The History of St Petersburg, Florida

The History of St Petersburg Florida

If you are planning a trip to the Tampa Bay area anytime soon, I would strongly encourage you to visit St Petersburg. This city is located in Pinellas County, Florida. St Petersburg is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Florida and is beloved by its almost 300,000 residents. In fact, they have fondly dubbed it as ‘St Pete.’ But do not be fooled by the name, this city is the second largest in the Tampa Bay area and the fifth most populated in the state of Florida.  More details on St Petersburg.  St Pete was founded in 1888 by the coordinated efforts of John C Williams and Peter Demens. Things have changed significantly since then and governance of the city is now orchestrated by a democratically elected mayor and city council.

Williams may have purchased the land, but St Pete would not be what it is today if Demens had not introduced the railroad industry to the city. Rumor has it that the two decided on a name for the city by means of a simple coin toss. As you can imagine, it was Peter who won and thus had the privilege of naming the city. Many would assume he named the city after himself. But the inspiration for the city’s name lies in St Petersburg, Russia, where he spent a significant portion of his childhood. But don’t feel too bad for Williams, he had the pleasure of naming one of Demens’ hotels after his childhood town, Detroit. This hotel has since been refurbished and is now a condominium.

This blossoming city had humble beginnings and was officially incorporated as a town on 29th February 1882. At that time, there were only 300 residents in St Pete. This city was the birthplace of the first major newspaper in the entire Tampa Bay area in 1884. The St Petersburg Times helped to put this little town, now city, on the map. Like any other town during that era, St Petersburg had many other firsts. The residents first started making use of electricity in 1897. Thereafter, the trolley was then introduced in 1904, only a year after St Pete was incorporated as a city.

The first major industry to hit this city was a wholesale fish store which was founded in 1862 by Henry W. Hibbs. This little business was soon selling upwards of 1000 pounds of fish daily. Needless to say, the business continued to flourish. Thereafter, in 1920, tourism became a major source of income for many St Petersburg residents. The construction of Gandy’s bridge made it even easier for tourists to visit St Peterburg and tourism thus became a major source of income for many residents. This bridge and the construction of the Million Dollar Pier has attracted even more visitors to the beautiful city.

In the 1940s the city’s population saw a drastic increase. This is credited to the influx of approximately 100,000 army officials in that area. The city was used by the US Coast Guards and the Air Force as a training ground during World War II. Many of these troops later settled in St Pete permanently. In the 1950s when Highway 19 was built and transportation in the city was improved, the city saw another drastic population increase.