Harlan P. Lovering - 14th Mayor Of Tampa
Term: August 14, 1876 - August 14, 1877
Born in New Jersey, Harlan Lovering arrived in Tampa on business in 1872. At the request of his brother, the manager of the Dixie Pencil Company in New Jersey, Lovering came to assess the supply of cedar trees in Hillsborough County. Cedar was used to produce pencils and Lovering was interested in obtaining a large supply of the wood that could be shipped to New Jersey.
Impressed by the vast timber resources and financial opportunities offered by the area, Lovering purchased a sawmill on the Hillsborough River and expanded its operations to increase production. After the wood was cut, the logs were floated down the Hillsborough River where they were cut and packed, taken to the port and then shipped to New Jersey. In 1875, he opened a general store and the following year began exporting citrus to the north, both of which became profitable ventures. Lovering also co-owned a steamship which he used to transport foodstuffs and cedar to the north. Within a few years, he had become one of the leading businessmen in Tampa which lead to his involvement local civic activities and politics.
In August 1876, Lovering campaigned for mayor and was elected to a one-year term. While in office, he attempted to revitalize Tampa's business community, increase city revenues and improve services. In August 1877, he was elected to the city council but resigned when his sawmill was destroyed by fire in July 1878. Lovering sold his general store, ownership in a steamship and, on November 9, 1878, moved back to New Jersey. He never returned to Tampa. Lovering's birth and death places and dates are presently unknown.
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.
1878, Florida Peninsula Index, Florida Heritage Project
Tampa Council Minutes, Cityof Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL
January 1, 1857 - October 2, 1891 Microfilm Roll # 1