SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - The soaring steeple of Seminole Heights Baptist Church is an enduring image to area residents and motorists traveling along Interstate 275 at the East Hillsborough Avenue exit.
The church was organized Dec. 18, 1921, by the Rev. J. L. Hampton and had 42 charter members. In its first days, members met in a two-room wooden building. One room served as Sunday school; the other as the sanctuary. A gift of $1,000 from the Florida State Mission Board and the Palm Avenue Baptist Church helped with initial expenses.
Hillsborough County records show the current red brick building was built in 1948. The steeple was repaired in the mid-1970s after sustaining damage in a tornado. Today church buildings and a surrounding parking lot at 801 E. Hillsborough Ave. fill a city block bordered by Hillsborough, Nebraska, Giddens and Taliaferro avenues.
Information from The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Times were used in this report.