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What's in a name

Enduring house of Maas appeals

The 80-year-old home of a German immigrant who built a department store empire includes Italian touches.

Published July 4, 2003

Old Hyde Park properties have staying power. Twelve years after the disappearance of Maas Bros. department stores, the home that Isaac Maas built on the northeast corner of Edison Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard has outlasted the onetime giant of Florida department store chains.

Isaac Maas was born in Dolgesheim, Germany, in 1861. His older brother, Abe, came to the United States in 1875 and Isaac followed in 1877. They were active merchants in Georgia for several years.

In 1886, Abe came to Tampa to open the Dry Goods Palace at Franklin and Twiggs streets. Isaac, who was working in Ocala at the time, shortly followed, and the two went on to create Maas Brothers.

In 1898, the brothers moved their business to the Krause Building at Franklin and Zack streets. Over time, the business expanded and took over the adjoining American National Bank Building. By 1929, Maas Bros. had become Florida's largest department store south of Jacksonville.

That year the brothers sold their interests in the store to the Hahn Department Stores, which later became Allied Stores Corp. In 1991, Maas Bros. closed when its parent companies, Allied Stores Corp. and Federated Department Stores Inc., went bankrupt.

Isaac was active in several Tampa organizations, including the Egypt Temple Shrine and Jesters, the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, Tampa Yacht and Country Club, and Congregation Schaarai Zedek. He also was a charter member of the Rotary Club and the South Florida Fair Association.

In 1923, he built the house that now carries his name. Architect Franklin O. Adams adorned it with sgraffito friezes under the eaves and other Italian elements.

Isaac died in 1935 at age 73. His brother Abe died in 1941 at age 86.

- Source: Tampa Bay History Center.

[Last modified July 3, 2003, 09:27:21]

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