Harold and Frances Anderson: Stewards of Florida's Past
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 stewards of that history. Harold C. Anderson purchased the Indian mound on Park Street N. from real estate developer Walter P. Fuller in 1940. Mr. Anderson thought the land represented more than just waterfront property - the mound and Tocobaga village represented our shared history. He and his wife Frances considered themselves the caretakers, and protected their section of the village plaza and the mound during a period of intense and rapid development in St. Petersburg and its gulf beaches. 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 often said that the Jungle Prada site belonged to everyone, and that it was his duty to be the best steward possible. 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 surrounded 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 paved). You’ll meet the peacocks who have lived at the site since the first two flew over in 1953, 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 St. N. 33710).