Serving South Tampa
City Times: Published Fridays by the St. Petersburg Times

tampabay.com

printer version

What's in a name?

Colonel's clout got armory built

Homer Hesterly served in two World Wars and was president of Turner Marble and Granite Co.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 21, 2003


Georgia native Homer Wynne Hesterly had developed impressive civilian and military profiles by his early 20s.

Prior to serving in World War I, he was a civil engineer and trained artilleryman. In 1916, he purchased a half interest in the Turner Marble and Granite Co. of Tampa, which was founded by his brother-in-law, H.G. Turner. That same year he served on the Mexican border with the 2nd Florida Infantry.

In 1917, he was assigned to the 6th U.S. Engineers and served a year in France. By 1921, he was commissioned as a captain of artillery and assigned to the 116th Field Artillery. By 1934 he was a colonel, and using his clout to lobby for an artillery armory in Tampa.

It was built by 1940, and named after him a year later. He would see wartime once more, this time serving with the 31st "Dixie" Division in the South Pacific during World War II.

Throughout Hesterly stayed involved with the Turner Marble and Granite Co., eventually serving as its president. He was also a deacon in the Bayshore Baptist Church, a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Ybor City Rotary Club and several Masonic bodies. He died in 1957 at age 68.

Though still a National Guard facility, the armory is more famously known as a performance and sports venue. Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pink Floyd are among those who have appeared there, amid countless wrestling, boxing and civic events.

The facility, now outdated, has an uncertain future. Construction of a new National Guard facility in Pinellas Park could mean that Hesterly would be vacated and handed back over to the city, which owns the land.

-- Source: Tampa Bay History Center.

City Times: The rest of the stories
  • Grand Central: Gone like a good margarita
  • Downtown dwellings
  • Eat, drink and be humbled
  • Amy Scherzer's Diary: Tulle, roses adorn garden center benefit
  • City People: Leader of the pack
  • Obituary: In schools and church, she worked 'full speed'
  • What's in a name?: Colonel's clout got armory built
  • RSVP Tampa: Showcasing works of the heart
  • Everybody's Business: Retro boutique sells '60s chic
  • Bon Air: Gallery to exhibit photos of Florida
  • Channel District: Old retail hub will make way for new
  • South Tampa: Developers back down in face of opposition
  • Hyde Park: Farmer's market seeks vendors
  • Ybor City: Spanish ensemble to spice up this Sunday
  • Neighborhood notebook: Pledge of Allegiance writer's home to be noted
  • Palma Ceia West: Residents want to put a stop to speeders
  • Homes: Front Porch: A special room of her own
  • Go to your (fantastic) room!
  • Shop owner well versed in the poetry of orchids
  •  
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     
     

    The Weather
    current temp: 82 °
    real feel: 89 °
    more
    Weather page