Ms. Magdalena Peuser who went by ‘Lena’, and had recently arrived from Scranton PA. They had a small private wedding with just a few friends and his children, now ages 21 and 19.

John was one of the earliest to settle on Big Bayou and loved the location and its waterfront properties.

By 1920 John had started an auto supply dealership in town and was doing rather well. In 1926, he and Lena were able to afford a 6 month trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland where they visited with family he hadn’t seen in over 40 years.

John and Lena had built another house on the property just behind this featured home, and placed this house for sale in 1935, moving into the newly built home. John would live three more years, passing away on May 10, 1940. He was buried at Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete.

Lena passed away on June 17, 1945 and is buried next to John.

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