90 8th Street - Block 32, Lot 3
Sylvester Tarantino House
Deeds on this lot are traceable back to December 1, 1866 when a George Sinclair sold it to William Sinclair (1), but the deed transfers over the decades since then make no mention of structures on the property. In looking for a clue as to the date of the house standing here now, the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from 1920 through 1950 show no structure at this location. The deed books show that Sylvester Tarantino and his wife, Thelma, bought this lot in February, 1952 (2) and all evidence suggests that it was they who built this house that same year.
Mr. and Mrs. Tarantino were both second-generation Italian immigrants. Their parents came to Apalachicola in the 1860s. Sylvester worked as a mechanic at the pogy plant off of Bluff Road for many years and, when the plant closed, he went into business for himself, erecting the small garage still standing behind his house. In 1982, after thirty years of owning and living in this house, Sylvester and Thelma sold it to their son Farris who served as a County Commissioner for a time. Sylvester died in 1984 and Thelma died two years later; they are buried side-by-side across the street in Chestnut Cemetery. In 1988, Farris Tarantino sold the house to Bonnie Mae Smith, a transplant from Maine. She lived here until her death in 2016, when ownership of the house passed to her sister in Maine.
This house is part of the heritage of the wave of Italian immigrants to Apalachicola in the mid-to-late 19th century. Like so many of the Italian immigrants here, Sylvester's father worked as an oysterman and Thelma's father was a sailor, a carpenter and a boat builder. They, their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren helped form the backbone of our community.
(1) Deed Book A, Page 100.
(2) Deed Book SS, Page 110.