Monday, June 15, 2009

Is this canal in Venice, Italy? Tampa's Davis Islands and its Venetian-Inspired Canals

David Paul Davis had grand dreams. His dream for Tampa of developing a magnificent islands paradise in Hillsborough Bay became a reality. As Florida experienced a real estate boom in the 1920s, Davis envisioned an entirely new place and way to live on 834 acres brought up by dredging from the bottom of the bay resulting in 11½ miles of water frontage with seawalls, canals and 27 miles of beautiful meandering streets. Plans included homes and businesses, hotels, a yacht and seaplane basin, swimming pool, golf course, tennis courts and a coliseum. Most of his plans became reality and many are still part of the laid-back island lifestyle today. Original and elaborate marketing materials Davis used to sell his development featured couples enjoying a life of waterfront luxury and living on canals that brought to mind those of another island, Venice, Italy. Drawings showed fabulous wood-hulled yachts cruising through the waterways past Mediterranean-inspired homes. The $1,683,582 in sales of homes and lots in his new islands subdivision was a world’s record at the time. This photo of one of the original canals is taken from the Riviera Drive bridge as it crosses over to Riviera Isle. Living today on Davis Islands is just as comfortable and relaxed as Davis envisioned it would be in the 1920s, even before the first shovel of dirt was turned. Even before there was a bridge crossing from Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard to the low spoil land in the bay, Davis had confidence that if he built it, they would come. And they did. His dream came true. Living can still be very good. Davis just knew it would be.

1 comment:

  1. Very Scenic and beautiful! I've some similar shots here: