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This building once housed an open-air post office designed like the open-air post office still in operation in St. Petersburg, Florida today. William E. Burch was the postmaster in Palmetto from September 21, 1923 to December 31, 1935, and operated this post office location. Today it houses a medical supply company.

On the back of this building along 4th Street (old E. Bay) was the location of the tailor shop operated by Thomas Taylor.

Thomas Taylor "Taylor the Tailor"

Thomas Taylor the Tailor

Post Office on Main Street c. 1925

Wheel, Sky, Vehicle, Building

St. Pete Open-Air Post Office

St. Pete Open-Air Post Office

In the early 1910s, Thomas Taylor moved from England to Palmetto and became one of the most well-known and generous benefactors in Palmetto’s history. He was a local drycleaner, and was nicknamed “Taylor the Tailor” – most now remember him by that name. He had many other ventures as well – he was a musician and musical instrument salesman, a realtor, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and the owner of the Universal Theatre.

His dedication to the needy and to children helped make him one of Palmetto’s most beloved men. Once of the greatest things Taylor did was providing young couples with low-income housing. He invested in tax sale properties, renovated them, and then sold them to young couples for “rent” charges that were often half of what the payments would normally be. 

Taylor invested in the children of Palmetto by sponsoring dances and parties. He hosted the Palmetto Elementary school’s Christmas party every year. He would provide enough money to buy each child in the school a stocking of fruit and candy, along with a book and a toy. Because of this, Taylor became the personification of Christmas for many children in the area. At his theater, Taylor never charged any child more than a nickel to attend a movie. 

After his death in 1954 at the age of 70, Taylor left his estate to the Children’s Homes of Florida, except for $500 that he set aside to pay for his funeral expenses. Because they knew his $500 would not cover the expense of a tombstone, the students at Palmetto Elementary, along with the local police chief, raised the money to purchase one. Thomas Taylor was honored as a Great Floridian 2000 with a plaque that was placed on the side of this building. It disappeared when the building was last painted. 

This entry was created by Palmetto Historical Park staff using Palmetto Historical Park’s records and photos.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Alice V. Myers Archive Center

Manatee Count Library Digital Collections (M01-01491-A)

Courtesy of St. Petersburg Museum of History