Perry G. Wall - 41st Mayor Of Tampa
Born: November 22, 1867
Died: January 25, 1944
Term: January 8, 1924 - January 3, 1928
Born in Hernando County, Florida, Perry Wall came from a distinguished pioneer family. He attended the East Florida Seminary and Binghams Military School in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1884, Wall came to Tampa where he established a hardware business with his brother-in-law. However, because he was underage, his uncle and financial guardian Edward Clarke (a former Mayor) authorized all the necessary legal documents. The firm was originally known as Clarke and Knight but when Wall came of legal age, the business name was changed to Knight and Wall. About this time, Wall married Mattie Houston and the couple had two children.
In addition to his business activities, Wall became active in civic and political affairs. He served as Chairman of the Congressional and County Democratic Committees, and the Executive Committee of the White Municipal Party. In 1890 and 1894 he was elected to the city council and served as a member of the Hillsborough County School Board from 1897-1898. In January 1924, Wall was elected to a four-year term as Mayor-Commissioner of Tampa.
During his term of office, Tampa experienced an unprecedented real estate boom which resulted in the widespread construction of residential homes, stores and office buildings. The infrastructure and treasury of the City's government also expanded in response to the rapid growth in real estate and construction. Wall's Administration facilitated the establishment of Temple Terrace, originally the site of a 1,500 acre orange grove. Sub-divided in 1924 as a residential area, it resulted in a large growth in Tampa's population and tax base. One year later, Davis Island was also developed into a residential area out of mud flats at the mouth of the Hillsborough River. The project of David Davis, Davis Island was an important tax asset to the city. In 1927, it also became the home of the Tampa Municipal Hospital.
One of the greatest social as well as economic developments during Wall's Administration was the construction of the Gandy Bridge. The longest automobile toll bridge in the world at the time. The bridge not only greatly improved transportation to and from Tampa to St. Petersburg and other towns but also enabled both Tampa and towns in Pinellas County to develop economically and socially.
After Wall completed his term, he served as State Chairman of the Government Committee on Taxation and Finance from 1930 to 1932 when he was appointed Tampa Harbormaster. Wall served in this position until 1936.
Perry Wall died in Tampa on January 25, 1944.
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
June 1, 1923 - May 26, 1926 Roll # 9
June 1, 1926 - October 9, 1928 Roll # 10