Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Scott Taylor Hartzell

Scott Taylor Hartzell had an insatiable thirst for knowledge

Scott Taylor Hartzell wrote several books about St. Petersburg history and a column for the Times.

Scott Taylor Hartzell wrote several books about St. Petersburg history and a column for the Times.

ST. PETERSBURG — Scott Taylor Hartzell's friends never got much personal information out of him. Before they could try, he would pepper them.

How are the kids? The wife? What are you reading? What did you think of this movie?

"He was always asking questions, like a little pingpong ball," said Ray Arsenault, co-director of the Florida studies program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. "He was very curious about things. He really had all the skills of a good reporter."

Mr. Hartzell moved to St. Petersburg from New Castle, Pa., more than 20 years ago. He majored in journalism and wrote for the Crow's Nest student newspaper at USF St. Petersburg.

On campus, he always popped into instructors' offices, ready with conversation. He was small and recognizable, about 4-foot-6 with a weathered face that made it hard to guess his age.

Mr. Hartzell wrote stories with great care and never made less than an A.

"He had really intense journalistic curiosity about the way things developed and how things were," said his friend and former journalism professor Bob Dardenne. "He was pretty tireless in poring over documents."

St. Petersburg fascinated him.

"I've always very much admired history, even as a child," he told the St. Petersburg Times in 2006. "When I moved down to St. Pete, I was just fascinated with the amount of interesting people, the wonderful architecture — especially during the 1920s, when we had that big economic boom — and the many, many colorful people."

More than 10 years ago, he began writing a historical column for the Times. He profiled a plumber who developed Sunken Gardens. A city councilwoman who invited constituents to her living room. A fish salesman who became mayor.

"He was able to find stories about St. Pete history that weren't just the commonplace stories that people always trot out," said Jon Wilson, a retired Times writer. "I thought he was a real good sleuth."

Eventually, Mr. Hartzell wrote several books, including Remembering St. Petersburg, Florida: Sunshine City Stories. He spoke at venues including the St. Petersburg Museum of History. He wasn't polished, but he was engaging, and people liked him.

"He really brought humanity to much of what he did," said Sudsy Tschiderer, special events coordinator at USF St. Petersburg. "He really liked interaction with people, because he really liked to learn."

His friends knew he had a disability, though they weren't sure exactly what. He dealt with several health problems recently and walked with a cane, they said.

Mr. Hartzell died on Aug. 20. He was 56.

His ashes will be placed beneath a tree at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8857.

.Biography

Scott Taylor Hartzell

Born: Oct. 2, 1951.

Died: Aug. 20, 2008.

Scott Taylor Hartzell had an insatiable thirst for knowledge 09/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Erasmo Ramirez shuts down his old Rays teammates

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem is, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  3. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  4. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.
  5. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.