This is a breakout page from a main feature:

which is the introduction page for:


May 26, 2003 - Photo by Dan Perez, property of TampaPix.com

This feature is in the process of being updated.


Students living in Tampa would have taken the ferry to get to Carter's school house.

FERRY CROSSINGS BEFORE HAYDEN - 1846:  The earliest existing records of Hillsborough Co. Commissioner meetings
History of Hillsborough County, FloridaNarrative and Biographical, 1928" by Ernest L. Robinson, Director of High Schools of Hillsborough County, Formerly Principal of Hillsborough County High School

1846 - Jan. 5:  The board members, the lost book of 1845, pay and taxes

The first meeting (for which records still exist) of the Hillsborough County Commissioners was held.  The board consisted of William Hancock, M.C. Brown, Benjamin Moody, Simon Turman, and James A. Goff (not present). Simon Turman was Judge of Probate and President of the Board.  At this meeting, a small record book of the previous year's proceedings was turned over to the board by Manuel Avilla, former Clerk of the County Court.  This book has never been found.  Also at this meeting, pay was established for the board at $2 per day while in session.  The county tax for 1846 was established at 50% of the amount assessed for the State.  S.L. Sparkman was the tax assessor and John Parker the tax collector.

 1846 - April 7:  Treasury balance, build a courthouse

At this meeting, Thomas P. Kennedy was the Treasurer of the County and reported the balance to be $267.63. The commissioners were appointed to "superintend the building of a court house and other public buildings in the Village of Tampa" and instructed to "select the spot of ground for the said public buildings, make a plan to start the building and finish them as soon as practicable taking into consideration the funds on hand..."

THOMAS PUGH KENNEDY - Tampa City Council member
January 1849 Ė October 1850

M.G. Sikes, President
Jesse Carter
Thomas Pugh Kennedy
Culbreath A. Ramsey
William Ross

Born in Philadelphia on December 12, 1812, Thomas Pugh Kennedy moved to St. Augustine in 1828. He came to Fort Brooke in December of 1840 as a deputy U.S. Marshal. In 1843, he established a store at Tampa and Whiting Streets and traded with the Seminoles.

Photo and info from The City Council of Tampa, etc.

At the end of the First Seminole War, he purchased a schooner and engaged in trade with Central and South America. He served as Fort Brooke's Indian agent and was elected as the first Hillsborough County Treasurer in 1845 and took office in January of 1846. In 1848, he opened the Kennedy & Darling General Store, once the largest such store in South Florida, with future council member John Darling. He died in 1858.


1846 - May 23:  Establish a ferry, build a road

At this meeting, Thomas Piper was granted "the privilege of establishing a ferry across the Hillsborough River at Tampa."  The grant was to last four years and he was to pay five dollars per year for the last three years.  The ferry fees were fixed at five cents per man and proportionately higher for vehicles. A road was authorized to be extended as well.

By James McKay, Jr. in "Reminiscences - History of Tampa in the Olden Days"  Dec. 18, 1923

In 1852 we opened a ferry at the foot of Jackson street, so as to cross the stage with the mail. It was also used by the public. Ponds that were located on the east end of Jackson street caused the city officials as well as the people, considerable annoyance, especially during the rainy season. One of these ponds at the corner of Jackson and Marion street would take in all four corners and prevent pedestrians from passing in that direction. I have skated rocks over ice on this pond when it was frozen over during the winter.

The authorities dug a ditch in the center of Jackson street to drain these ponds, and in some places it was 12 feet deep. Across Franklin and Tampa streets small bridges were placed so as to permit passage of teams and the public. This did not accomplish what was desired so the ponds were filled in later on.



In 1860, perhaps due to the imminent secession of Florida from the Union and Civil War looming, Jesse Carter put up for sale his 800 acres of land in Hillsborough Co. and 250 acres in Hernando Co. as well as his improved land 3Ĺ miles north of Tampa and the land on which he currently resided, on the west bank of the Hillsborough River, opposite the City of Tampa.

The Haydens came to Tampa in 1866 and soon thereafter Jesse J. Hayden bought some of Carter's land where the school was located and filed a homestead claim for the adjoining 60 acres. In those years, the area was known as Spanishtown Creek. This was before Obadiah Platt purchased land here and created Hyde Park.

Jesse's granddaughter Marion A. McKay was born in the school Oct. 8, 1875. In 1886 Henry B. Plant bought the property for his hotel. He saved the School and it was used as an apothecary shop by Dr. J. M. Grantham. In 1905 the Hotel was sold to the City of Tampa. The School was presented to the DeSoto Chapter DAR in 1931 by Mayor D. B. McKay and City Representatives. Jesse and Susanís daughter Mattie married Donald S. MacKay, son of sea captain James McKay, Sr., and later uncle of Tampa mayor D.B. McKay. The Jacksons and the Haydens were among the prominent families of Old Tampa, and along with the Haskins, owned most of what would later become Hyde Park. The Haskins family, however, sold their land before Hyde Park was developed because of the inconvenience of crossing the river with children. H. B. Plant later bought fifteen acres on the west side of the Hillsborough River from the Hayden family and in July 1888, the Tampa Bay Hotelís cornerstone was laid.

The 1882 land ownership map below, from the Library of Congress, has been enhanced with color to show (yellow) Jesse Hayden's property where he operated his ferry.  The map was drawn showing "Ferry" at that location.

Further north can be seen where Matthew Hooper operated his ferry from the west bank of the river.  Madam Fortune Taylor owned the land on the other side, and this later became the site of Fortune Street and the bridge, now named the Fortune Taylor bridge in her honor.


In March 1885, the Tampa town council chartered Haydenís ferry crossing on the river at Jackson Street, stipulating that "the lessee of any such ferry shall keep a good ferry, flat, capable of ferrying over safely a six-mule team and a wagon loaded with not more than 5,000 pounds weight, stock animals, and goods across the Hillsborough, and two good skiff boats for crossing foot-passengers...He shall put across all persons and their property at any hour of day or night...After 9 o'clock P.M. he may charge double ferriage." Hayden had the right to operate a ferry, but Tampa reserved the right to build a bridge across the river, free or otherwise. The town was growing. Soon after the railroad arrived, public and private interest in a bridge increased.  The completion of the first Lafayette St. bridge in 1889 would soon put an end to Hayden's ferry service.


The photo below shows a ferry crossing the Hillsborough River.
The source doesn't give the specific location along the river and provides very wide date range of 1850 - 1930.
From the ROBERT N. DENNIS COLLECTION OF STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS (filtered for Tampa) at The New York  Public Library Digital Collections.


The photo can be proven to be a view of Hayden's ferry crossing as seen from the Hyde Park side facing east looking at the Tampa riverbank.

The photo below is from the State Archives Florida Memory collection and shows the same buildings from a wider view and the same vantage point from across the river.  Notice the same 3-story wood-frame building at the right of the photo, once again viewed directly face-on.

This photo was most likely taken sometime from 1890 to 1891.  See the 1889 Sanborn map below for explanation.

The photo at right shows a boy sitting at a pier on the east bank of the Hillsborough River, facing town.  In the background can be seen Hayden's ferry nearing shore with a horse and carriage.  The grassy islands which became Davis Islands in 1925 are on the horizon.

Image from "Tampa Town, 1825 - 1886: A Cracker Village With A Latin Accent" by Tony Pizzo, 1968



Proof of which side of the river is being viewed in the above photos can be found on this 1889 Sanborn map below from the University of Florida digital maps collection.  Notice the 3-story wood-frame building (#10) is a warehouse/carriage house.  The large building at the far left of the State Archives photo above is the Tampa Commercial Co. warehouse seen on Pier No. 2 at the map below as #3 and #4.   Hayden's ferry dock can be seen below just above the red arrow



The 1887 map of this area clearly shows Hayden's ferry dock on the north side of the Jackson St. ditch, which emptied into the river between the dock and the 3-story warehouse.




On the 1889 map above, the dock is no longer shown, the ditch drainage has been routed underground at Ashley St. and another general storage warehouse (#9) has been built where the ferry dock was located. This map most closely portrays this area as compared to the photo below.


In the photo, the new warehouse at #9 has become a "LIVERY, SALE & FEED STABLE." 

At #1 can be seen the approach to the new wooden Lafayette St. bridge, which was opened in  March 1889.

On Dec. 21, 1890, a fire destroyed buildings 8, 9 & 10 in the above photo.  They were at the time, #1 H. A Fuller 2-story warehouse, #2 H. A. Fuller warehouse, formerly Hayden livery stable and feed barn, and #3 Spencer & Henderson livery and carriage warehouse. 

Read the article about this great fire.

These two images below show the same area of Tampa's riverfront taken on the Tampa side around the same time, circa 1886.  The high camera angle in the photo on the left indicates it may have been taken from the rooftop of the 3-story warehouse shown in the above images. 

Below, an idealized etching of the same view.  In both images can be seen the undeveloped area of Spanishtown Creek on the right that would become Hyde Park.  The Platt St. bridge would be built in 1926.  On the horizon can be seen the mouth of the Hillsborough River with the two grassy islands in the bay at far left.  In 1925, dredging of these channels would fill them in and become Davis Islands.

State Archives of Florida Memory collection 

State Archives of Florida Memory collection



The ground-level view today is from 2 Kellar Street, the cul-de-sac between the NBC building and the Kennedy Blvd. Bridge.

This is a breakout page from:
which itself is the introduction page to:

Return to main subject page:

at the section after "Where was Hayden's Ferry?"