Hyde Park Resident Del Acosta Writes Arcadia’s Book On Hyde Park
When Del Acosta walks the streets of Hyde Park he sees Tampa’s past, present and future. Born in Tampa, Acosta has lived in nearly all of the city’s main historic districts. Ybor City, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights, Davis Islands, Hyde Park; he knows the streets better than most natives. But it’s South Tampa’s first neighborhood that really interests this local preservationist.
In May, Acosta and Arcadia Publishing will release what will be the most extensive piece of research on Hyde Park, with a local history book that chronicles the beginnings of the neighborhood, the city of Tampa and the many homeowners who have helped preserve and restore this historic district.
Acosta’s research starts more than two years ago, back when he was still a member of the Tampa Preservation Society. The organization collaborated with the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and the International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT) and produced a documentary narrating the story of Tampa’s Historic Hyde Park and its bungalows.
The film, titled “Celebrate the Bungalow, Hyde Park.” soon made its way to Arcadia Publishing, a group known for producing more than 7,500 local and regional history books. The publishers contacted Acosta and asked if he’d like to write the book on Hyde Park.
“They asked me to submit a mock up with 15 images and a story line,” Acosta said. “Two weeks later they said they were willing to move.”
A historic preservation professor at IADT, Acosta said his writing background reflects the technical side, not so much the storyteller’s perspective. Nonetheless, he started researching Hyde Park in Nov. 2010 and began his search for the lost and forgotten tales of the city’s first neighborhood.
Acosta’s search took him all over Tampa, where he dug through library archives, historic documents at the Tampa Bay History Center and even into the living rooms of some of Hyde Park’s oldest residents. By Nov. 2011, he had submitted more than 180 photographs accompanied by the story of how Hyde Park was conceived, how it fell into obscurity and how a group of homeowners in the 60s helped revive and restore its heritage. Acosta hopes the book will help further institutionalize the neighborhood.
“If we don’t write our own history, who’s going to write it for us?” he asked.
The book is broken down by decades, Acosta said, with it starting in the Victorian era between 1885-1900, a period where many of the first homes in Hyde Park were built. From there it deconstructs the manner in which the neighborhood was developed and the prominent homeowners at the time, including O. H. Platt, Peter O. Knight and William Morrison. Acosta also discusses the influence that the economy had on the local architecture and the way the homes were built.
The Arcadia series on Hyde Park is set to release in May. Acosta said he hopes the book gives readers the same appreciation for Hyde Park that he has and an awareness of the importance this neighborhood has to Tampa and the nation.
“There is not such an intact group of craftsman bungalows in the nation,” he said. “We need to recognize what we have so that we can continue to preserve it.”
About the Book
Arcadia’s book on Hyde Park will hit local bookstores in May 2012. For more information, contact your local book provider or visit www.ArcadiaPublishing.com.