Commerce, tourism, recreation, and even the quest for eternal youth were the primary incentives for building piers along St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront as early as 1854. For more than 160 years, developers and entrepreneurs pushed wooden or concrete structures from the shoreline to the deeper waters of Tampa Bay. Railroads were behind the early development, allowing cargo loads to be transferred from ship to rail with the least amount of effort. A large and profitable fishing industry evolved. Electrically powered trolley cars shuttled tourists to and from cruise ships. Promoters built bathhouses, spas, and bait houses to entice locals and visitors, and casino gathering halls of various, often controversial, styles were proposed, built, destroyed, loved, and detested. Competing piers were built only 10 feet apart. Mother Nature's elements, including a hurricane, and politics ravaged most of the remaining structures.
About the Author
Images of America: St. Petersburg's Piers showcases photographs from the archives of the St. Petersburg Museum of History, located at the current pier's entrance. Museum education director and historian Nevin D. Sitler has combined images curated for a semipermanent pier exhibit with more than 150 other photographs for this entertaining look at the "front door to the Sunshine City."
Table of Contents
1 Early St. Petersburg: 1854-1913 9
2 Boom Time: 1913-1926 31
3 Depression and World War II: 1926-1941 45
4 War and Prosperity: 1941-1967 69
5 Times of Change: 1967-2013 93
About the Organization 127