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Galvin-Carl House | Photo © 2023, www.abandonedfl.com

Galvin-Carl House

Location Class:
Built: c. 1900 | Abandoned: c. 2007
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: David Bulit

Brandon, Florida History

The Galvin-Carl House is a historic home built by Daniel Joseph Galvin, a pioneer merchant and sawmill operator from Brandon, Florida.

The community’s history dates back to January 20, 1857, when John William Brandon arrived in Fort Brooke (now Tampa) from Mississippi by covered wagon with his first wife Martha Brown Carson, and their six sons. They first settled in what is now the Seffner area, but later moved to the New Hope area in August 1858. It was here that John Brandon purchased 40 acres of land and then later acquired an additional 160 acres. He named his land “Brandon” and built his home on the corner of Knights Avenue and Victoria Street with his second wife, Victoria M. Seward.

In 1890, the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad came through the area, encouraging the people of New Hope to build a depot on the north side of the tracks on Victoria Street and Moon Avenue. Charles Samuel Noble, an engineer for the railroad company, was asked to plat approximately forty acres of land north of present-day State Road 60, south of Lake Meade, east of Kings Avenue, and west of Parsons Avenue. Filed on April 24, 1890, the surveyor named the community in honor of John Brandon and Noble Street for himself. On September 15, 1890, the Brandon Post Office was established with Victoria serving as the first postmaster.

Daniel J. Galvin

Daniel Joseph Galvin and Mary Ellen married in 1886 and moved from Massachusetts to Hillsborough County in 1888. Living in nearby Bloomingdale, they decided to settle in Brandon due to the railroad passing through. He opened the community’s first general store, Galvin’s General Store, located on Victoria Street and Moon Avenue across from the railroad depot. Galvin made much of his fortune by operating a local sawmill, one of the first and finest in the area. He later served as chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and circuit court clerk. He lived a rather short life having died from typhoid fever in 1905 at the age of 45.

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1886 wedding photo of Daniel J. Galvin. Gerald Dempsey; Find a Grave
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1886 wedding photo of Mary Ellen Galvin. Gerald Dempsey; Find a Grave

Galvin-Carl House

Galvin had a home built for himself in the late 1890s near his general store. The home was sold in 1938 to the Jaudon family, and thus the home became known as the Galvin-Jaudon House. In 2004, attempts were made to preserve the home but the First Baptist Church of Brandon ultimately demolished it for additional parking.

Shortly after its loss, preservationists attempted to have a second house owned by Galvin known as the Galvin-Carl House, located 5 miles from Brandon in Valrico, by having it landmarked by the county. In the end, the owners of the home, Jill and Herb Wax, opposed designating the home as a historic landmark due to the financial obligations that come with it, and the county agreed. According to county records, the home was built by John McCormick for Daniel Galvin sometime around 1890. Then in 1912, Herbert Carl of Kingston, New York, bought the home along with 40 acres for his brother Eugene Carl and his wife Louise Addis who was described as “a talented painter.”

The front stairs of the Galvin-Carl House. 2012. The Tampa Tribune

According to Cultural Resources of the Unincorporated Portions of Hillsborough County: An Inventory of the Built Environment written in 1980, “the house stands basically unaltered preserving the open breezeway plan which separates the kitchen from the formal living portion of the ground level. Documentation indicates that variations on the “dogtrot” or open central passage theme were once popular in the semi-tropical regions, but the Galvin-Carl House is only one of two known examples to have survived as such in Hillsborough County.

The rich milled trim used to embellish the front and rear verandahs, fenestration, and interior stairs survives as does the pass-through cupboard and drawer arrangement of the semi-detached kitchen ell. The integrity the house possesses is remarkable in light of the neglect, climate, and development that have taken a heavy toll on the unincorporated areas of the county.

The architectural completeness of the house is overshadowed by its distinctive plan. Designed in deference to the warm climate, the open breezeway which separates the kitchen from the side hall double pile portion of the house maximizes the effect of any breeze channeling through the opening and was used as an outdoor living space. The semi-detached kitchen would isolate heat generated from cooking. The pass-through cabinets, serving both the kitchen and breezeway facilitated the transition between indoor and outdoor living. The upper level of the drop-sided house is treated in a conventional manner. The interior walls are covered with horizontal boards with a delicate beaded edge.”

This breezeway separates the living area from the kitchen. 2012. The Tampa Tribune

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David Bulit is a photographer, author, and historian from Miami, Florida. He has published a number of books on abandoned and forgotten locales throughout the United States and continues to advocate for preserving these historic landmarks. His work has been featured throughout the world in news outlets such as the Miami New Times, the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel, NPR, Yahoo News, MSN, the Daily Mail, UK Sun, and many others. You can find more of his work at davidbulit.com as well as amazon.com/author/davidbulit.

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