A legacy of waterways
As a congressman, Stephen Sparkman secured millions of dollars for the development of rivers and harbors in the region.
By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 21, 2002
History remembers Stephen Sparkman as a city father, a man who truly put a spark in Tampa's development.
But his grandson Lamar Sparkman remembers him in other ways.
Like how he would deftly hook Lamar -- now a retired cartoonist and artist -- around the neck with his walking cane's handle and draw him in when he wanted to tell a story. And Lamar can still smell the aromas of granddaddy's beloved cigars, and of the big fried chicken and biscuits dinners held on Sundays at his grand neo-classical house on Nebraska Avenue.
A native of Brooksville, Sparkman studied law in Tampa and was appointed state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit in 1878. He also served as a lawyer for Henry Plant for many years. Sparkman was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1894, and represented the region through 10 consecutive terms. He lost his re-election bid in 1917, and returned to private law practice in Tampa.
In the last six years of his congressional term, Sparkman served as the chairman of the powerful Rivers and Harbors Committee. He secured millions of dollars for the development of rivers and harbors in the region, and particularly Tampa's ports. One of the channels Sparkman helped create is named for him. It separates Harbour Island from the Port of Tampa and is still a major artery for shipping.
He died in 1929 at 69.
City Times: The rest of the stories
Please, install some sod
Growth welcome in homes for elderly
Flour, sugar and a whole lot of hot water
Neighbors complain of speeding watercraft
A legacy of waterways
Gala's guests battle the blues
He served his country as well as his family
Where seniors live in South Tampa
A guide to county services
Cookie crumbles for dessert shop
Developers take hint from history
You can see, but not hear through these windows
Warehouse may bow to upscale living space
Club hooks fishing pier for park
Beauty and balance
Homes for Alzheimer's patients are hard to find
Seawall blasting starts project to recreate port