Then and Now— 1926 & 2022 — 690 64th St. So. (Pasadena)
From a 1936 Times Article: “Among the homes beautiful of St. Petersburg is the John L. Talcott residence at 690 64th Street So. Of authentic Spanish architecture, it attracts the eye of the passer-by and conjures thoughts of Spain with its wrought iron work, its balconies, walled yard, and thick tile roof.”
“The house is 10 years old and was built by Mr. and Mrs. Talcott. They spend their winters here and, in the summers, alternate between an apartment in Hartford, Ct., and a home in Westbrook. It is not difficult to know that they prefer their southern home.”
“The house is of smooth white stucco, with heavy vines already creeping up over the walls. Against the structure, particularly toward the left, is a mass of green foliage and almost next to the arched front door is a tall fir tree. Crotons, arbor vitae, and abundant green bushes are arranged artistically. There is also a hedge of the familiar Turk’s cap around the walls encompassing the courtyard in the rear.”
“In some ways, the house resembles a Spanish village in feudal times, the front part reminiscent of the chapel, and the rest of the building a more or less rambling structure, with nooks and crannies, balconies and high windows.”
“To the right of the front door, elevated slightly, is a barred window; above are the three windows leading from the second story of the house. To the left is a one-story wing, with low windows in the front and also on the other side of the room overlooking the courtyard. To the right is a one-story addition, with balcony upstairs leading from one of the bedrooms. Below, to the right, just off the driveway, is a grilled entrance to the home. The house extends far into the rear, consisting of a dining room, kitchen, and servants’ quarters.”
“The house is considered one of the beauty spots of the city and because of the authenticity of its architecture is a delight to those who understand the Spanish type of home. Red awnings at the front windows add a colorful touch and provide just enough contrast to the white of the home and the surrounding green foliage to make the scene interesting.”
This house was built in 1926 by John Ledyard Talcott Jr. and his wife Carolyn. At the time of construction, the house was a part of the “Pasadena on the Gulf” development and located near the 14th tee of the “Bear Creek Country Club Golf Course”, which was operated by golf legend, Walter Hagan.
John Talcott Jr. was born on April 28, 1876, in New York, and was a direct descendant of John Talcott, a founder of Hartford Ct. John received his schooling in Buffalo New York and on May 4, 1894, at age 18, married Ms. Phebe Etta Green. The couple had a daughter Mildred in 1895. Phebe died unexpectedly in 1900, leaving John to raise 5-year-old Mildred. John moved into his mother’s home in Buffalo (she had been a widow for 13 years) where she helped in the rearing of Mildred. During this period John listed his occupation on the census as “at home” and it was apparent that the family had sufficient funds that John didn’t have to work. It was around 1915 that John entered an enterprise as President of the Strand Theater Company in Hartford. This enterprise lasted until 1920 when it was dissolved, and John once again began listing his occupation on the census as ‘none’. On October 4, 1921, John married Carolyn Heins,16 years his junior. The couple never had children. It was around this time that John and Carolyn began spending their winters in St. Pete. John was an avid golfer and had met Walter Hagan, golf pro and operator of the Bear Creek Golf Club at Pasadena on the Gulf. Hagan recommended that John and Carolyn drive out to Pasadena Estates and look at the properties that were available on the golf course. John and Carolyn did just that, and when they had arrived at Pasadena on the Gulf (on 64th Street So. — then called 65th Street) and drove through the grand coquina arched entranceway, they immediately fell in love with the surroundings. They chose a property on 64th street, across from the 14th tee, and just south of Bear Creek. Construction was begun immediately. John and Carolyn lived in this house every winter from 1926 until John passed away on December 21, 1941, he was 65 years old. Carolyn sold the home in 1943 to Mrs. Edith L. Byron who lived there 13 years and then sold it to Commander George Edward Morris Jr. (US Coast Guard Commander) in 1956.
In 1939, George, along with his wife, daughter (Mary Ann) and newly born son, Scott, were assigned to the US Coast Guard vessel ‘Research’ in Manilla, Philippines when Pearl Harbor was bombed. They moved to Corregidor where a large number of ships were at anchor. Thus, Morris was caught in the first Japanese bombing raid. “The ships were so close together, they couldn’t miss.” He recalled. His ship, “Research” was badly damaged and finally sunk, so George was moved to Corregidor as a liaison with the Navy and worked with the Army Map service. When Corregidor fell, he was made prisoner and removed to the big camp at Cabanatuan. His family was interned at Santo Tomas. The next few years moved slowly for the Morris family. There was little to eat at Santo Tomas and George’s wife Katherine struggled to find food enough to feed her children. In December 1944, George was placed on a prisoner ship in Subic Bay which was headed for Japan. The shipped was bombed and George had to swim a half mile with others to the shoreline. George was then loaded onto a freighter heading to Formosa and was again bombed in the harbor there. Finally, in January 1945, he reached Japan. By then, George weighed 95 pounds. George was liberated by the 7th Fleet in September of 1945. After the war, George was reunited with his family. George retired from service in 1957 and took a teaching position at St. Pete Junior College where he taught math. The Morris family lived in this house until at least 1969. George died on November 7, 2003, at age 97.
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