In 2019 Preserve the 'Burg received grant funding from the 1772 Foundation to start a historic preservation revolving fund. The City of St. Petersburg matched the grant in full, and Preserve the 'Burg Historic Properties Program was born.
A revolving fund is an active real estate-based program for protecting endangered properties using techniques such as: options, purchase/resale, easements and tax credits. These historic structures ultimately are returned to the private sector with deed restrictions in place. Any proceeds realized from transactions are “recycled” to sustain the proactive preservation efforts of the program. The goal of these programs is community redevelopment using historic preservation as a tool.
As its first project Preserve the 'Burg is working to save the ca. 1909 Shell Dash Cottage, currently located near Mirror Lake.
The Shell Dash Cottage
Click below to watch a one-minute video on the Shell Dash Cottage.
The Shell Dash Cottage, near Mirror Lake, has a storied past that represents an often overlooked part of St. Petersburg’s cultural and architectural history. Built in 1909 or 1910 by legendary developer Perry Snell and his partner JC Hamlett, it was likely the model-home for the new subdivision of Lake View being developed on the site of a large orange grove on Mirror Lake. As the model home for the new neighborhood, it featured details not typically found on such modest dwellings - in particular a unique exterior finish called shell dash stucco. The cottage is one of the only known surviving examples in St. Petersburg of the unusual building material that was quite popular for a short time before virtually disappearing in the city.
For the first forty years of its existence, the Shell Dash Cottage was home to a revolving door of hard working St. Pete citizens. Its first resident was a police sergeant, followed by a series of shopkeepers, undertakers, concrete workers, grocers, and realtors. Leon and Olga Manket, who lived in St. Petersburg for more than 40 years, started their married life together in the Cottage in 1914. The Cottage was located just next door to her parents and sister, and they worked together as a family at the New York Supply Company, a dry goods store located just around the corner on Ninth Street North (today’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.)
The house on the left, photographed in 1910, is nearly identical to the Shell Dash Cottage on the right, photographed in 2020. The front porch of the Shell Dash Cottage was removed in the 1960s, and the chimney sometime later. The house on the left was probably located near 2nd Avenue South and was likely demolished to make way for the Webb's City complex.
The Shell Dash Cottage is a stone’s throw from the historically African American neighborhood of Methodist Town. Extensive research into census data and city directories shows that during its first few decades, the Cottage housed a number of Jewish families- suggesting that St. Petersburg’s early history of relegating minorities to the outskirts of town may have been a factor in the cottage’s early rental demographic.
In the 1980s the cottage was converted to office space. It was owned and lovingly cared for for almost forty years by attorney and former City Council representative Jim Kennedy. Late last year Mr. Kennedy sold the property on which the Shell Dash Cottage sits to a developer, but donated the Cottage itself to Preserve the ‘Burg. We hope to save the Cottage from demolition by moving it to a suitable location.
February 2021 Update: City approves relocation of Shell Dash Cottage
On February 18, 2021 the City Council unanimously approved the relocation of Shell Dash Cottage, after a year-long effort by PTB, Exact Architects, the City of St. Pete, the Campbell Park neighborhood and Waverly Capital, LLC. The relocation was approved in conjunction with Exact Architects' upcoming project to bring affordable new housing to St. Pete. The new housing development will feature the Shell Dash Cottage on its property as its centerpiece. Developers Bob Mayer and Caleb Buland have experience working with historic buildings and are excited to feature the cottage in their new development. Preserve The 'Burg is thrilled the Shell Dash Cottage has a new home where it's history can be shared and preserved.
Preserve the 'Burg needs the support of our members, friends, and fans.
Here are some ways to help:
Become a member! Not only does this help generate a little income, but City Council, sponsors, and other decision makers are influenced by how many members we have!
Preserve the 'Burg is funded in large part by the support of our members. So join today—be part of the effort to Preserve the 'Burg!
Already a member, login below:
Above, this 1955 article about the use of Shell Dash in St. Petersburg mistakenly concluded that there were no remaining examples of it left in the city. We are happy to say that Preserve the 'Burg has discovered one!
Below, the interior of the Shell Dash Cottage features charming brick walls in each of its four corner rooms.