St. Petersburg still retains much of the resort-town flavor its founders so cherished, a community of pelicans, porpoises, endless sunshine and sailboats.
In 1875, General John Williams came down from Detroit and bought 2,500 acres of land on Tampa Bay. He envisioned a grand city with graceful parks and broad streets, the trademark of today's St. Petersburg. The city's first hotel was named after his birthplace, Detroit.
Thirteen years later, Peter Demens, a noble Russian aristocrat, brought the Orange Belt Railway to St. Petersburg. On June 8, 1888, the first train arrived, carrying empty freight cars and one passenger, a shoe salesman from Savannah. Built one rail at a time, with unpaid laborers and creditors threatening to lynch Demens all the way, the railroad finally chugged to St. Petersburg. Demens named the city after his birthplace, St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg incorporated as a city in June 1903.
The year 1914 brought two firsts to St. Petersburg. The rich history of spring training and Florida's love affair with baseball began that year when the city's former mayor, Al Lang, convinced Branch Rickey to move his St. Louis Browns to the Sunshine City for spring training.
Also that year, Tony Jannus flew his Benoist airplane across Tampa Bay in 23 minutes, skimming across the water at a height of 50 feet. The event is commonly hailed as the birth of commercial aviation.
The city’s first library, built along Mirror Lake using Andrew Carnegie funds, opened December 1, 1915 and remains in operation today.
The Roaring Twenties
In the 1920s, the state's first big growth boom brought an invasion of tourists who arrived by auto, railroad, and yacht. In 1924, the Gandy Bridge opened -- cutting travel time to Tampa by more than half and positioning St. Petersburg to become Pinellas County's largest city.
The boom years in the 1920s brought notable architecture to St. Petersburg. The city's architecture reflected a Mediterranean Revival motif, fostered in large part by Perry Snell, who created a 275-acre subdivision, Snell Isle.
St. Petersburg's Mediterranean Revival makeover is evident in several buildings including The Vinoy Hotel, the Jungle Country Club Hotel, the Princess Martha, and the Snell Arcade, and can be seen in the Spanish castles and homes along Coffee Pot Bayou and in the Jungle Prada neighborhood.
Through the 1920s, St. Petersburg continued to have strong tourist years. During the Depression, the real estate boom crashed. St. Petersburg recovered, though, with large Public Works Administration projects in the 1930s, which helped the city begin its economic recovery with $10 million in new investment. St. Petersburg's City Hall was built with New Deal federal funds in 1939.
To finish ready the history of Saint Petersburg or for more information please click the link: City of Saint Petersburg
- Belleair Bluffs
- Clearwater Beach
- Indian Rocks Beach/Indian Shores
- Sand Key
- Belleair Beach/Belleair Shores
- Gulfport/St. Petersburg
- Madeira Beach
- Palm Harbor
- Pass A Grille
- Redington Beach/Redington Shores
- Saint Petersburg
- St. Pete Beach
- Tierra Verde
- Treasure Island