Want to own history? The oldest house in Tampa is for sale

The 2,000-square-foot bungalow is listed for $550,000.
Built in 1842, this Hyde Park bungalow is the oldest house in Tampa.
Built in 1842, this Hyde Park bungalow is the oldest house in Tampa. [ Paul Guzzo ]
Published July 29, 2021|Updated July 29, 2021

TAMPA — The oldest home in Tampa is back on the market.

The 179-year-old bungalow was last sold in 2016. The buyer, hedge fund and real estate company EquiAlt, moved the structure from the outskirts of Ybor City to 118 S. Westland Ave. in Hyde Park.

The 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house is among the estimated 300 EquiAlt-owned homes being sold as part of the federal government’s efforts to recover money lost by hundreds of elderly investors in what it contends was a Ponzi scheme led by the company.

“We want to find somebody who will put it back in order as the oldest house in Tampa,” said Burt Wiand, the court-appointed receiver in the case. “It is a history project.”

The bungalow, located on a 6,970-square-foot lot, is listed for $550,000.

Tony Kelly of EquiAlt said he has “approved plans from the city for it to be an office” building.

When moved in 2018, the house was disassembled into three pieces and driven on trucks to its current location.

It was then “set on the foundation and was set for rehab at the time of the receivership,” Kelly said. “It is still in need of a full remodel and to be put back together. It has supporting lumber all through the interior to keep it together.”

In 2018, EquiAlt estimated it would cost around $400,000 to restore the bungalow.

Bullt in 1842, this Hyde Park bungalow is the oldest house in Tampa.
Bullt in 1842, this Hyde Park bungalow is the oldest house in Tampa. [ Paul Guzzo ]

It was built in 1842 on Jackson Street by physician Sheldon Stringer, who also owned the 19th-century home that houses the Hernando Heritage Museum.

In 1914, Tampa decided to erect its new city hall on the Jackson Street site, so the home was moved to 3210 E. Eighth Ave. in the community of Gary that neighbors Ybor.

Feed store owner Imboden Stalnaker bought the house, took it apart and shipped it by train the few miles to Gary, where it was rebuilt.

“I am hoping it can be saved,” said Stalnaker’s great-granddaughter Gianna Russo. “I’d love to see one of our big community advocates step up and save this place.”

Stalnaker’s son, Leo, raised in the house, would go on to become a municipal judge known for taking on organized crime at a time when elected officials allowed it to flourish.

Leo Stalnaker would later build a plantation-style home three blocks away at 3510 E. Eighth Ave.

After he died in 1986, both structures fell into disrepair.

Carrie West and Mark Bias, leaders of the Tampa Pride organization and the area’s LGTBQ community, recently purchased and restored the plantation home.

The bungalow served as a boarding home until Darryl Bethune purchased it in 2013. He paid $17,000, according to the Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts website.

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Bethune gutted and stabilized the structure and sold it to EquiAlt. The company paid $55,000, according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s website.

“The house is important to our family, but it’s more important to Tampa,” Russo said. “It’s the oldest house in Tampa. Why would we want to throw away our history?”