Historic Tampa home that once showcased Princess Diana's dresses is on the market for $2.9 million

The Anderson-Frank house near Bayshore Boulevard is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Published July 5

TAMPA — It is one of Tampa's most eye-catching houses, a stately red Victorian seen by thousands of motorists a day heading to Davis Islands or Bayshore Boulevard.

The Anderson-Frank House, built in 1901 and on the National Register of Historic Places, has served as a Red Cross shelter, a ladies' club, a showcase for Princess Diana's gowns and most recently, a combination residence and law office.

"I greatly admired it,'' says Ellen Fiss, who is in public relations at Tampa General Hospital, "and it was my dream to own it as I passed to and from my job at TGH.''

In 2015, Fiss and husband, lawyer Herbert Fiss, bought the 7,078-square-foot, 14-room Hyde Park home. They've decided to downsize now so it is on the market for $2.9 million.

The house sits on three-quarters of an acre on Plant Avenue a half block from Bayshore Boulevard. James B. Anderson, a Methodist minister-turned prominent Tampa business leader, bought the property in 1894 and hired Miller and Kennard, the architectural firm that also designed the Belleview-Biltmore Hotel, Tampa’s Floridan Hotel, El Centro Español de Tampa and Hillsborough High School.

READ MORE: Once destined for the wrecking ball, the Belleview Biltmore is reborn as an elegant boutique hotel

Craftsmen took three years to build the house. Made of red brick with contrasting black tinted mortar, it features a grand stairway, 12-foot ceilings, nine fireplaces, eight crystal chandeliers, five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a ballroom and a wraparound porch. A large, oak-shaded fountain is in the backyard.

After Anderson died in 1936, the house passed to his wife and then to his daughters, who lived there until 1972. Four years later, Judge Richard H. Frank and his wife, Patricia, bought and restored it. (She went on to serve in the Florida House of Representatives and is currently Hillsborough County's clerk of court. )

In addition to Richard Frank's law office, the house also has been home to other law firms, an advertising agency and the membership-only club Marcelina. Its owner, Maureen Rorech Dunkel, kept part of her collection of Princess Diana dresses in the ballroom.

"We’ve hosted some really nice parties and fundraisers and so have all the previous owners,'' Fiss said. "A business owner could house their company and have their own events and not have to rent space for their Christmas party.'' Other possible uses include a restaurant or boutique hotel since the house, zoned residential/commercial, has a commercial kitchen and paved parking lot that can accommodate more than 20 vehicles.

Fiss said the house had a "great view'' of Hillsborough Bay until the 345 Bayshore condo tower was built nearby 20 years ago. But, she added, "you can still see glimpses of the bay, the Gasparilla parade from some of the windows and an awesome view of downtown.''

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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