History Overview

Early in the 1900s, the land that is now Temple Terrace was acquired by Mrs. Bertha Palmer, a renowned businesswoman and socialite from Chicago. After the death of her husband, she set her sites on the beauty Florida held and set up her main residence in Sarasota. She originally purchased the land that is now Temple Terrace as grounds for a hunting preserve. Mrs. Palmer died in 1918, and her land was purchased by Burks Hamner, Vance Helm, Maude Fowler, and D. Collins Gillette. Two development corporations were formed to develop the golf course and residential areas. Temple Terraces Inc. developed the largest orange grove in the world in the 1920s, totaling 5,000 acres. (HSP)

Bertha Palmer
Riverhills Drive

In 1924, Club Morocco was built, designed by architect Franklin O. Adams. It featured a large swimming pool, a dining area, an electric fountain, a casino, and a stage for concerts. Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. 

Prior to developing a 4-mile stretch of road (Riverhills Drive) along the Hillsborough River in 1921, the only resemblance to roads were the ruts left by wagon wheels. Riverhills Drive was named after the Riverhills Ranch and game preserve.

Club Morocco

Club Morocco was later transformed into the original City Hall of Temple Terrace, and finally became the Student Center for Florida College until it was demolished in 2017.

Original City Hall

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