BAT TOWER
THE
ABOUT

THE ORIGINAL BAT TOWER

RECONSTRUCTING HISTORY

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME

At left is the Temple Terrace bat tower on the Hillsborough River before it was burned by arsonists

Historic Dr. Campbell bat tower on Lower Sugarloaf Key. Florida built in 1926.

THE ORIGINAL BAT TOWER

It just so happens that little Temple Terrace
was the site of a grand scientific
experiment in the 1920s. The original
“Temple Terrace Bat Tower” (or “Hygiostatic
Bat Roost”, as it was coined by its
inventor) was built on the banks of the
Hillsborough River by Temple Terrace’s
original developers in 1924 and was
based on the plans of a Dr. Charles
Campbell, an early pioneer of bat studies
and subsequent Nobel Peace Prize
nominee. Campbell’s intent was to
create a structure that would act as a
roost for bats (much like a birdhouse
for birds), so that the bats would eat the local mosquitoes that
caused malaria. It’s unclear if bats ever lived in the tower in Temple
Terrace, or any of his other roost structures, but our tower
stood like a silent sentinel on the banks of the Hillsborough River
until it was burned down by unknown arsonists in 1979; only the
concrete legs and base now remain.

Today, there are three Campbell bat towers still in existence (out
of an original fourteen world-wide, including seven in Italy): one
in the Florida Keys on Sugarloaf Key, one in Comfort, Texas, and
the last one in Shangri-La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
in Orange, Texas. All of the towers measured 10 feet square
wide at the base and were 40 feet tall from ground level to the
top of the roof.