In Tampa Bay's Gulf Beaches: The Fabulous 1950s and 1960s, author R. Wayne Ayers illustrates the area's post-war transformation through vintage photographs taken from a variety of sources, including Heritage Village, the Indian Rocks Beach Historical Museum, the Florida State Archives, and private collections. Ayers is a reporter and feature writer for Tampa Bay Newspapers and serves on the Board of Directors of the Indian Rocks Beach Historical Society. He is a frequent featured guest on Pinellas Past, a TV series devoted to local history, and is the author of Tampa Bay's Gulf Beaches and St. Petersburg: The Sunshine City in the Images of America series.
Tampa Bay's Gulf Beaches:: The Fabulous 1950s and 1960sby R. Wayne Ayers
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In the years following World War II, Tampa Bay's barrier island beaches were transformed from a sparsely populated strip to a booming vacation destination. Following the war's end, fond memories of beachside training exercises amid sand and sea attracted thousands of former G.I.s and their families to the area for vacation. This sudden outbreak of tourism caught the attention of developers, who quickly converted the lonely stretches of beach into a vacationer's paradise, complete with snazzy motels offering the latest amenities. Once home to fishermen and well-to-do winter vacationers, the area's gulf beaches became a popular getaway for newly prosperous middle-class families, anxious to put war-weary years behind them.
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