Myron E. Gillett - 31st Mayor Of Tampa

Myron Gillett

Born: June 3, 1858, Appleton, Wisconsin

Died: September 20, 1922, New York City 

Term: June 5, 1896- June 5, 1898

Born in Wisconsin on July 3, 1858, Myron E. Gillett lived in Akron, Ohio, before coming to Florida around 1878. He became one of the most successful citrus growers in Polk and Marion Counties. Gillett established Buckeye Nurseries, the first large nursery in the state. He was a founding member of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, the forerunner of the Florida Citrus Exchange, of which he became the first general manager.   After the winter freeze of 1894-1895 destroyed most of his citrus crop, Gillett sold the majority of his real estate holdings. He moved to Tampa,  where he established the Gillett Lumber Company and supervised the construction of the Tampa Building.

Gillett became active in both civic affairs and politics in Tampa and, in June of 1896, he campaigned for mayor and won the election. During his term in office, Mayor Gillett actively supported capital improvements to the city and increased municipal services to the citizens and businesses. He believed that active government support of business would encourage a diverse business community in Tampa that, in turn, would benefit the residents and government. 

After leaving office, Gillett returned to his business enterprises. Several years later, he sold his real estate holdings in Tampa and moved to New York City, where he passed away on September 20, 1922. His son, D. Collins Gillett, followed in his footsteps and became the first Mayor of Temple Terrace, Florida. 

Sources for this Biographical Sketch:

Covington, Dr. James W., and Wavering, Debbie Lee, "The Mayors of Tampa: A Brief Administrative History," Tampa, FL: University of Tampa, 1987.

Grismer, Karl H., Tampa: A History of the City and the Tampa Bay Region of Florida, St. Petersburg Printing Company, FL, 1950.

Robinson, Ernest L., History of Hillsborough County, Florida: Narrative and Biographical, The Record Company, St. Augustine, FL, 1928.

Tampa Council Minutes, City of Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL

October 19, 1891 - December 28, 1899 Roll # 2