Whose Name is on a Wood Ceiling in the Temptation Building?
Tales of Island Life: February 2024
A few years ago, Jeff Simmons, a Temptation owner, found a name on a wooden board in the ceiling of a small upstairs room in the Temptation building. He recognized the name, Homer Addison, because it was Homer who built the building that houses the Temp and it was Homer who started the Temptation in the late 1940’s. After a little research, Jeff learned that in those years, lumber came by train and the name of the intended receiver would be written on one of the pieces. Soon it was nailed into Island history.
Homer Jackson Addison was a descendant of a Florida pioneer family. His great-grandfather, John Addison, moved from North Carolina as early as 1825. His grandfather, Joel Jackson Addison, was the sheriff of Manatee County in the 1860’s. Homer was born in the old Travelers Hotel in Punta Gorda in 1907. He was thought to be the oldest native resident of Charlotte County when he died at 97 in 2004.
Homer left school in the eighth grade and went to work because his father who was badly crippled with arthritis could no longer work. Eventually Homer became a barber in a shop across the street from the old Punta Gorda Hotel. A lucky location because in 1924, Barron Collier bought the hotel, refurbished it and renamed it the Hotel Charlotte Harbor. Homer became Collier’s barber and was soon traveling with Collier on his yacht, the Baroness, to Useppa and Boca Grande. He especially liked Boca Grande and soon he sold the barber shop and began working for Jerome Fugate as a Boca Grande barber and part-time soda jerk.
Homer was a returning veteran of World War II when he borrowed $10,000 from his father and built the building at 350 Park Avenue. It was supposed to be a barber shop and a bar. He called it the Temptation after a bar he had frequented in California while on leave during the war. But the barber shop never materialized and the Temp opened as a bar and night club. At first, Homer could only get a beer license but later got a full liquor license which not only allowed him to serve drinks but included a package permit. His liquor store occupied the shelves at the front of the bar. The license required food service, so he offered the “steak dinner anytime” that we still see on signs in the Temptation. Homer sold the Temptation to Frank and Martha Smith in 1960.