Kenwood Historic District (St. Petersburg, Florida)
Kenwood Historic District
|Location||St. Petersburg, Florida|
|Area||3,750 acres (15.2 km2)|
|NRHP Reference #||03000729|
|Added to NRHP||August 4, 2003|
The Kenwood Historic District (also known as Historic Kenwood) is a U.S. historic district located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The district was designated on August 4, 2003 and is located immediately west of downtown, bounded by 9th Avenue North, 1st Avenue North, 20th Street North (adjacent to I-275) and 34th Street North. It contains 2,238 historic buildings, and Grand Central adjoins the district at its southern boundary.
The Kenwood Historic District is a 375-acre residential area best known for its historic bungalows. It consists mostly of one-story and two-story single family homes constructed between 1912 and 1945. Historic outbuildings, such as garages and garage apartments, are also common in the neighborhood. There are a variety of residential architectural styles represented in the district, including Frame and Masonry Vernacular, Craftsman Bungalow, Minimal Traditional, Tudor Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Colonial Revival, Ranch, Prairie, American Foursquare, Dutch Colonial Revival, Mission, and International. However, while many styles are evident, bungalows constitute more than 50 percent of the homes. Not all of these homes were built in their current locations: many of these Craftsman/bungalow style homes were relocated to the area in the 1930s from other neighborhoods in the city, helping to cement Historic Kenwood's bungalow identity. St. Petersburg High School (1926), listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in the heart of Historic Kenwood along 5th Avenue North. Five churches and numerous commercial buildings can also be found within the district.
In addition to the large number of historic buildings remaining in the neighborhood, many of the historic landscape and streetscape elements remain. The majority of the avenues, which run in an east-west direction in the district, continue to be made of brick. Hexagonal pavers can still be found comprising many of the sidewalks. The high granite curbs are also still evident along many of the streets, which are lined with large majestic oak trees, as well as jacaranda, palms, and pine trees. Historic Kenwood is located on a plateau about 50 feet above sea level, making it much higher than other neighborhoods in the city.
Another notable feature of Historic Kenwood is Seminole Park. This historic park is rectangular in shape and is bounded by 3rd Avenue North, Burlington Avenue North, 30th Street North, and 29th Street North. The park was donated by Charles R. Hall, one of the City's first developers and an initial developer of Historic Kenwood. The park features many types of trees, grassy areas, sidewalks, playground equipment, and a modern pavilion in the center constructed in the Craftsman style that blends in with the surrounding historic architecture.
Historic Kenwood developed as a working and middle class neighborhood in the early twentieth century. The neighborhood was one of the earliest to be developed outside of downtown. It was first platted in 1912, and developed rapidly during the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s, during which time St. Petersburg became a favorite vacation destination. While a few houses were constructed in the 1910s, development reached its peak in the 1920s, due in large part to its location just west of downtown, which could be easily accessed by automobile or streetcar. The streetcar system was once ran down Central Avenue and was quite popular until finally being phased out by 1947.
Decline and Revitalization
As was the case with many inner city areas, the neighborhood fell into neglect beginning in the 1950s. Interstate 275 was built in the 1970s, forming Historic Kenwood's eastern boundary. U.S. 19 (34th Street), the western boundary, became more commercial during this time. The traditional "mom and pop" businesses on the southern boundary along Central Avenue declined. Beginning in the early 1990s, urban pioneers began a neighborhood revival in both Historic Kenwood and the Grand Central District which continues today. The LGBT community in particular played a significant role in the revitalization of the neighborhood. Many LGBT investors and homeowners have transformed the tree-lined streets into a stable, well-landscaped neighborhood with a strong civic voice. The district remains home to many gay residents and gay friendly businesses. The annual St. Pete Pride celebration, the largest in the state, also takes place within the district. Many beautiful restorations to these historic homes and businesses have been made since the 1990s. Some of these restoration efforts include the removal of non-historic vinyl and aluminum siding, as well as the reopening of many front porches that were once enclosed. Today, events such as monthly porch parties, the annual BungalowFest, and St. Pete Pride attract many to the neighborhood.
- Uguccioni, Ellen and Jennifer Stewart. (2002). National Register Nomination Form for Kenwood Historic District. Form on file, Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.