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Post# A1955

History of St Petersburg

Posted on: Sunday, 15 February, 2009  18:36
Updated On: Monday, 02 April, 2012  03:14
Expires On: Wednesday, 02 July, 2036  19:36
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St. Petersburg, Florida
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St. Petersburg, Florida

Night view of the downtown skylineNight view of the downtown skyline


Nickname: Florida's Sunshine City
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
Country United States
State Florida
County Pinellas County
Founded 1876
Incorporated February 29 1892
- Mayor Rick Baker
- City 344.7 km (133.1 sq mi)
- Land 154.4 km (59.6 sq mi)
- Water 190.2 km (73.4 sq mi)
Elevation 13 m (43 ft)
Population (2004)
- City 249,090
- Density 1607.3/km (4,163.1/sq mi)
- Metro 2.7 million
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
- Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 727
Website: [1]
St. Petersburg (often shortened to St. Pete) is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The city is known as a vacation destination for North American and European vacationers, as well as a politically important battleground in U.S. Presidential politics. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 248,232. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 249,090 [2], making it the fourth largest city in the state of Florida and the largest city in Florida that is not a county seat. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, which is composed of roughly 2.7 million residents in the core, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state behind Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, and the third largest in the southeast.

The city is commonly referred to by locals as "St Pete"; neighboring St. Pete Beach, Florida formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents.

The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the mainland to the north, connected with the city of Tampa, Florida to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay, and to Bradenton, Florida in the south by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Interstate 275), which traverses the mouth of the bay. It is also served by Interstates 175 and 375, which branch off of 275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively. The Gandy Bridge, opened in 1924, is the first causeway to be built across Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa cities without a circuitous 43-mile trip around the Bay through Oldsmar.

With a purported average of some 360 days of sunshine each year, it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City." [1] For that reason, the city is a popular tourist, and retirement destination, especially for those in the United States from colder Northern climates particularly New York, Detroit, and Chicago. HistoryThe city was co-founded by John C. Williams, formerly of Detroit, Michigan, who purchased the land in 1876, and by Peter Demens, who was instrumental in bringing the terminus of a railroad there in 1888. St. Petersburg was incorporated on February 29, 1892, when it had a population of only some 300 people.

It was named after Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Peter Demens had spent half of his youth. A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city. Peter Demens won and named the city after his birthplace, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit. The Detroit Hotel still exists downtown, but has been turned into a condominum. The oldest running hotels are the historic Pier Hotel, built in 1921 The Pier Hotel and The Heritage Hotel, built in 1926.

The city's first major industry was born in 1899 when Henry W. Hibbs, 1862-1942, a native of Newport, North Carolina, established his wholesale fish business at the end of the railroad pier, which extended out to the shipping channel. Within a year, Hibbs Fish Company was shipping more than a thousand pounds (454 kg) of fish each day.

Dredging of a deeper shipping channel from 1906 to 1908 opened St. Petersburg to larger shipping. Further dredging improved the port facilities through the 1910s. By then the city's population had quadrupled to 4,127.

In 1914, airplane service across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back was initiated, generally considered the first commercial airline. The company name was the "St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line" and the pilot was Tony Jannus, flying a Benoist XIV flying boat. The Tony Jannus Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the airline industry. Jannus Landing, a local music/entertainment venue on Central Avenue in Downtown, is named after aviation pioneer Tony Jannus.

The city population continued to multiply during the twentieth century through the 1970s as the town became a popular retirement destination for Americans from midwestern cities, reaching 238,647 in the 1980 census. By the 1980s, however, the population had levelled off, and has grown by only 10,000 since then, primarily as a result of being "built-out". Geography and ClimateSt. Petersburg is located at (27.782254, -82.667619)GR1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 133.1 square miles (344.7 km²)— 59.6 square miles (154.4 km²) of it is land and 73.4 square miles (190.2 km²) of it (55.19%) is water.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Rec high °F (°C) 87 (30) 86 (30) 90 (32) 93 (33) 96 (35) 100 (37) 99 (37) 97 (36) 97 (36) 94 (34) 90 (32) 89 (31) 100 (37)
Avg high °F (°C) 70 (21) 71 (21) 76 (24) 81 (27) 86 (30) 89 (31) 90 (32) 90 (32) 89 (31) 84 (28) 77 (25) 72 (22) 81 (27)
Avg low °F (°C) 53 (11) 54 (12) 59 (15) 64 (17) 70 (21) 74 (23) 76 (24) 76 (24) 75 (23) 68 (20) 60 (15) 54 (12) 65 (18)
Rec low °F (°C) 25 (-3) 30 (-1) 32 (0) 41 (5) 55 (12) 54 (12) 67 (19) 68 (20) 61 (16) 43 (6) 29 (–1) 20 (–6) 20 (–6)
Precipitation in. (mm) 2.3 (58.4) 2.8 (71.1) 3.4 (86.4) 1.6 (40.6) 2.6 (66.0) 5.7 (144.8) 7.0 (177.8) 7.8 (198.1) 6.1 (155.0) 2.5 (63.5) 1.9 (48.3) 2.2 (55.9) 45.8 (1163.3)
Source: Weatherbase[2]

DemographicsHistorical populations
Census Pop. %
1890 458 —
1900 1,575 0%
1910 2,698 0%
1920 4,448 0%
1930 6,687 0%
1940 8,891 0%
1950 96,738 0%
1960 181,298 0%
1970 216,159 0%
1980 238,647 0%
1990 238,629 0%
2000 248,232 0%

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 248,232 people, 109,663 households, and 61,630 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,163.1 persons per square mile (1,607.3/km²). There were 124,618 housing units at an average density of 2,090.0 per square mile (806.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.36% White, 22.36% African American, 0.31% Native American, 2.67% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.07% from other races, and 2.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.23% of the population.

There were 109,665 households out of which 23.85% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.295% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no adult living partner present, and 43.8% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.865.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.24 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,597, and the median income for a family was $43,198. Males had a median income of $30,794 versus $27,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,107. About 9.2% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 88.53% of all residents, while Spanish comprised of 4.43%. The third most spoken language as a mother tongue was German at 0.78%, and the fourth was French at 0.72%. In total, 11.46% spoke languages other than English at home.[3] Attractions and points of interest
Downtown waterfront (2005) — the barriers in the foreground mark the border of the Honda Grand Prix racetrack.St. Petersburg has a branch of the state university, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, as well as St. Petersburg College and Eckerd College. The Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, future journalists and teachers of journalism, is also located in St. Petersburg. The non-profit school is the owner of the St. Petersburg Times, a unique arrangement devised by the founder of both, Nelson Poynter.

The city has a children's museum (Great Explorations), Museum of Fine Arts, a History Museum (which has a full-size replica of the Benoist seaplane and is located near the approximate spot by the St. Petersburg Pier where the first flight took place), a Holocaust Museum, and the Salvador Dalí Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dalí's outside of Europe, including a number of famous and large-scale paintings such as The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. There are also various other smaller art galleries and entertainment venues, such as: The Arts Center, Florida Craftsmen, Mahaffey Theater complex, The Coliseum, and Palladium Theatre, especially in the Downtown area, which has seen a boom in development since the mid 1990s.

The St. Petersburg Pier is a popular tourist attraction. It contains a small aquarium open to the public, retail shopping, adventure activities, and both casual and fine dining restaurants. Various sightseeing boat rides are also offered. Frequently docked at The Pier is the replica of the HMS Bounty used in the 1962 MGM movie starring Marlon Brando. The Bounty charges a fee for tours, and has recently returned from filming the sequels to Disney's .[4] [5] This replica was also used in the filming of the 2005 adult movie Pirates.

Downtown is the location of the BayWalk shopping complex which contains an IMAX Muvico 20 screen movie theater, as well as many chain restaurants and retail shops, catering to more of a middle and upper class audience. Baywalk is also a nightlife destination. North of downtown is Great Explorations, The Children's Museum, an interactive museum featuring a children's village with giant pretend stores, Fire House and Pet Vet Clinic, and preschool, science, music, art, and water exhibits. The museum is located next to the Sunken Gardens. Nearby restaurants on 4th Street include local specialties. Every Saturday morning, from October to May, the downtown area holds a farmers market, of sorts. Local produce farmers can be found selling their fruits up and down the downtown region, as well as live bands, barbecue vendors, and artists of all kinds. Several nightlife hotspots include Jannus Landing; the surrounding restaurants and bars; and the Central Avenue district. Several ethnic and domestic culinary specialties can be found throughout the downtown area.

Boyd Hill Nature Park located on Lake Maggiore is a 245 acre preserve where you can see many of the endangered plants and rare wildlife of tampa bay. There is a bird exhibit which houses bald eagles, owls, hawks, and other species.

St. Petersburg is well regarded for its beaches. In 2005, Fort Desoto was rated the number one beach in America by the annual Dr. Beach rankings.[6]

Also noted for its arts community, St. Petersburg regularly places top 25 in the nation among arts destinations[3]

Recently, St. Petersburg has become known and regarded as one of America's most livable cities.[4] DowntownDowntown St. Petersburg is the Central Business District, containing high rises for office use, most notably the Bank of America Tower. The St. Petersburg Times newspaper is headquartered in the Downtown area.[5] [6] The Poynter Institute, which owns the paper, is located on 3rd St. S.

The Wikimedia Foundation has been located in Downtown St. Petersburg since its founding by Jimmy Wales. On September 25, 2007, the Foundation announced it is moving in late 2007 from St. Petersburg to the San Francisco Bay Area.[7][8]

On the arts and culture side, many points of interest are located here. The Mahaffey Theater complex, The Arts Center, dozens of other art galleries, Haslam's used book store, The Coliseum, Palladium Theatre, and Jannus Landing are among the galleries and cultural venues featured downtown. Several prominent museums are located in the perimeter. Four of them have received notable accolades: Museum of Fine Arts, Salvador Dalí Museum, the Florida International Museum, and the Holocaust Museum. The city also plays host to many festivals throughout the year.[7]

Downtown contains the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and a downtown branch of St. Petersburg College. The downtown perimeter also houses several parks, most of which are waterfront or lakefront. Straub Park is nearly a half mile long, boasts a waterfront location, and is home of the Museum of Fine Arts. The Vinoy Hotel has waterfront location, a spot on the National Historic Register, and a AAA Four-Diamond rating. Most of the dining downtown can be found on Central Avenue. Central also contains most of the nightlife, namely Jannus Landing. However, Baywalk is an exception. All of these landmarks are connected via the Looper Trolley.

Tropicana Field, home of MLB's Tampa Bay Devil Rays is located in the western part of downtown. The team plays its spring training games at Progress Energy Park, right down the road. This setup is unique, making St. Petersburg the only city that plays host to its baseball team during spring training as well as the regular season. Also, the Devil Rays are one of only three MLB teams in the South.

Jutting a half mile into the Bay is the St. Petersburg Pier, a major tourist attraction with various activities. Due to its livability and myriad amenities, St. Petersburg's downtown has been rated among the best in the South. [8] Also worth noting, the area's ranking beaches are a 10 mile drive away from downtown. NeighborhoodsSt. Petersburg has more than 100 unique neighborhoods, keeping with its original a small town feeling while still offering residents all the amenities of a big city. St. Petersburg residents identify with the sense of community, cultural diversity and charm that their neighborhood offers, participating in Home Owners Associations that meet frequently and hosting neighborhood wide events monthly.

Allendale Terrace
Arlington Park
Azalea Homes
Bahama Shores
Barcley Estates
Bartlett Park
Bonita Bayou
Bayou Highlands
Bayway Isles
Big Bayou
Brighton Bay
Campbell Park
Casler Heights
Causeway Isles
Caya Costa
Central Oak Park
Childs Park
Clam Bayou
Coquina Key
Crescent Heights
Crescent Lake
Cromwell Heights
Disston Heights
Downtown (North Downtown and University Park)
Eagle Crest
Eden Isle
Euclid Heights
Euclid-St. Paul
Five Points
Fossil Park
Fruitland Heights
Garden Manor
Garden Manor Lake
Grand Central
Greater Pinellas Point
Greater Woodlawn
Harbor Isle
Harris Park
Highland Grove
Highland Oaks
Historic Kenwood
Historic Old Northeast/North Shore
Historic Roser Park
Historic Park Street
Historic Uptown
Holiday Park
Isla del Sol
Jordan Park
Jungle Prada
Jungle Terrace
Lake Euclid
Lake Maggiore Park
Lake Maggiore Shores
Lake Pasadena
Lakewood Estates
Lakewood Terrace
Live Oaks
Magnolia Heights
Mangrove Bay
Mangrove Bayou
Mariners Pass
Mel-Tan Heights
Melrose-Mercy/Pine Acres
Methodist Town
Mobel Americana/Americana Cove
Northeast Park
North Kenwood
Oakwood Garden/Pinefield View
Old Bayside/St. Petersburg Marina
Old Northeast
Old Pasadena
Old Southeast
Palmetto Park
Pasadena Bear Creek
Pasadena Yacht and Country Club
Pasadena Vista/West Lake Estates
Patrician Point
Perry Bayview
Placido Bayou
Ponce De Leon
Riviera Bay
Riviera Bay Subdivision
Roser Park Historic District
Round Lake Historic District/Round Lake
Shore Acres
Snell Isle
Sterling Manor
Sunset Drive
Weedon Island Preserve
Thirteenth Street Heights
Thirty-First Street Neighborhood
Tropical Shores
Twin Brooks
Tyrone Landing
Venetian Isles
West Neighborhood
Westminster Heights
Wildwood Heights
Winston Park
Woodlawn Oaks
Wyngate Townhomes
Yacht Club Estates

SportsClub Sport League Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football National Football League (NFL) - NFC Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey National Hockey League (NHL) - Eastern Conference St. Pete Times Forum
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) - AL Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football Arena Football League (AFL) St. Pete Times Forum

St. Petersburg is represented by teams in four major professional sports. One, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of Major League Baseball, plays in St. Petersburg proper, while the other three play across the bay in Tampa. All of the teams are considered to represent the entire Tampa Bay metropolitan area. The Devil Rays began play in 1998, but have yet to be a major contender - finishing last in the American League's East Division in eight of the nine seasons they have played. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays play their regular season games at Tropicana Field and their Spring Training Games at Progress Energy Park, giving them the unique distinction of being the only team in Major League Baseball that plays its Spring Training games in their home city.

Tropicana Field, the home venue of the Devil Rays, played host to the 1999 Final Four. St. Petersburg is also home to the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the inaugural race was held in April 2005. The circuit itself is made of downtown streets passing Progress Energy Park, the marina, and a runway in Albert Whitted Airport, and streets are temporarily blocked off for the annual Indy Racing League race, which was last held on April 1, 2007. The race has been confirmed to return from April 4 - April 6, 2008. Tropicana Field is also the site of the FMBC marching band championships in the fall, which features marching bands from across the state, including Newsome and Chamberlain high school.

See the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area page for more details.

St. Petersburg is the home of many past, present, and future sports icons. In the area of hails the WBC and IBF Light Middleweight Champion Ronald "Winky" Wright and IBF, IBO, and WBO Champion Jeff Lacy. Football is a big interest in the area. Ernest Givins, Stacey Simmons, William Floyd, and Pat Terrell are some of the famous retired NFL players from the city. Shaun King, Marquell Blackell, Aveion Cason, Darren Howard, Tim Carter, Kenny Heatly, and DeAndrew Rubin are some players currently in the NFL from the city. Sam Smith, Andre Hall, Pat Watkins, Jason Teague, Chris Davis, Billy Henderson, Chris C. Davis, Omonigho Imeokparia, Jovon Jackson, Marcello Church, Marton Church, Deonte Bolden, Pat Carter, Kevon Marion, Jeremy Biandudi, and Ralph "Ricky" Willams are some players looking to enter the NFL in the next couple of years. Current Devil Rays pitcher Doug Waechter is also from St. Pete, as well as Minnesota Twins pitcher Boof Bonser. Indy Racing League driver and 2005 Indianapolis 500 Champion Dan Wheldon resides in St. Pete as well. Gallery

View of Downtown St. Petersburg from the top of the Pier.

"The Pier" in St. Petersburg.

The Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg.

Bank of America Tower, currently the tallest in the city.

Skyline view from Tampa Bay.

Boats in the city marina, with the USF St Petersburg Campus in the background.

Sister citiesSee also: List of sister cities in Florida
Takamatsu, Japan
Saint Petersburg, Russia ''
Notable residentsMike Alstott, Professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Angela Bassett, actress
Sébastien Bourdais, Professional racecar driver
Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins band member
Charlie Crist, current Governor of Florida
Linda Crockett aka Christina Crockett, writer
Michael France, film screenwriter
Hobart Freeman, Author and charismatic preacher
Ernest Givins, former football player
Dwight Gooden, Baseball player
Nicole Haislett, Olympic gold medalist in swimming
Bob Devin Jones, playwright
Jack Kerouac, leading figure of the beat generation
Casey Kotchman, Major League Baseball player
Jeff Lacy, professional boxer
Tony Little, fitness guru
John Loftus, former U.S. Justice Department Nazi war crimes prosecutor, the president of the Florida Holocaust Museum, and terrorism expert
Gordon Mackenzie, former Major League Baseball player and minor league manager.
Johnny Nee, Baseball scout
Charles Roser, cookie maker, real estate developer & philanthropist.
Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia
Dan Wheldon, race car driver
Winky Wright, professional boxer
Omali Yeshitela, civil rights activist

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