Then and Now — 1938 & 2023 — 765 14th Ave No – (Crescent Lake)
From the 1960 Sales Ad: “Spacious, aristocratic MASONRY ranch style home. Overlooking sparkling Crescent Lake and surrounding Park. COMPLETELY FURNISHED. Formal entrance foyer opening into an 18 X 33 foot living room, separate dining room, kitchen, and butler’s pantry. 2 LARGE BEDROOMS (one air cond.) maid’s room or den, 2 colorful ceramic tile baths. Large Florida room with adjustable metal awnings. 2 car garage, separate laundry & furnace room with maid’s lavatory & shower. Ducted heat to every room. 75 X 100 foot lot professionally landscaped, underground sprinkler system. $21,000.”
This home, built in 1938, was one of the last designed and constructed by Oliver Le-May, who died on January 16, 1939. It was bult for Harry and May Meyer.
Harry Meyer was born on March 26, 1875, in Chicago Illinois, the eldest of 4 children, his father a general merchant. Harry received his limited schooling in Chicago, where he advanced to the 7th grade before dropping out to take on a job (presumably to help with family finances). Harry started working for the Armour Meat Co., which was headquartered in Chicago, eventually working his way up to assistant manager of the company by the time he retired. During his early years with Armour he worked as a traveling meat salesman and at different times lived in Indiana, New York, and New Jersey, ultimately ending back in the Chicago corporate office.
In the late 1890’s, while still in Chicago, Harry met Ms. May Helen Spencer, and the couple started a serious relationship. They were wed in Chicago on Christmas Day in 1897, he was 23 and she 26. Harry and May never had children.
After 40 years with the Armour Company, Harry and May decided it was time to retire and chose the Sunshine City as their retirement destination. They arrived in St. Pete in 1929, just as the boom times were ending, but certainly were still able to enjoy all the amenities the city offered, especially no bleak Chicago winters.
Harry and May were looking for a new home and ultimately settled on property overlooking Crescent Lake, they contracted in 1937 with Oliver Le-May, a local building contractor, to erect a typical Florida style home. The plans were made and the 5 room house with 2-car garage was permitted for a cost of $4,995.
Harry and May moved into the house in 1938 and lived a quintessential Florida retirement life for 15 years. On April 26, 1951, May died, she was 79 years old, and was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Pete. A year later Harry married Mrs. Edith Franklin Seidberg, a divorcee who had relocated to St. Pete in 1950. The marriage ended in divorce on April 14, 1957. Harry then lived alone in this house until he passed away on August 15, 1959, at age 84.
The house then went on the market and was sold in 1960.
This is a 1939 St. Pete Times article about the house written by Lillian Blackstone:
“If you want to see a typical Florida home – a residence that will make you want to settle down and have one just like it – visit the one-story bungalow of Mr. and Mrs. H. Meyer, 765 14th avenue north. The house is exceptionally well built, of hollow tile and steel framework, and poured concrete covering. Georgia clay tile roof with each tile cemented separately, and attic over the entire building. Inside, windowsills are tiled and baseboards are flush.”
“So many unusual details contribute to the beauty and efficiency of this home. Floors are of polished hardwood, with walnut borders; screening is of copper and Venetian blinds are at all the windows. Even outside, on the brick steps leading to the front door, there is an unusual touch in the corners, which, instead of being made of bricks and pieces of bricks, are single bricks, and were made to order in Georgia.”
“The house has a 150-foot frontage on Fourteenth avenue, 75 feet on the other street. The third side touches city park property, and for the reason the Meyer home will be the only domicile in this block.”
“Everything is so typically Florida – the terrace in front, at the side of the steps: the low wall in the rear, enclosing a patio that is already blooming with tropical plants. At the west side is the garage, connecting with the hallway that extends the width of the house. There is room for two automobiles, and off this is another room where the laundry is located.”
“The living room 18 X 30 feet, has large windows at both ends, providing broad vistas to the south or the north. The sun porch, connected with the living room by French doors, overlooks Crescent Lake; windows of the dining room have the same view.”
“Oriental rugs are used all through the house, and deep red drapes at the windows enrich their coloring. In the living room there is a handmade tile fireplace, over which hangs a round mirror. Crystal chandeliers are used in the center ceiling in this and the dining room. The house is air-conditioned for summer months; in winter forced hot air heats the rooms.”
“The kitchen is one of the prettiest in St. Petersburg, entirely in red and white even to the red handles on the stove. It is electrically equipped; the drainboard is of stainless steel; the red Venetian blinds are at the window.”
“Besides these rooms are a powder room; dressing room; bedroom with red maple furniture, and another with mahogany, and baths. Indirect lighting is used in the bathrooms; the tub is enclosed in glass. Doors are chromium trimmed, have full length mirrors. Woodwork is white, and walls are of tan.”
“A typical Florida home, whichever viewpoint you take.”
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