Landmark house must be protected

Letters to the Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 25, 2003

To: The Editor and the families of Brandon.

The First Baptist Church of Brandon is missing an opportunity to do something important because, according to its representatives, it is being steered toward the eventual development of a large educational complex or church school which will be bigger and finer that any competitor in the Brandon area.

This objective underlies the quiet acquisition of properties around the church, to the west and to the north of the main assembly. Initially this added property is to be used for additional parking, and later for a complex that will compete with the public school system and possibly with local colleges.

There is just one minor oversight. Long before what is now considered the bedroom community of Brandon existed, the John Brandon family contributed 1591/2 acres to the state and county for the creation of a new town. The year was 1883. There is one building left from that little town that started along the railroad track at Parsons Avenue and Victoria Street. The postmaster's house, which previously had also been the home of John Brandon's daughter, Victoria Brandon, , and which had been built in the 1890s, is still standing at 201 Victoria St. The little house was acquired last year by the First Baptist Church.

The First Baptist Church of Brandon wants to either have the house moved to another location or demolished in place to provide "additional parking area." If the house on Victoria Street is moved, its historical landmark significance will be shattered. Why not preserve the house, at its current location and designate it as a Hillsborough County treasure and museum?

Why not let the families of Brandon reconnect with the history of the town and contribute as they are able to the restoration of the house? The state is interested in the house as a landmark, and will probably contribute grant money when they hear the complete story. There is a good chance that the little house could gain national recognition because it remains a symbol of the efforts and stalwart faith of those who started the Brandon community, who stayed and worked through the really rough times, and whose faith inspires us today. Is not faith worth remembering and nurturing?


-- Bryon Dean, Brandon, Florida

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