Panoramic Oldsmar - Oil Painting
Gibson Catlett Studios of Chicago, 1920
TECO Hall, 400 St. Petersburg Drive E., Oldsmar
The 20-foot-wide oil painting by Gibson Catlett was commissioned in 1918 or 1919 by Ransom E. Olds, founder of the City of Oldsmar, to encourage potential buyers to invest in Ransom Old’s dream of building a thriving city. Catlett all but disregards scale to portray Oldsmar as an inevitable focal point to the region and his idealized interpretation of Olds' dream.
Completed in 1920, the painting was displayed in the Oldsmar Casino, which was located at the end of a 1000-foot pier at what is currently R.E. Olds Park. The Casino attracted dozens of visitors from Tampa and Pinellas County. From early postcards of Oldsmar, the painting can be seen hanging inside the Casino, where it remained until the early 1920’s, when it was hung in the Oldsmar land sales office.
By 1930, the large painting found a permanent home for the next 60 years in Oldsmar’s first City Hall and Council Chamber. In 1988, the painting was moved to the second Council Chamber building, which was demolished in 2013. In 1990, the City Council paid $10,000 to have the painting restored. In 2005, the painting underwent another extensive restoration by Sarasota conservator Theodore Nightwine costing $14,500. In 2007, the painting was moved to its current home in TECO Hall inside the Oldsmar Public Library. Although it started out as a glimpse into Oldsmar’s future, it now lives on as a clear look into Oldsmar’s past.