ST.PETERSBURG (Florida)

THE CITY WITH THE PIER

SAINT PETERSBURG AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE *** SAINT PETERSBURG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

SAINT PETERSBURG PRESERVATION

WHERE TO START: START AT the parking lots of ST. PETERSBURG PIER at the end of Second Avenue NE. The pier is presently closed while the city has been fighting over what the fourth structure on this site will be. This tour may be driven by automobile with suggest stops (MAP) or walked in two hours.


(1) ST. PETERSBURG PIER (1988), 800 Second Avenue, has been the landmark of downtown since l899 when Peter Demens hooked up his Orange Belt Railroad to a half mile wharf. D. F. Brantley started the first pier pavilion in 1895, but it is the 1926 Million Dollar Pier torn down for today's pyramid that collectors and real old-timers remember. Now a new something will be built here where another generation grew up with the pyramid..

The town father of the city was General John C. Williams, a former mayor of Detroit (see picture) and developer of the downtown district.
  
           Downtown View From St Pete Pier                                  Fountain in Mirror Lake

    

        Postcard of Old St Pete High                                               Open-Air Post Office

TURN RIGHT ON FIRST STREET, then LEFT ON FIRST AVENUE, and finally LEFT ON SECOND STREET. On your left at 25 Second Street, is the (9) FLORENTINE HOTEL (1910), the oldest masonry hotel still standing. Look carefully for the small (10) BRANTLEY BUILDING (1888), 17 Second Street, oldest downtown commercial structure, built first to house Demens' railroad workers. The last building on the left is the (11) HENRI HOTEL (1909), 173 Central Avenue, still maintaining its balconies.

TURN RIGHT ON busy CENTRAL AVENUE. On your right is the (14) ST.CHARLES HOTEL (1903), a fine balconied edifice. Next door is the (12) DETROIT HOTEL (1888), 215 Central Avenue, built by Peter Demens and John Williams. It has been greatly modified since the days William J. Bryan, Clarence Darrow, and Babe Ruth. It has personality compared to skyscrapers like the 26 story (13) BARNETT TOWER.  Look behind the Detroit and spy the outdoor stages of JANNUS LANDING, a popular nightclub.



TURN LEFT ON THIRD STREET, GO TWO BLOCKS TO SECOND AVENUE SOUTH, where to your left, you'll see the: (15) NUMBER ONE FIRE STATION (1911), 220 3rd Street, the city's first station.

TURN RIGHT ON SECOND AVENUE TO FOURTH STREET past the: (16) TREMOR CAFETERIA (1924), 119 4th Street, with its colorful Spanish tiles and stylish porches. World War II veterans remember the dances at the canteen.

GO NORTH ON 4TH STREET TO CENTRAL AVENUE. You notice the south side of Central is lined with modern structures like the FLORIDA FEDERAL TOWER (1989) and the FIRST UNION BUILDING (1983). On the north side of Central, you'll see the facades of the older downtown: the (17) RUTLAND BUILDING (1925), 405 Central Avenue, and the modernized (18) McCRORY HOTEL (1904, 425 Central Avenue.


Easily noticeable for its glazed terra cotta design is the  (19) KRESS BUILDING (1927) at 485 Central Avenue. TURN LEFT ON CENTRAL AVENUE and continue west down the 500 block where the featured gem on the right is the (20) ALEXANDER HOTEL (1919), 535 Central Avenue, a National Registrar Beaux-Arts twin- towered hotel by Atlantan Neel Reid.

The next block includes another Neel Reid structure, the still active with shows (21) STATE THEATER (1924), a Doric temple at 685 Central Avenue, and the (22) GREEN ARCADE (1924), 689 Central Avenue.


TURN RIGHT ON 7TH AVENUE and RIGHT ON ARLINGTON to reach: MIRROR LAKE, once Weir Lake, the city's first reservoir. At 719 Arlington Avenue is the (23) UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST CHURCH (1926), a good Spanish Colonial mission with an interior of dark wood beams.

Mirror Lake is a good place to stroll CLOCKWISE (WHICH IS THE ORDER I WILL LIST BUILDINGS). DRIVERS MUST TRAVEL AROUND THE LAKE COUNTERCLOCKWISE so study our maps.

Walkers going clockwise will see the: (24) OLD ST. PETERSBURG JUNIOR HIGH (1924), 294 Mirror Lake Drive, and the (25) OLD ST. PETERSBURG HIGH SCHOOL (1919), 709 Mirror Lake. Florida's oldest community college, St. Petersburg Junior College has its roots here.


Surrounded by courts is the famous (26) ST. PETERSBURG LAWN BOWLING CLUB (1926), 536 4th Avenue, the world's largest shuffleboard center and home to the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame.


NOTICE TO THE NORTH the facade of the (27) COLISEUM (1924), 535 4th Street, home to generations of ballroom dancers and host to the greatest big bands of all time. You may recall the building as where Don Ameche displayed his Academy Award winning dance form in the movie CACOON.

At the east end of the Lake is the Neoclassical Revival (28) CARNEGIE LIBRARY (1915), 300 3rd Street, the city's first library, with popular gardens by the Sunshine Senior Citizens Center.


FROM 5TH STREET, TURN EAST (LEFT IF YOU WENT CLOCKWISE) ON SECOND AVENUE. You soon note the (29) ST. PETERSBURG CITY HALL (1939), 175 5th Street, a three story Mediterranean Revival design by Lawther Forrest for the W.P.A.


Behind City Hall is the (30) MANUAL TRAINING SCHOOL (1902), used as a City Hall Annex, but set up by Edwin Tomlinson, a silver mining tycoon who was the savior of vocational education in the community. Next door is the (31) ST. PETERSBURG CATHEDRAL (1889), 140 4th Street, a Greek Revival church housing the city's second oldest Episcopal congregation.

YOU HAVE REACHED 4TH STREET on the spot where a local realtor placed the first sidewalk bench in St. Petersburg. Across the way is: (32) WILLIAMS PARK, the city's transportation core and Colonel John C. Williams' plaza of 1888.

I TURN RIGHT ON 4TH STREET past the: (33) FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH (1924), 136 4th Street, a good Neo- Classical Revival. YOU WILL TURN LEFT ON FIRST AVENUE, but you'd like to stop to batter notice on your right the (34) PRINCESS MARTHA HOTEL (1923), 401 First Avenue, (see photo) designed by Boston's Ed Jonsberg at the start of the Land Boom.

Across the street on the right is a city landmark, the: (35) OPEN-AIR POST OFFICE (1917), 400 lst Avenue, a granite Spanish Colonial structure with arcades where once all postboxes faced the sunshine. Behind the post office and best seen by foot is the wonderful: (36) SNELL ARCADE BUILDING (1926), main entrance on 405 Central Avenue, designed by Richard Kiehnel for developer Peter Snell. The elaborate floor arcade with its extravagant art work merits an interior visit and National Registrar salute.



TURN LEFT ON FIRST AVENUE between the Park and the (37) DENNIS (McCARTHY) HOTEL (1925), 326 First Avenue, Henry Cunnningham's Neoclassical residence hotel.

TURN LEFT ON THIRD STREET. On the left past the Park is the huge brick facade of the (38) FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (1924), 212 Third Street. Across the street are some of downtown's mansions: the (39) JAMES ENDICOTT HOUSE (l916), 233 Third Street. a shingle house of a judge.

PASS THIRD AVENUE on the right is the (40) MARTHA WASHINGTON HOTEL (1928), 234 Third Avenue, part of which is a Victorian cottage. TURN RIGHT ON FOURTH AVENUE to see at 262 4th Avenue, the (41) RALPH VEILLARD HOUSE (1910), a Queen Anne bungalow designed by Henry DuPont for a pioneer automobile dealer. Across the street at 259 4th Avenue, is the (42) FRANK DAVENPORT HOUSE (1906). A third house is the (43) HENRY BUSSEY HOUSE (1904).

As you head toward the water you can’t help notice the growth of condo highrise units and the successful BAYWALK SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT CENTER.


TURN LEFT ON SECOND AVENUE going toward the Pier. On your way notice the endangered (44) PERRY SNELL HOUSE (l904), 105 Second Avenue, the frame house of the developer of the city's finest Land Boom suburb Snell Isles.