Monday, September 14, 2009

How long does a headstone last? Turner Marble and Granite has a long lasting presence

The Turner Marble and Granite Company, founded in 1908 by H.G. Turner an his brother, A.O. Turner, was a well-established supplier of marble, granite, building stone and mosaic tiles. They provided the materials for many monuments and mausoleums in the Tampa Bay area, throughout Florida and in other parts of the country. The company was mentioned in a 1926 article in The Evening Independent newspaper of St. Petersburg as the supplier of building materials for a title company being built in the main business district. Turner was originally located on Twigg Street near the Union Station but moved and must have then built the building you see here. It is located at 2601 East Broadway/ East 7th Avenue, just east of Ybor City’s main business district. Homer W. Hesterly, a prominent Tampa citizen, recognized for his long and distinguished military career, business interests and civic involvement, was president of the company at one time. The 1926 news article states that they employed 100 skilled workers on a two acre site.

The smaller photograph at left
was taken of the same building on January 12, 1927, by the Burgert Bros, the family of photographers who recorded the area's people, places and events for over 60 years.* When I spotted the Turner building this afternoon, with iron bars on its windows, fenced and with a sale or lease sign, I actually thought it might actually be a relatively new building. The design looks like so many Mediterranean -style homes and office buildings being built in Tampa today and this one didn’t show much age at all. Little did I know it dates back almost one hundred years and had a long and hard-earned commercial history. Examples of the company’s work and craftsmanship will be around for many, many years to come.

*“The Burgert family's impact on commercial photography began in 1899, when S.P. Burgert and Son first opened a photographic studio in Tampa. By 1918, the Burgert Brothers Commercial Photography Studio, with brothers Jean and Al Burgert at the helm, was firmly established in Tampa providing commercial photography services to the West Coast region of Florida. The firm continued in operation until 1963. During this time, the brothers took over 80,000 photographs for their clients. The distinctive handwritten Burgert Brothers logo on the lower corner of the photographs became a hallmark of photographic excellence, reflecting both the quality of the Burgert's work and their business integrity.” - Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative |


  1. That building sure has held up well! I like being able to compare the old and new pictures. Those are interesting looking awnings in the old one. They look similar to the red and white striped awnings on the old Florida Capitol building here.

  2. Lovely building with an interesting history. I wonder what will become of it?

  3. Local history is a fascinating subject and adds context to the photos. On age, everything is relative; in Europe the building would be 'modern' compared to those in, say, Florence. I don't say that to belittle the building, it's just the difference between when the countries were settled and built up.

  4. Granite lasts more or less for ever, or so they say, so the monuments should outlast their producer. Nice to see that it was a serious company in every way.

    PS Thank you for the comments! I have heard about the county called Bergen and some relatives once visited it. Our election is now our and the present government (a centre/left majority coalition) will Continue. I guess I can live with that. The other parties were mostly a chaotic assemblage ranging from liberals via conservatives to literalistic populists of the most extreme kind.