By 1915, Tampa needed a new city hall. Built on land that once had been occupied by an 1842 frame house, the new structure was designed by Malachi Leo Elliott. The eight story “layer-cake” building included ornamental head decorations modeled on Seminole Native American women with braided hair. A four story annex served as Tampa’s police headquarters.
C. Hortense Oppenheimer, socialite daughter of a prominent physician (Louis Sims Oppenheimer) was immensely bothered by the fact that the new city hall did not have a clock tower. She soon launched a fund raising campaign to put one on the building. Her organization, “Ye Town Criers” raised $1,200, which was matched by private donors. For her efforts, Tampa named the clock tower “Hortense the Beautiful.”
During the 1960’s, the four story annex that served as police headquarters had deteriorated so badly that it had to be demolished (a new police headquarters building was constructed across the street). By 1974, Tampa’s City Hall had been listed on the National Register of Historic places. The structure underwent $16 million renovation in 2017.