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Pinellas County
Turner Bungalow moves to Heritage Village
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[Image]
Photo by TERRE PORTER
The Turner Bungalow is a good example of early 20th Century wood-framed Florida vernacular bungalow design. After refurbishing, it will be the 29th historic structure available to the public at Heritage Village.
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Photo by TERRE PORTER
Trees and bushes obscure the view of the 1915 Turner Bungalow on its original home site at 801 S. Fort Harrison on the corner Druid Street in Clearwater.
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Photo by TERRE PORTER
The Turner Bungalow, built in 1915, now belongs to Pinellas County. Geraldine “Gere” Turner gifted her family home and $100,000 to move it to Heritage Village. She died Feb. 14, 2013 at age 91.
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Photo by TERRE PORTER
Workers prepare the Turner Bungalow for its move to Heritage Village in Largo.
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Photo by TERRE PORTER
Workers guide the Turner Bungalow onto its pine-tree covered lot at its new home in Heritage Village Jan. 23. The roof was removed before it left Clearwater to reduce the height to fit under traffic signals.
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Photo by TERRE PORTER
Heritage Village’s most recent acquisition, the Turner Bungalow, sits next door to the Walsingham House, visible to the right.
LARGO – The Pinellas Folk Festival at Heritage Village Jan. 25 had a new attraction this year – although it was not yet ready to accept visitors.

The Turner Bungalow arrived in Largo in the early morning hours Jan. 23, after beginning an hours-long journey from its longtime home site at 801 S. Fort Harrison on the corner Druid Street in Clearwater.

The historic home was a gift to Pinellas County from Geraldine “Gere” Turner. She died Feb. 14, 2013 at age 91. The home originally belonged to her parents, Alfred Cleveland and Amber Clark Turner. Along with her family home, she gave the county $100,000 to pay for the move.

Work began on the Turner Bungalow’s new home site just north of the Walsingham House in December. Workers removed about 40 pine trees to make room for the house built in 1915. Volunteers spent many hours preserving artifacts inside the home, while contractors prepared the historic structure for its trip. One of the last steps was to remove its roof to reduce the weight and get the height down low enough to pass under traffic signals along the 8-mile route.

Paige Noel, Heritage Village project management specialist and volunteer coordinator, said packing up the house was challenging due to the amount of artifacts inside. She was excited about the acquisition.

“I’ve been working at Heritage Village for 10 years and this is the first house they’ve moved in,” she said.

It will be some time before the Turner Bungalow will be open to the public for viewing. Plans call for the home to be refurbished, which will take an undetermined time.

“It needs a lot of work,” Noel said.

Hailed as a “significant addition” to the county’s “historical village,” the Turner Bungalow “aligns with the village’s master plan,” Noel said in an email sent to volunteers in mid-December. She described the home as a good example of early 20th Century wood-framed Florida vernacular bungalow design.

Florida vernacular houses may also be referred to as Florida “crackers.” They typically are plain, constructed from local materials and styled for weather conditions of the location. Bungalows, aka cottages, often were built as summer homes before people began to live in them year-round.

It is fitting that a home belonging to the Turner family find its way to Heritage Village. Geraldine’s grandfather had a big influence on the county’s early history. Some say he was one of the sparks that led to Pinellas separating from Hillsborough in 1912.

Arthur Campbell Turner came to what would become Pinellas County in 1851 and moved to Clear Water Harbor in 1854. He served on the Hillsborough County Commission, which at the time was the government for land that would eventually become Pinellas. Turner was unhappy with the lack of money provided to western Hillsborough and made his views known, helping to stir up dissension across the bay.

Historical accounts describe Turner as a leading citizen, serving as postmaster, the county’s first treasurer and a supervisor of elections, aka registration officer, from 1914-1916. He was the publisher of the West Hillsboro Times, having purchased the paper in 1884. He sold the paper to R.J. Morgan in 1892. Morgan moved operations to St. Petersburg and eventually changed the name to the St. Petersburg Times.

Turner also served on the Clearwater City Council and board of education. The A.C. Turner store was Clearwater’s first general store. Turner had three wives and 20 children. Geraldine’s father, Alfred, was one of Arthur’s sons.

Geraldine left her own mark on Pinellas County. According to her obituary, the Clearwater High graduate attended Florida State University, where she earned a bachelor and master’s degree. She was an active member of the Alumni Society and a benefactor of FSU’s academic program and the Florida Orchestra. She was a member of the Clearwater Historical Society and a 50-year member of Delta Kappa Gamma and Florida Kappa. She was a longtime teacher at St. Petersburg College.

Tim Closterman, director of Pinellas County Communications, thanked Geraldine for her donation. He said the Turner Bungalow was a “community treasure” that would add to the historic significance of all the structures at Heritage Village. He expressed his gratitude to everyone who worked to make the move happen.

“Staff, volunteers and Pinellas County Historical Society all worked together, putting in many hours,” he said.

While the inside is not yet open to the public, visitors can view Heritage Village’s newest attraction from the outside Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Heritage Village is closed Monday and Tuesday and all county holidays.

The Turner Bungalow is north of the Walsingham House – one of 28 historic structures currently open to the public.

Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th Street N., Largo. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

For more information, call 582-2123 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/Heritage.
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