6501 Pasadena Ave N 33710

Then and Now — 1926, 1948 & 2021 — 6501 Pasadena Ave No. (was 300 65th St. No.) The Walter Donovan Estate.

Built in 1926 by Boom time land developer Walter H. Donovan. Donovan was born July 9, 1896 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to Alford and Sallie Donovan. Around 1900 the Donovan’s moved to New Jersey where his father sold Real Estate and his mother ran a boarding house.

About 1917 Walter’s parents moved to St. Petersburg and Walter followed along. In 1918 Walter enlisted in the Army and served as a private during WWI. After the war Walter joined his father’s Real Estate business, “Donovan & Divine” located at 516 Central Ave. (W.F. Divine was his father’s partner).

In 1923 “Donovan & Divine” closed and re-opened as “Donovan & Sons” and Walter was now a full real estate partner in the family business (along with brother Thomas).

The boom was getting into full swing and Donovan & Sons were on the cutting edge with other developers such as Handsome Jack Taylor (Pasadena Estates) and Charles R. Hall (Lakewood Estates) to name just a couple. Donovan & Sons were developers of Lake Pasadena Estates in 1923. A number of stately homes were designed and built by the Donovan’s including the most grand home of them all at 300 65th St. No. (pictured) which became the residence of Walter Donovan. The Donovans also developed Inter-Bay, Pasadena Park, Belle Vista Beach, and Palm Harbor.

The home at 300 65th St No was described in 1926 as a “palatial residence of frame construction. Spacious and inviting, this charming home suggests the true spirit of the South, and lends an air of quiet dignity to the surrounding neighborhood.” In 1948 it was described as having “a large living room, formal dining room, glassed-in playroom, breakfast nook, butler’s pantry, east and west sun rooms, 5 bed rooms, 4 baths, maids quarters above the garage.” It sold in 1948 for $30,000 by Daniel Driscoll of Harshaw and Co.

Now, back to Walter — who lived in this house — Walter and his father were proponents (in 1926) of building a causeway from Central Avenue to the Gulf Beaches and pushed the idea strongly with the city council. At one point the Donovan’s had worked at financing the bridge and made a deal for a piece of Gulf front property at 112th Ave in the town of Treasure Island in trade for a bridge being built. This is a separate story (which has already been posted in Remember in St. Petersburg). In short the property was deeded by Walter Donovan to John N. Brown who held it in trust for the city of St. Pete until the completion of the bridge. This is how the city of St. Pete came to own a slice of beach front property on Treasure Island.

Anyway, back to Walter Donovan. Walter left the real estate development business after the depression hit and in 1933 was appointed by Florida Governor Dave Sholtz to the state racing commission. This appointment brought him to national prominence and Walter ended up twice as President of the National Association of Racing Commissioners.

Walter H. Donovan died on September 11, 1991 at age 95 in Cherry Hill New Jersey. But you can still drive by his grand estate at 300 65th Street No. in Lake Pasadena Estates.

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6501 Pasadena Ave N 33710
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