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Howard Frankland: Bridge boosted corridor growth

Some said no one would use it. Others called it a death trap. The span survived and is the bay's most-used bridge.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 16, 2002

The "How Weird" Frankland, the "Frankenstein," "Frankland's Folly." Pet names have been in ample supply for the Old Tampa Bay-spanning bridge.

One state highway official called it a "death trap" after it opened it 1960. Others said no one would use the $6.5-million bridge. But it became part of the new Interstate system, brought extensive growth along its corridor, and remains by far the most traveled of the bay's bridges. A second span was opened alongside the original in 1991.

William Howard Frankland proposed the bridge and its location, insisting the land between the Gandy Bridge and Courtney Campbell Parkway were ripe for development. He came to Tampa in 1925 and founded Pioneer Tire. The son of a Tennessee horse buggy seller, Frankland became a prominent Tampa merchant, banker and member of the old state Road Board.

He also founded Rubber Products Inc., still run by his family members today. Frankland died in 1980 at age 70.

Frankland Road in the Golfview neighborhood was also named for him. Some of his descendants live there.

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