Evans Avenue Homes

1531-33 Evans Avenue – Home of Roy Franklin Greene and Eva Rose Curtis Greene – 1955

The ranch-style duplex constructed on this parcel is virtually identical to its “twin” constructed at 2616 Michigan Avenue.  Its large louvered windows, very much in style in the 1950’s, dominate the front façade.  Like its “twin” around the corner on Michigan Avenue, this home was constructed by Gulf Coast Securities, Inc., and its first occupants were Roy and Eva Greene, who came here from Kentucky.

When John Dean recorded his Dean’s Subdivision map on May 1, 1920, this lot was part of a larger 210-by-210-foot parcel shown on the map as “Tippins,” signifying that it had already been conveyed to Fannie Yeats Tippins in 1914.  The 1922 Sanborn Insurance Company map only showed a small outbuilding to be located on the Tippins parcel, and the 1930 Sanborn map shows the Tippins parcel to be entirely vacant.  By the 1950’s, the “Tippins” parcel had become four separate lots:  1531-33 Evans Avenue, 1541-43 Evans Avenue, 2615 Michigan Avenue and 2627 Michigan Avenue. 

Roy Franklin Greene was one of eight children raised in Catoosa County, Kentucky, by Fannie Webb Greene, who was widowed when she was barely 30 years old.  By the 1910 census, most of her young children were working, with Roy working in a machine shop and even the youngest son working in a hosiery mill at age 15.  Roy soon found work as a machinist for the Southern Railroad Company and remained an employee for life.

 On his retirement at age 67, he and his wife Eva moved to Fort Myers in 1955 and purchased this brand new home on Evans Avenue.  According to News-Press stories, Roy became an active member of the National Association of Retired Railway Employees and Eva joined and then became president of the Live and Share Horticulture Society.  They sold this home in 1959 and moved to Rosemont Avenue, where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1965.

Portion of “Tippins” parcel abutting Block G on Dean’s Subdivision map.

 

1541-43 Evans Avenue  – Duplex Home of August J. Leap, Jr. & Nancy Mae Leap and Jack Kendall Harris & Anna Mae Harris – 1955

This ranch-style duplex was also built in 1955 by Gulf Coast Securities, Inc., as were adjacent homes at 1531 Evans Avenue and 2616 Michigan.  All three homes feature the large jalousie windows so popular in the 1950’s.  This home also includes two carport areas.

The home’s first occupants were August J. Leap, Jr. and Nancy Mae Leap, who lived in one-half of the duplex, and their daughter, Anna Mae Harris, and her husband, Jack Kendall Harris, who lived in the other half. 

When John Dean recorded his Dean’s Subdivision map on May 1, 1920, this lot was part of a larger 210-by-210-foot parcel shown on the map as “Tippins,” signifying that it had already been conveyed to Fannie Yeats Tippins in 1914.  By the 1950’s, the “Tippins” parcel had become four separate lots:  1531-33 Evans Avenue, 1541-43 Evans Avenue, 2615 Michigan Avenue and 2627 Michigan Avenue, and Gulf Coast Securities owned three of them.  On August 1, 1956, the company sold the corner parcel (1543 Evans Avenue) to the Leaps for $9,000 and the northerly parcel (1541 Evans Avenue) to the Harrises, also for $9,000. 

Mr. Leap was the oldest of nine children born to a Kentucky farmer, August J. Leap, Sr.  He and his wife, Nancy, lived in Kentucky for most of their lives and came to Fort Myers in 1956 when they purchased this house.  Mr. Leap, then age 49, worked a manager of the Super Test Service Station.  Just three years later, the two couples sold this home and the Leaps returned to Newport, Kentucky, where Mr. Leap worked as a bartender in Harry’s Café.

The Harris family remained in Fort Myers, with Mr. Harris working as an installer for a telephone company, according to the 1957 Fort Myers city directory, and eventually retiring from Sprint.  In 1970, the Leaps returned to Fort Myers from Kentucky, rejoining their daughter, Anna Mae and her family, as well as their youngest son, James, who had also settled here.   On Nov. 15, 1989, the News-Press reported that they were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Portion of “Tippins” parcel abutting Block G on Dean’s Subdivision map.

 

1615 Evans Avenue – ‘Dwelling-Garage’ owned by John T. Brennan – 1922

This two-story structure was proudly announced on August 9, 1922, in the News-Press as follows:

            “Attracting a good deal of attention because of its novel construction is the attractive new dwelling-garage of John Brennan, that is being built at Evans and Michigan avenues.  It is two stories high and will be ready for occupancy next week.

            “The structure has compartments for three automobiles and on the first floor is a shower bath.  The second story comprising large and airy rooms is flanked on the north and south sides by large screened-in sleeping porches.  A feature of construction is a good looking fire place in the commodious living room.

            “The dwelling presents a pleasing appearance.  It was designed and is being built by Mr. Brennan who is a contractor and builder of many years experience.”

This parcel is one of 366 lots (each one 50 wide and 150 deep) in Evans Addition, one of the earliest Fort Myers subdivision – so old that the subdivision plat was recorded in Key West, once the county seat of Monroe County of which Fort Myers was once a part.  In 1905, the plat was re-recorded in Fort Myers after Lee County was formed from the northern portion of Monroe County.  In 1913, all the lots in Evans Addition on the northerly side of Michigan were purchased for $6,000 by The Carl F. Roberts Company, which conveyed this lot to John T. Brennan for $500, as well as two adjacent lots on Michigan Avenue.

Mr. Brennan, who had been a carpenter and cabinetmaker in Michigan, and his wife Grace lived in Fort Myers the rest of their lives, but often returned to Michigan for extended visits during the summer months.  He never sold this property at 1615 Evans during his lifetime and, according to the 1935 city directory, was operating his contracting business from this address.  This property was not sold until after Mr. Brennan’s death in 1944.  Mrs. Brennan remained very involved in community and church activities – including spearheading the fundraising drive for the organ at Edison Congregational Church – until her death in 1967.

Earlier addresses:  311 Evans Avenue until 1926, 2114 N. Evans Avenue until 1955; Evans’ Addition, Block 2, Lot 1.