Temple Terrace

  • Hillsborough County
  • Year Founded: 1925
  • Founded by: Mrs. Bertha Honore Palmer


Exploration of the Temple Terrace area dates back to 1757 when the Spanish Royal Fleet made its way up the Hillsborough River to what is now Riverhills Park. An historic marker and a replica of the cross erected to honor St. Theresa is found in the Park today. In the late 1800s/early 1900s, the many pine trees made the area popular for turpentine manufacturing. In 1911, the land that is now Temple Terrace was acquired by the famous Potter Palmer family of Chicago as a portion of their 6,000-acre winter hunting preserve. After Mrs. Palmer’s death in 1918, the family sold its holdings to three developers who formed two development corporations—Temple Terrace Estates, Inc., who developed the golf course and residential areas; and Temple Terraces, Inc., who developed 5,000 acres of orange groves that originally surrounded the City, the largest orange grove in the world in 1922.

And it was for these oranges that the City was named. A new kind of orange, the “Temple” was grown in the community’s extensive citrus groves. The new development was originally targeted to be a golf course community for the wealthy elite of the North. Each homeowner would have a winter villa and citrus grove tract to occupy their time and provide extra income. The architecture of the community was developed in the Mediterranean Revival theme, as the Florida sunshine and climate reminded many of exotic locales such as Spain and the Mediterranean area. Red barrel tiles from Cuba and Spain certified to be over 100 years old were imported for the roofs of over 80 homes that were built in this style during the early 1920s. Many of these homes have been lovingly restored and can be seen along side the modern architecture of homes today.

The golf course, designed by famed Scottish designer Tom Bendelow, meandered through the development so that no two holes would run side-by-side. Golf was an all-day affair, with families following matches on the roads that ran along side the fairways.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression caused the City to fall upon hard times. The population fell to about 200 people and the area remained stagnant for almost twenty years, until the housing boom after World War II.

In 1960, the population of the City climbed to 3,812, making Temple Terrace the second fastest growing city in the U.S. Today, with a population of over 25,000 the City continues to grow and flourish. Annexations of surrounding unincorporated properties have allowed the City’s boundaries to grow to an area of 7.6 square miles. The convenient location and natural beauty of the area makes Temple Terrace an attractive destination to residents and businesses alike. And with plans underway to complete the plan for a downtown area and embarking on a new image brand our City promises to be “Amazing” for many generations to come.

Story of City’s Founding

Golf was an all-day affair, with families following matches on the roads that ran along side the fairways. Following a day on the links, residents congregated at the country club for their meals. In fact, meals at the country club were such an integral part of the Temple Terrace lifestyle that homes were built with very minimal kitchen facilities or even no kitchen at all! The original town plan for Temple Terrace, created in 1922, was a model of town planning in its day. Between 1923 and 1925 during the land boom, streets were paved, storm sewers installed, and a well was drilled to tap spring water. On May 25, 1925, the City was incorporated, with D. Collins Gillette, one of the founding developers, serving as the first mayor, and Maude Fowler, one of the foremost women real estate operators in America, serving as vice mayor.

Historical Sites

Name: Florida College
Location: 119 North Glen Arven Avenue
Historical Significance: Famous Alumni – Billy Graham, who was called to the ministry while walking the golf course one evening.

Name: Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club
Location: 200 Inverness Avenue
Historical Significance: One of the oldest private golf courses in Tampa Bay. It has been a centerpeice of the community since 1922 and recently was put on the National Register of Historical Places.

Name: Woodmont Clubhouse
Location: 415 Woodmont Avenue
Historical Significance: City’s first school.

Name: Temple Terrace Family Recreation Complex
Location: 6610 Whiteway Drive
Historical Significance: City’s recreation facility hosts many amenities including a 152′ water slide.