Historic Seminole Heights  ....located in the heart of Tampa

Live Seminole Heights

As the country put World War II and the Great Depression behind, postwar prosperity transformed life in cities and towns across America, new commuter suburbs spread northward and westward of Seminole Heights. As the distance and number of commutes increased to and from central Tampa, the trolley lines fell into disuse and were replaced by a highway infrastructure.

Heightened traffic also brought increased noise and congestion to the area, its attractiveness declined, and in the late 1950's neighborhoods, including Seminole Heights were divided as the Interstate Highway system both connected and divided communities. Seminole Heights was a neighborhood under stress, decline set in,  but even at the lowest ebb the sense of community that had originally developed during the 1930s still survived.  Seminole Heights never declined to the extent that occured in other neighborhoods ripped in two by the Interstate system, surprizingly the community retained a connectedness that defied the barrier of I-275.  In the 1980's folks began to re-discover the tree shaded streets of Seminole Heights but the charm of the neighborhood was a well kept secret.
In the late 1980's  this new generation began to discover Seminole Heights. In late 1987 the South Seminole Heights Action League was formed, it was the forerunner of the South Seminole Heights Civic Association. In 1988, as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) made plans to widen Hillsborough Ave., residents banded together to form the Old Seminole Heights Preservation Committee (predecessor to the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association) to constrain FDOT but also to preserve the historic homes and address crime and code enforcement issues. In 1989 part of Old Seminole Heights separated to form the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association.  Both South Seminole Heights and Old Seminole Heights worked together to achieve a Hillsborough Avenue designed and built in a way that did not further divide the community and which respected the character of historic Seminole Heights.  The brick wall, linear park, historic lighting, and the pedestrian walkway under the Hillsborough Avenue are the legacy of those efforts in the early 1990's.  In 1993 the Seminole Heights Historic District was added to national register of historic places.  In the mid to late 1990's Seminole Heights received well in excess of  $200,000 for shoreline restoration efforts for Epps Park in Old Seminole Heights and Rivercrest Park in South Seminole Heights.  The late 1990's saw more attention shift to the east side of I-275.  Neighbors worked for the creation of the Hampton Terrace Historic District.  Neighbors in Southeast Seminole Heights and the Hampton Terrace and Evelyn City sections of Old Seminole Heights organized "hooker patrols" on Nebraska Avenue to walk the street as a group and with their dogs into the wee hours of the morning.  Nebraska as the main highway into Tampa the days before the interstate, was dotted with old hotels and had become magnets for perveyors of "the world's oldest profession."  The late 1990's saw the first serious attempt to orgainize the business community with the formation of the Seminole Heights Business Alliance.  And in recent years the Business Guild of Seminole Heights was created to meet the needs of both "brick and mortar" and home based businesses.

Today historic Seminole Heights is a community of porch parties organized by each of the neighborhood groups.  Old Seminole Heights operates a April Home Tour that is now beginning it's second decade. Southeast Seminole Heights holds a Holiday Home Tour in December.  Seminole Heights residents are a active in Friends of the River, a group concerned with the water quality of the Hillsborough River.  There is club for Bicycle enthusiasts. A play group for families with young children. A grassroots community garden organization.  Informal rotating potlucks occur in different parts of the neighborhood.

Historic Seminole Heights is a community comprised of seniors, young families, singles, gays, lesbians, and reflecting all the diversity of our American melting pot.  It is not uncommom to find a gay couple helping an elderly neighbor or a senior keeping a watchful eye on children in the neighborhood.  Seminole Heights from it's beginning has been about community and it has retained the feeling of a big town in the middle of the city as we move into the 21st Century. 

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