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Contact: Sarah Revell
850.245.6522
Sarah.Revell@dos.myflorida.com

Secretary Detzner Announces the Designation of Three Florida Resources on the National Register of Historic Places

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today that the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Oaklawn Cemetery in Tampa and the Storm Wreck off the coast of St. Augustine have been listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

“I am pleased to announce the designation of these three resources on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Secretary Detzner. “The Michigan Avenue Bridge is one of the last bobtail swing span bridges in our state, and Oaklawn Cemetery, the first public cemetery in Tampa, has been a consistent presence in the city’s history. The Storm Wreck, a mile off the shore of St. Augustine, dates back to the American Revolution. These resources demonstrate the wide variety of historic sites throughout Florida.”

The Michigan Avenue Bridge (currently known as the Columbus Drive Bridge) spans the Hillsborough River north of downtown Tampa. Built between 1926 and 1927, the bridge is one of only three surviving bobtail swing span bridges in Florida. Swing span bridges are designed to operate on a turntable which can rotate the central span of the bridge 90 degrees, to allow tall boats to pass without obstruction. This bridge was a joint project of private and public interests, and was pivotal in Tampa’s northeast expansion in the 1920s.


Photo: Michigan Avenue Bridge

Oaklawn Cemetery includes two of Tampa’s historic cemeteries: the original Oaklawn Cemetery, founded in 1850 as the city’s first public cemetery, and the adjoining St. Louis Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery dating to 1874. Located at 606 East Harrison Street, the combined cemeteries occupy about three acres of land, containing approximately 1,561 graves – including 13 of Tampa’s mayors, former Florida Governor Henry Laurens Mitchell and two Florida Supreme Court justices. Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate, and slaves were also interred here, which was unusual for cemeteries of this period. Oaklawn Cemetery demonstrates the frontier character of nineteenth-century Tampa, and offers great insight into the historic culture and society of the city.


Photo: Oaklawn Cemetery

 

The Storm Wreck is a colonial-era shipwreck approximately a mile off the shore of St. Augustine. At the end of the American Revolution on December 31, 1782, this British transport vessel wrecked while carrying British loyalists fleeing the United States from Charleston. Even though the exact name of the ship is still unknown, documentary evidence shows that the British loyalists were headed to East Florida, which remained a British colony as the war ended.

The Storm Wreck was discovered in 2009 by the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program and has already yielded artifacts that provide insight into the lives of British loyalists as the American Revolution came to an end. Maritime archaeologists have excavated iron cauldrons, cannons and the ship’s bell. The St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum and the Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Archaeological Research Conservation Laboratory collaborated to treat and preserve the objects found at the Storm Wreck. Today, these artifacts are on display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum, ranging from personal effects to weaponry and items related to the sunken ship itself.

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About The National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is a list maintained by the National Park Service which includes historical or archaeological properties including buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, that are considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide and/or national significance. Nominations for properties in Florida are submitted to the National Park Service through the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. Florida has over 1,700 listings on the National Register, including 292 historic districts and 174 archaeological sites. There are more than 50,000 sites contributing to the National Register in Florida. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation/national-register. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program administered by the National Park Service, visit nps.gov/nr.

 

About The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Historic Preservation

The Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation.