Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Fort Homer Hesterly Armory recommended for historic designation

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The Florida National Register Review Board voted Thursday to recommend that Tampa's Fort Homer Hesterly National Guard Armory be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The vote came at the same meeting in Tallahassee where the board voted to recommend that the Bro Bowl skateboarding basin at Perry Harvey Sr. Park be put on the national register.

The military history of the armory's site on N Howard Avenue goes back to 1898, when Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders camped on the property before embarking for Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

Completed in 1941, the Art Deco-style armory has been the site of speeches by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, who spoke there four days before he was assassinated.

It also has seen pro boxing and wrestling matches and concerts by Buddy Holly, James Brown, Elvis Presley, the Doors, Pink Floyd and the Ramones.

The Tampa Jewish Community Center has announced plans to redevelop the armory, vacant since 2004, with a wellness center, all-faiths preschool, 300-seat auditorium, fitness center and gymnasium, outdoor aquatic center, kosher cafe and event hall.

With the vote, the next step will be for the state's historic preservation officer to prepare and submit a formal nomination to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C., where the final decision will be made.

Rochelle Koff of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau contributed to this report.

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