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Seminole Heights Homes Highlighted on Sunday

The 14th Annual Old Seminole Heights Home Tour will highlight nine homes in the neighborhood.

Martha McNamee's 1928 bungalow is made out of brick, not wood.

If that strikes you as significant, you probably wouldn't have to be talked into attending what is arguably the biggest event on the neighborhood's calendar.

If it doesn't seem significant, you might want to consider the 14th Annual Old Seminole Heights Home Tour, Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nine local homes will be opened by their owners to tour goers.

Maps of the featured homes will be handed out from the tour's starting point, the at 5800 N Central Ave. “It's just such a charming area,” McNamee, whose house is on this year's home tour, said of Old Seminole Heights, “and this tour is a way to show it off. And there are people who like to come look at houses period.”

The houses people will be looking at were selected by a committee of organizers. Though the neighborhood is dominated by pre-World War II houses rendered in historic architectural styles, that wasn't the only criterion for consideration.

Cathy Simon, head of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association home tour committee, said three of the tour's homes are new construction. “One of them is more of the bungalow style,” she said, “and two of them are Mediterranean Revival style. Two of these houses are in the historic district, and really had to follow the guidelines of ARC (Architectural Review Commission). We look for what's going to fit best for a guided tour, and we try to find something that's unique.”

Though not unheard of, McNamee's bungalow is unique because it's exterior siding was rendered in brick during a time when wood siding was predominant. “It's just kind of charming,” she said of her 1,072 square foot house, which also features the original wood floors, built-in book cases, an archway separating the living room and dining room, plaster walls and ceilings, and the original fireplace modified for gas.

Organizers also try to keep most of the houses on the tour a secret until the day of, to enhance the tour patrons' surprise, and discourage freeloaders from touring the route themselves without paying for a ticket. McNamee would only disclose that her house is on East Clifton Street in Hampton Terrace.

Tickets are $11 in advance, $15 day of, and can be purchased at (cash or check only), or at www.OldSeminoleHeights.org/hometour. Simon said three of the homes on the tour are within walking distance of the garden center. Tour goers can also catch a trolley from the garden center that will run through the the Hampton Terrace and Evelyn City portions of the tour route. Patrons can also self-guide.

Proceeds will benefit OSHNA, event co-sponsor Old Seminole Heights Preservation Consortium, and a local charity that organizers haven't named yet. Beneficiaries from past homes tours included Meals on Wheels, Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, and local elementary schools.

Shawn Hicks March 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Some of the proceeds from the 2010 tour were used to purchase new soccer goal posts for the Henry and Ola park. The three fields there had dangerously rusted equipment that is used by all the children in the City of Tampa soccer league. OSHNA , OSHPC, and many small private donors contributed to the purchase. The goals were installed last year in time for the new season. When OSHNA (or any other neighborhood organization) raises money to improve Seminole Heights, those funds help all of Seminole Heights and nearby surrounding areas. Charities, events, and improvements are rarely limited to just the small artificial boundaries for each association. In the case of the goal posts, hundreds of children from all over Tampa benefited. All you have to do to help is come and enjoy the tour and consider joining your own neighborhood association, regardless of which one it is. In addition to Trolley, foot, and your own car, the association partners with the Seminole Heights Bicycle club to provide a pre-selected, marked bicycle route for the tour.
Michael Canning March 30, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Excellent insight once again, Shawn.

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