HYDE PARK – When Kirk and Katie Gibbons moved to their Hyde Park home on South Dakota Avenue, there were still three boarding houses on the street.
Now the tree-lined street off of Bayshore Boulevard is part of one of Tampa’s nicest restored neighborhoods. It is the setting for Sunday’s annual Old Hyde Park Home Tour, which includes six historic houses, including the Gibbons’, in a two-block area of South Dakota.
The Gibbons, both 61, moved to the street in 1980 as the neighborhood was seeing restoration through a desire for urban living and the popularity of preservation.
The neighborhood began in 1885 when citrus growers James M. Watrous and William A. Morrison completed homes. The Gibbons house was built in the 1920s but Katie Gibbons said she doesn’t know the house’s actual construction year or the history.
Gibbons said she was attracted to the neighborhood because it had sidewalks and the neighborhood reminded her of where she grew up in the Washington, D.C., area.
When the Gibbons bought the two-story house, it had four bedrooms, one and a half baths and about 2,700 square feet. They painted, had the floors refinished, and put up a fence. Then they and their 18-month-old daughter, Megan, now 35, moved in. A son, Kevin, now 32, also grew up in the house.
“My parents would come for vacation and they would do a project,” she said. “We chipped away at the renovation.”
Four years ago, the Gibbons made a major change, adding 500 square feet with a family room, enlarging the kitchen and changing it to a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home. They also added a courtyard patio. Katie Gibbons, a landscape designer, worked with the contractor to have the area functional for gatherings and suitable for many plants and herbs.
With the expanded kitchen and seating areas, the Gibbons are able to host about 30 family members for a pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner. Kirk Gibbons is an attorney and nephew of the late former U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons, who attended each year.
For the home tour, docents will be throughout the downstairs showing the living room, dining room, office, family room and kitchen. They will direct the guests to the patio who will exit then by a side walkway.
The tours, sponsored by the Hyde Park Preservation, Inc., began in 2004 and usually are held on one street to make walking from house to house easier, said Dada Glaser, treasurer of the organization and a tour committee member.
Each year about 1,000 guests participate and the nonprofit organization raises an average of $10,000 per year.
The money helps to fund the Swann Pond project (which is refurbishing the drainage pond for the Selmon Expresway adjacent to Irish 31 on Swann Avenue), arranges the purchase and installation of specialized street signs for the historic district, funds the upsizing of trees for Hyde Park Greenscape tree replacement project and provides for beautification projects in the neighborhood and at Kate Jackson Center.