Group forms focus on historic house

November 14, 2013 by  

The Jackson Rooming House has been a landmark on Tampa’s Zack Street for over a century, but the structure has been deemed unsafe and its future is in doubt since efforts to save it fell through recently. However, a new group has formed to try and save the building.

The Jackson Rooming House is a city landmark and is on Florida’s Black Heritage Trail, as well as the National Register of Historic Places. Among those who stayed at the Jackson were Nat ‘King’ Cole, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and James Brown. However, the building needs approximately $1.5m worth of repair to be considered safe.

An effort to preserve the structure ended a couple of weeks ago but, fortunately, another group has stepped in and, thanks to the continued interest in saving Jackson Rooming House, it is anticipated that Bracken Engineering will put up a construction fence around the building. Bracken has been involved in the effort to save the building for three years.

Willie Robinson Jr. owns the House, and he and Linda Saul-Sena, who was formerly on the Tampa City Council, hope to get a loan for the $50,000 it is estimated is needed to shore up the structure. Robinson and Saul-Sena, and others interested, hope that stabilizing the building and obtaining the property will give them enough time to come up with a long-term restoration plan.

Restoration experts could work with brochure printers to create a mailer for Tampa residents describing the importance of the property to the city’s history, and asking for help in raising funds for the restoration.