Historian-led Guided Tours of the Best-Preserved American Indian Site in Tampa Bay and Landing Site of Cabeza de Vaca
Tocobaga Indians, Spanish explorers, legendary pirates, gangsters, speakeasys, developers, and peacocks – that sums up the Jungle Prada Site and Anderson/Narvaez Tocobaga Indian Mound. This quiet corner of west St. Petersburg has a history that goes back over 1,000 years. For the last 75 years the Anderson family have been the caretakers of that history. Harold Anderson purchased the Indian mound on Park Street N. from real estate developer Walter P. Fuller in 1940. Mr. Anderson protected this Tocobaga village site during the mad rush to develop St. Petersburg and the surrounding beaches throughout the 1950s. At a time when our local Native American heritage was being paved over and used as road fill, Mr. Anderson became an ardent and award-winning preservationist. He referred to himself as the caretaker or steward. He believed that the Jungle Prada site belonged to everyone, and that it was his duty to protect this part of it. He built his home at the site without cutting down a single tree. His wife Frances, who was a professional horticulturalist, planted a lovely Florida-friendly garden along the shore of Boca Ciega Bay, but the midden mound and the “jungle” landscape that surrounds it were kept in what archaeologists have called “pristine condition.” Today, Harold Anderson’s grandson David offers a guided tour of his family property that discusses the lives of the Tocobaga Indians. You’ll walk on the same bricks that used to pave Pasadena Avenue (Mr. Anderson brought them to his home when the road was asphalted). You’ll meet the peacocks who have lived at the site since the ‘40s. And you’ll hear interesting stories of St. Petersburg from a time gone by. David himself is a horticulture professional and historian with lots of local experience. He’ll take you on a journey through time in a spellbinding one-hour guided tour of this little-known St. Petersburg gem. Tours are Wednesday through Sunday at 11:30 and 2:30. Park at Jungle Prada de Narvaez Park (1700 Park Street North).