Since then, Brandon has grown in spurts, beginning with the first general store opened by Dan Galvin on the corner of Moon Avenue and Victoria Street. In 1905, a school was built on Parsons Avenue and Victoria allowed new teachers to board with her so that the new school would have a teacher.
At the time Valrico began to develop as Victoria's son Lovic, moved there and opened a general store. Lovic and Victoria's other son, Mark, organized the Valrico Baptist Church in 1915, which later moved to Brandon and became the First Baptist Church in 1930.
By 1916, the community needed a large central school to house all of the area's students, so the Brandon Grade School (now McLane Jr. High) was built on Knights Avenue to house grades 1 through 12.
The first Brandon census was taken in 1922 when the population was 100. In 1925, Hopewell Road became a 9-foot wide, paved road and residents such as Clarence Hampton began building business along it in 1927. Clarence opened the first gas and service station.
During the 1920s, the eastern border of Brandon was Pinewood Avenue. Beyond that, was the Kingsway Poultry Colony, where chickens were raised during the winter to be sold in Ybor City. During the Great Depression, the poultry farms closed and Brandon stabilized with a population of about 250 people.
Most local residents worked in the two orange packing houses in Valrico. The center of town remained at Moon Avenue and Victoria Street where the train depot, post office, school, and grocery store were all located. For entertainment and everything else, the train to Tampa was the way to go, as only a few paved roads existed with most being dirt or shell topped, making the drive to Tampa very difficult.
World War II was an interesting time in Brandon, with little growth, but a definite edge as they had the food they raised on their farms. After the war new businesses began to open again. A drug store and soda fountain at the corner of Parsons Avenue and Hopewell Road quickly became a popular teenage hangout. In 1950, Scogin's opened their famous variety store on Hopewell Road, and in 1953, Brandon got its first doctor, Dr. V. R. Hunter.
The 1950s were the beginning of the real growth period for Brandon. Yates Elementary was built in 1954, followed by Mann Junior High School in 1957. Brandon Grade School, on Knights Avenue, became the first Brandon High School. At the time there were fewer than 100 graduates a year. In 1956, Hopewell Road was connected to Adamo Drive, which made access to Tampa easier, thus turning Brandon into a bedroom community. With commuters, came subdivisions, the first of which as Hill-Dale Heights on Kingsway Avenue. The Brandon News was established in 1958 as a one-page newsletter and advertisement for Scogin's clothing store, written by Al & Chris Scogin. Brandon's first honorary Mayor's race was held in 1959 and was won by Nat Storms.
In 1959, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce was formed to help promote business and growth. By the early 1960s, Brandon's population was 8,000 and it was estimated that one new family moved into town every day. Brandon began spreading out into the bordering communities of Limona, Seffner and Valrico; Hopewell Road became four lanes wide and was renamed State Road 60. Soon, the town's first shopping center, Brandon Center, was built and Brooker Elementary School and the Brandon Swim and Tennis Club both opened in 1965. In the next few years, Kingswood Elementary School, the Brandon Public Library and many housing developments, shopping centers and golf courses further fueled or reflected the influx of new residences and businesses.
By the 1970s, growth was causing traffic congestion, as approximately 430 commercial and service businesses, 3 malls and a population of 40,000 were all contained with-in a six-mile radius.
In the mid 1970s, Hillsborough Community College moved to Brandon by holding classes at public schools. More indications of the increasing population were the building of Brandon Community Hospital and the Brandon Cultural Center (now the Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association).
Brandon took off rapidly during the 1980s. Development of the southern area of Brandon brought thousands of new residents. On September 27, 1986, I-75 began to bring traffic through the Brandon area, dramatically changing the community and helping its population reach approximately 100,000 with over 2,500 business by 1988.
Brandon has grown by leaps and bounds and has become a major urban area. New public schools, malls, corporate centers and industries are opening daily. Brandon is a place with great community spirit and a friendly atmosphere.
When you drive through Brandon, you see development everywhere. The demand for new housing grows every day. The community's borders continue to stretch as the vacant land on the outskirts is used for residential and business development. The Bloomingdale area is expanding rapidly as new developments are built around the Bloomingdale Golf Course. South on Lithia Pinecrest Road is Arvida Riverhills and the FishHawk Trails. Providence, Riverview and other parts of southern Brandon are also drawing new homeowners looking for affordable housing. Brandon has become a community with its own suburbs that stretch for miles around it.
In its 141 years, Brandon has grown from one family living alone in the wilderness, to an unincorporated thriving community of over 170,000 in Tampa Bay, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. Much has changed in the last three or four decades for Brandon. No longer a quiet country village or a sleepy suburb, it is now a bustling center of commerce. It has proved to be a wonderful place to live and work and its growth is assured as it takes its place among the Tampa Bay area's most thriving communities.
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