Local Designations in Process

John F Germany Public Library and Auditorium,

900 N. Ashley Drive


The John F. Germany Public Library, located at 900 N. Ashley Drive, is being considered for Tampa Local Historic Landmark status.  Constructed in 1965, it is an outstanding example of Mid-Century Modern architecture. The site maintains its architectural integrity as there has minimal change to the character of the structures.

The library was designed by local architectural firms McLane, Ranon, McIntosh & Bernardo and McElvy & Jennewein. It replaced the original 1917 Tampa Free Library, which the growing city had outgrown. An addition, designed by McElvy, Jennewein, Stefany & Howard, added 50,000sqft in 1976 but has removed. In 1999, the Tampa Public Library was renamed to the John F. Germany Public Library to honor local civic leader John Germany. Mr. Germany helped secure funding for the library’s original construction and expansion.

Today, the 140,000sqft building continues to serve as the flagship library and main hub for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. It also serves as a reference and resource center, hosts cultural and educational events, and houses pieces of public art.

The John F. Germany Library and auditorium met the following Local Landmark Criteria:

Criteria A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.

For over 100 years, the City of Tampa has prioritized and included a central library in community planning. The 1917 original library was located in the most central location within the city boundaries. As the first structure planned as part of the Riverfront Urban Renewal project of the 1960s, the library is physical reminder of how Tampa has placed an importance of incorporating its local culture and history in future land planning. Today, the Riverwalk, which spans the east outline of the Hillsborough River downtown, is a celebrated feature of Tampa’s amenities which continues to connect the cultural institutions, sports complexes, offices, restaurants and shopping, as originally envisioned over 60 years ago. The library is also significant as the first library to open as an integrated library post segregation laws or practices.

Criteria B. That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.

The building is associated with John F. Germany who is significant to Tampa’s history as a civic leader, local judge and attorney and as a dedicated champion to raise money for the library.

Criteria C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.

The John F. Germany Library has a high integrity of design and has the distinctive characteristics of Mid-Century Modern architecture. The architects designed this and other Tampa structures to reflect the contemporary attitudes of the 1960s Mid-Century Modern movement with simplistic angular and broad lines and geometric accents. Only a modest number of MCM buildings remain today.

A Local Landmark Designation would protect these structures from inappropriate additions that alter the historic architecture’s integrity or from complete demolition of the structures.