Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cuban Sandwich Show Part VI: The Built, The Lost and The Dreams: The Architectural Drawings of M. Leo Elliott

 The Tampa Regional Artists at Old Hyde Park Center was founded in 1956. Among other things, it provides a gallery space dedicated to "Art You Can Live With", seminar, lectures, demos, workshops, classes and more. [Link].  This charming and venerable structure has undergone several incarnations in its lifespan, which began in 1899. They hosted "The Built, The Lost and The Dreams: The Architectural Drawings of M. Leo Elliott", of architectural drawings rediscovered while replacing an air conditioner at Carrastro and Associates. They're on their way to their final resting place at the Tampa History Center.

 M. Leo Elliott was born in the Catskill mountains, in NY state. His early education consisted of a one-room school house for eight grades. At fifteen, he went to NYC, becoming an office boy at an architectural office. After attending school at night, and graduation, he moved to Norfolk where he began working as an architect, then to Tampa. He designed the Centro Asturiano, Tampa City Hall, then WWI came and he served as an engineer designing concrete oil tankers. In 1920, he founded M. Leo Elliott Inc, with offices in Tampa, Sarasota and St. Pete.  After an illustrious career designing some of Tampa's finest architecture, he passed away at 81. He designed his own gravemarker.

Leo Elliott, Maquette, Cuban Club

He also designed the Cuban Club, Italian Club, Scottish Rite Temple, Tampa YMCA, First National Bank, Sarasota High School, Bryan Elementary, Palace of Florence, Tampa Yacht Club, the Leiman-Wilson House, Snell Arcade, twenty houses in Temple Terrace. and many more.

M. Leo Elliott, City Hall

Keep in mind that these drawings are before CAD, all done to scale and by hand. My father was an architect, and used to do it this way. The direct intimacy between the creator and the design is considerable. On the right is a view of a corner of the exhibit with some relics from Elliot buildings that have been demolished/lost.

 From the Myelvaron Apartments.

 On the right, a copy of a photograph of the Tampa Gas Company Building. I remember when this existed, and it was  an outstanding, beautiful design. That grand entrance was inviting and dazzling.

 On the left is a photograph of a table with fregments recovered from the demolition of the Tampa Gas Company building. Look at the attention to detail, color, motif, and more.

Concurrent with the Elliott show are two art shows, one devoted to Elliott buildings.

 In the other art show, this painting by Princess Rashid caught my eye.
 A Palace of Florence architectural drawing (color-corrected to make it look as it might have when new). This fine building is still up, and can be seen on Davis Islands, on the left hand side of Davis Boulevard as you go towards the split on Davis Blvd.. In the early days, they held concerts on the roof, and people danced the night away under the stars. I knew a former manager of those apartments, Jackie, and have seen most of them -- all different. I also had a friend who lived in the turret apartment, and had access to the top. We spent many evenings  watching the exquisite view of Bayshore at sunset. I owe those memories, in part, to the vision of Leo Elliott.

In gratitude,

--- Luis

Show runs through July 8. Facility open Noon to 3:00pm all days except Monday. Public opening is Noon to 3:00pm Friday, June 10, 2011. Free.
Tampa Regional Artists at Old Hyde Park Center
705 West Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606 (map)


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