Joshua and Mary Boyer built this honeymoon cottage near Spring Bayou in Tarpon Springs. The newly wed couple erected this simple 14' x 14' square as a temporary structure until they could build a more permanent dwelling. The Boyers lived in this cottage for approximately twenty-one years, from 1877 until 1898. Many sources credit Mary Boyer for giving Tarpon Springs its name in 1879 or 1880. The cottage is representative of wood-frame Gulf Coast vernacular architecture. The small structure is characterized by board and batten siding and a high-peaked cedar shake roof. The cottage moved to Heritage Village in 1978.
Backstory and Context
Joshua C. Boyer, a Bahamian native, sailed along the Anclote River to Spring Bayou in early 1877. On this trip, Boyer met Alexander M. Ormond and his daughter, Mary Ormond. The Ormonds, had recently moved from North Carolina to homestead a parcel near present-day Pinellas Avenue in Tarpon Springs. Joshua Boyer and Mary Ormond wed in April 1877. They built a small cottage near the intersection of Boyer Street and Pinellas Avenue, and soon thereafter constructed stables for livestock. The Boyers lived in this cottage for approximately twenty-one years, from 1877 until 1898.
In the United States the 1870s through the early 1900s was a period of rapid growth and expansion. The construction of railroad networks across the country connected communities and the rapid expansion of industrialization resulted in increasing wages for workers. From their home along the norther Pinellas peninsula, the Boyers witnessed many of these national changes. Philadelphia magnate Hamilton Disston acquired substantial tracts of land throughout Florida in 1881. Disston dispatched representatives to examine his purchases. Soon the Boyers served as hosts for Anson Safford, a former gold miner and territorial governor of Arizona, as well as many other agents of Disston. By the 1880s, their quiet settlement along the Bayou grew into the largest city in Western Hillsborough County. Many meetings to cement business deals during the early 1880s occurred either at the Boyer Cottage or a small hotel he operated.
Joshua and Mary Boyer witnessed substantial changes in Tarpon Springs during their time at this cottage. By 1898, they moved to Eau Gallie, a small settlement along the Indian River in Brevard County. They continued to visit family and friends in Tarpon during the early 1900s, and their small cottage—with subsequent additions—remained on Pinellas Avenue until about 1920. From there, the Boyer Cottage moved to Orange Avenue, a block north of the main business district, until 1978. During this time, the cottage became one of the few residences in the City of Tarpon Springs that lacked electricity. In early 1979, members of the Protos family that had owned the building decided to donate it to Heritage Village.