Founder of Carrollwood and Carrollwood Village; Hillsborough County commissioner in the mid-1980s
Hillsborough County is full of inspiring, iconic, and interesting places, and there are remarkable people behind them. This series explores some of those communities, buildings, schools, parks, and roads.
Who was Matt Jetton?
Jetton, 1924-2013, founded Carrollwood in 1959 beside spring-fed Lake Carroll. Around 1970 he launched a sister community, Carrollwood Village, on land to the northwest. (His grandfather, also a developer, is namesake of Jetton Avenue in Tampa's Hyde Park.) Matt Jetton was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners in the early 1980s, and served as the board's chairman in 1984. He retired to Carrollwood Village in 1992.
Conceived as an alternative to growing South Tampa, Carrollwood got off to a sluggish start due to its distant proximity to developed Tampa. The opening of the University of South Florida in 1960 changed Carrollwood's fortunes, as USF professors and administrators, including then-President John Allen, bought houses in the community. With air-conditioning and other amenities, it drew notice. The National Association of Home Builders named it U.S. Subdivision of the Year in 1961.
Now known as "Original" Carrollwood, the community since 1969 has been a special taxing district that provides funds for features such as parks, a recreation center, and a private beach on Lake Carroll. There are 925 homes, many on curving streets that follow the lake's contours. The Carrollwood Civic Association, in cooperation with Hillsborough County government, oversees the community and arranges annual social gatherings.