Decision on fate of historic Galvin house is postponed

The church that owns it wants it razed or moved, but some residents say its historic value lies in the location.

By null, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 25, 2003

Hillsborough County commissioners will decide the fate of a piece of Brandon's history at a land use meeting May 27.

Action on the future of the Daniel Galvin house was rescheduled after lengthy discussions on other issues dominated a meeting on Tuesday.

County staff has recommended moving the house to the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College and providing funding for its restoration.

But Brandon resident Ruth Dean says the house should stay where it is.

First Baptist Church of Brandon, which owns the property, plans to use the land for parking.

The house at 201 Victoria St. was built in the 1890s by the Brandon family and once was at the center of the community. Through the years it was a post office, grocery store and a private residence.

"Its historic value is where it is located," said Dean, 82.

The house, according to Parviz Moosavi, senior planner with the county staff, is typical of the era, a rural frame vernacular style.

Elbert Jaudon Jr., 81, who lived in the house from 1937 to 1954, agrees with Dean.

"I'd like to see it saved as it is one of the first houses on the land that the Brandon family donated to the community," said Jaudon.

Although the storied history of the dilapidated building makes it eligible to become a historic landmark, First Baptist Church isn't interested in pursuing the protected designation.

"We need the property for the continued growth of our 4,500-member church," said the Rev. Tommy Green, senior pastor at First Baptist. "The option to restore it has been there for years and we have no interest."

The church has been buying property surrounding its main sanctuary at 216 N Parsons Ave. It paid $150,000 for the Galvin house and 1 acre in 2002. The church also owns parcels on Evans Avenue, N Moon Avenue, Limona Street, Oak Street, Sadie Street, Edwards Avenue and Morgan Street in addition to the Victoria Street property.

"Its immediate use is for parking," said Myles Dowdy, administrator of the church. "Future use could be a Family Life Center or some kind of activity space."

The house doesn't fit into those plans so the church wants it gone.

"Come and get it," said Green. "We have no purpose for the home."

Commissioner Ronda Storms, a member of the church, brought the house to the attention of board members March 19, and the board asked staff members to explore options for moving it.

Three possible locations have been identified:

- The president of the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College has expressed interest in moving the house to the Columbus Drive campus.

- The Bayshore Co. is interested in moving the structure to S Parsons Avenue at the corner of Vonderburg Drive. The company would renovate the structure and use it as a restaurant.

- Christopher Tompkins, a Brandon lawyer, would move the house to 1706 S Kings Ave. and renovate it for use as a residence or office.

Although the county deemed the house fit for relocation, planning and growth management staff said there is no county-owned land available on which to place the house. Even so, the Community Improvement Department recommended allocating $31,000 for restoration.

A moving company hired by the county estimated it would cost $32,000 to move the Galvin house.

- Staff writer Janet Zink contributed to this report. Michelle Jones can be reached at 661-2431 or