Welcome to Lutz! Page 1
The first settlement in the area now known as Lutz was a mission started by Catholic priest Francis E. Stemper. The area and Lake Bruin was named for him and in 1893 a post office was was established with Stemper being the postmaster.
Stemper and his congregation
In 1907 the Tampa Northern Railroad was built, connecting Tampa, through Stemper, towards Brooksville and beyond. Its construction effectively put the stagecoach lines out of business.
The top of the Lutz depot can be seen at the right in this 1913 photo.
The old wood-burning engines required frequent stops to take on more wood. These loading places became known as wood rack stops. The wood stop just north of Stemper was named by early Tampa Northern railroad engineer William P. Lutz and his brother Charles, naming the station after themselves. William was a young engineer from Virginia and his brother Charles, ran a sawmill in the Odessa area in the early 1900s.
Charles & William Lutz
Neither men lived in the town named for them. Charles moved around, living at times in Odessa, Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg. William lived in Tarpon Springs, then later in Tampa. According to those who knew them, William and his younger brother Charles were opposite in temperament. "William was bossy and mean, Charles was cheery and friendly. Unlike William who worked for an engineer's salary, Charles was a wealthy man. In addition to running a sawmill, he was secretary and treasurer of the Tampa & Gulf Coast Railroad. Charles owned the first Stanley Steamer in the area. "All duded-up in his white suit, he'd ride around town with his chauffeur driving." He had a railway built from his sawmill in Odessa to the Tampa Northern Railroad. It was a curvy, crooked line, nicknamed the "Pea Vine." It ultimately became part of the Tampa & Gulf Coast Railroad. Today, Lutz Lake Fern Road west of US-41 follows the old Pea Vine railway path.
Charles and William are on the 1870 census of South River, Augusta Co., Virginia. Their parents were John Augustus Lutz and Hester Ann Porter. John was a carpenter, age 33, born in Denmark. Hester was 30, Charles H. 12, Lou Ella 9, John 6, Ida 5, William 4, Nellie 4 mos. All born in Virginia. William Paul Lutz, photographed by his stepdaughter Dorothy Lutz Jones.
On the 1880 Census of Augusta Co, VA, Charles is no longer living in the home with his parents. John & Hester's children Luella, John, Ada, William and Nellie are still with them. Now John and Hester also have children Mollie (b. 1871), Frank (b. 1874), Alice (b.1876) and George (b. 1879). John and his son John are both carpenters.
On the 1900 Census, John A. Lutz was widowed and living with his son John B. Lutz in Hinton, Summers Co., WV. John B. is married to Flora and has children Fay L., Lala B., Harry P. and Connie M.
He later came to Florida to live with his son, Charles H. Lutz in Tarpon Springs where they lived the rest of their lives. They are buried in the Lutz family plot in Tarpon Springs Cemetery.
According to William's 1910 census in Tarpons Springs, he was a railroad engineer, born in Virginia circa 1870. (He was on the 1870 census as age 4, so he was really born around 1866.) He was living with his 3rd wife, Elizabeth V. Lutz. William had a daughter from a previous marriage, Margarite, who was 4. Tampa City directories for 1918 and 1923 show he was living at 803 Grand Central Ave. and 105 S. Melville.
1910 Census of William P. Lutz, Tarpon Springs
Charles was a superintendant of a sawmill on the 1900 census in Pasco County. He was born in Virginia in August, 1858 and married Scotland native Wilhelmina Jane Douglas in Churchville, VA in 1880. They came to Owensboro, FL in 1886. Charles and Wilhelmina had 5 children: Clarence b. Aug.1883 W.Virginia, Ina L. b. Mar. 1891 Florida, Netta C. b. Sep 1893 Florida, Elsie M. b. Aug 1895 Florida, and Ester L. b. Apr. 1899 Florida.
1900 Census of Charles H. Lutz
Four Lutz generations, circa 1910. Seated is John Augustus Lutz holding great grandson Charles Lester Lutz. Behind them on the right, Charles Henry Lutz with his son Clarence Lester Lutz on the left.
Charles Lutz's 1910 census shows his widowed father John A. Lutz was living with him in St. Pete. John was born c.1839 in Germany. Wilhelmina was the mother of 9 children, but only 4 were still living. Clarence was living next to them with his wife Ida M. Drane. In the 1910s, Charles was also the secretary and treasurer of the Tampa & Gulf Coast Railroad.
On the 1920 census, Charles and his wife Wilhelmina lived in Tarpon Springs with their daughter Ina. Charles was the manager of a sawmill. He died on Dec. 26, 1927 in Tarpon Springs. Wilhelmina died there in Feb. 1933.
The old Lutz train depot at US 41 on the north side of Lutz Lake Fern Road, is a replica of the original which was built on the south side of Lutz Lake Fern Road.
The area actually began blossoming around 1911 as a planned community called "North Tampa" when the North Tampa Land Company purchased 32,000 acres in the area. President C. E. Thomas had in mind a vast settlement where folks could buy tracts of land to farm and raise orange groves. In return, Thomas gave the settlers a tract of land on which to build their home.
The post office was named Lutz, borrowing from Lutz Junction, the name that brothers William and Charles Lutz had given to the rail depot they had established there. Lutz was established when the name changed from "North Tampa" in January 1913.
Three miles south of the train depot, this welcome sign is placed where Florida Avenue (US 41) and Nebraska Avenue come together. The area is known as "The Apex" and in the 1800's was a stage coach stop for the Old Tampa & Brooksville mail route. See 1882 map at left.
Just south of the apex was a popular steak restaurant called "Blaikies." The restaurant closed in the early 1990's and the location became a fruit & vegetable stand for a short time, then was demolished in the mid 1990's when US 41 was to be widened from a two-lane road to the six-lane highway.
Blaikie's photo courtesy of Todd Keil from 1986 ad in Chamberlain High School yearbook.
Now there is a spiffy new Publix supermarket there. (Southbound traffic lanes are off camera to the left.) During the "two-lane" years, it was not uncommon for farmers to drive their tractors on US 41, crawling along while leading a mile-long parade of commuter traffic behind them.
Place your cursor on the 1882 map below to see how the lakes have changed and been renamed.
Read some surprising facts about the new signs and the original signs which were removed during the road construction. The D.O.T. was NOT going to allow them because "Welcome" signs can only be placed for incorporated areas. Read how Grandpa got around this!
These tracks run alongside US 41 through Lutz. The lonely wail of the frequent night trains can be heard throughout Lutz and and the north Tampa area.
A local hot-air balloon club often launches on clear, calm Sunday mornings and float over Lutz.
This pond on Livingston Rd. is actually a large puddle formed due to heavy rains.
Quick as a wink, the weather can turn on you.
This beautiful home is located on Florida Avenue, not too far south of the Lutz apex. Note the miniature stagecoach on the left.
Lutz Page 1