Bayshore Beautiful: The Grand Oak, and the Allure of Bayshore Boulevard

Bayshore Beautiful

Bayshore Beautiful: The Grand Oak, and the Allure of Bayshore Boulevard

A very special grand oak tree sits in the center of the Virage construction site. For more than 150 years, the oak has provided shade and vivid scenery; now, it will provide a signature element to the dramatic arrival court and elevated lifestyle amenities of Tampa’s newest luxury condominium.

Virage developers recognized the importance of this landmark oak, and have specifically preserved the tree and designed the structure with a distinctive curve, wrapping around the grand oak to maximize the spectacular views from this very special site along the city’s beloved Bayshore Boulevard.

Tampa’s ‘Boulevard of Dreams’

For generations, Bayshore Boulevard has served as social and recreational hub of Tampa life. The waterfront thoroughfare was once only dotted with a few grand homes and an old-fashioned streetcar system, completed in 1893.

Emelia and Chester Chapin were instrumental in developing the bay shore area and city of Tampa – she had her own personal trolley car, Fair Lady, built so she could shop, entertain friends and travel to the Ballast Point Pavilion. It was their Boulevard of Dreams – today a historic marker commemorates their contribution to the city.

By 1926, the length of roadway was named Bayshore Boulevard, with roads alongside a trolley track median. Throughout the next decade, road development included raising the seawall’s height, and adding the long white balustrade, which is today symbolic of the parkway. Trolley car service ended in 1946, ushering in a new era of high rise residential buildings mingling with the grand private homes on the road’s north side.

Bayshore Today

Today, Bayshore Boulevard is a coveted 4.5-mile stretch of residential luxury. Virage residents will soon enjoy direct access to Bayshore Boulevard steps beyond their fully-serviced front door. A scenic stroll, or invigorating jog or bike ride, leads to the equally lovely and historic Hyde Park neighborhood, with many homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bayshore’s ten-foot wide continuous sidewalk is edged by the impeccably manicured balustrade, with uninterrupted views of Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Bay. Lush grass medians and palms mingle with age-old landscapes – including Virage’s 150-year-old Virage grand oak.