family fun night

Saturday night we braved the cool temperatures and headed out as a family, picking up my mother and my sister along the way. Our destination was Tarpon Springs, the town that I grew up in, for a visit to the Safford House. My sister and I grew up just blocks away (seriously – all of 2 or 3 blocks away!) from this historical treasure, only it wasn’t a treasure in those days. Despite the pretty picture on the Wikipedia page for the Safford House it used to be quite the pit. I walked past the house time and time again in my youth never realizing the store behind it, and my sister even spent days and nights at a friend’s house right next door to the Safford House and didn’t know it existed. I guess it was a wee bit overgrown in those days.

Anyway, the Safford House was constructed in the late 1880′s by a settler of Tarpon Springs, and over the years it grew from a little one store house into the two story Victorian gem it is today. My sister told me about an event they were having called “A Victorian Christmas” – basically a chance to get inside the house and see it all gussied up for the holiday. Carolers in period garb were there, as was Santa! Despite the educational factor of the trip, the kids had a great time examining the house and they really got into how different it was from houses as we know them today. I loved the Victorian architecture and detail work, and my favorite part was the LOW railing around the upstairs landing. That would SO not meet building codes today, but as the docent explained to the kids, people were a lot shorter in those days. And um…no building codes either.

The Safford House is so named for the brother and sister that lived there. Anson P. K Safford was the 3rd governor of the territory we know now as Arizona, and his sister was a prominent doctor…a rarity at that time. The other neat part of the tour were all of the old pictures of the area. It’s really neat to see a place you know like the back of your hand as it was WAY before you ever knew it. As my sister and I looked at the pictures of Spring Bayou and the houses we grew up with, we noticed houses that no longer existed and boat houses along the bayou that have since been torn down. We also learned that the Safford House used to occupy a prime spot on Spring Bayou, but it was moved to it’s present location to make room for the Clemson house. Boy oh boy did it make me nostalgic for my old hometown! With scenery like that, it’s easy to see why I miss it! (Want to see something really interesting? Here’s an old picture of the front of the Clemson house pictured above…it hasn’t changed much!)

After all of the history and educational nonsense, it was off to another favorite spot of mine in Tarpon Springs – the Tarpon Turtle! In an interesting parallel to the Safford House, the Tarpon Turtle used to be a dive of a bar, but now it’s a respectable place. We snagged a table near a TV and watched the Gators win the SEC championship. (Now you know how I got Jim to come along for family fun night!)

Comments are closed.