Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween, sixties style

Happy Halloween! Here's a pic of my parents at a Halloween costume party at my granddad's Lakewood Estates house, in 1964. Mom is "I Dream of Jeannie" and my dad is a Revolutionary War guy.

Have a safe holiday - tomorrow is November!

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Pink hibiscus

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Come and get it

Outside the Dairy Inn.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

St Pete's Finest

This venerable St Pete ice cream and sandwich shop has been in the same location since the 1940s. Numerous changes have been made to the menu, but the milkshakes, hot dogs and tater tots remain the staples. We hear they also offer a mean Cuban sandwich.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colorful canoes

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't be crabby

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Abandoned church storefront

22nd Street Business District.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Summer of '69: St Pete in Maps & Papers

Google again provided me with help in glimpsing the past of St Pete through old copies of the Evening Independent. I focused this time around on 1969. What was St Pete like forty years ago? Here are a few "then and nows."

In 1969, there was a Black Angus Steakhouse, a chain of bargain family restaurants at 1101 Pasadena Avenue South in South Pasadena. They offered a "char-broiled sirloin steak dinner" for $1.89. Such a deal.

NOW: It's a Rally gas station.

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Acme Air Conditioning Co. Inc. held shop at 2626 Central Avenue in 1969. Hey! It's still there!

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The kitschy London Wax Museum was a tourist trap on Gulf Blvd in St Pete Beach. It was torn down in the early 1980s (presumably as the place was losing money). Now it's a giant apartment building.

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Get inked here

Tattoo shop located in Jannus Landing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Window to an abandoned Central Avenue building, alley-side.

Friends of the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges

Triple Fundraiser: Car Wash, Garage Sale and Dining event at Steak n Shake!
October 24th, 2009
9am – 4pm

Join us at the Steak and Shake, 4480 Park Street, St Petersburg (corner of Tyrone Blvd and Park Street)! We will have a Car Wash set up in the parking lot next to Steak n Shake to clean your car for a donation to Friends.

Plan to have Breakfast or Lunch at Steak n Shake and the restaurant will donate 15% of your purchase to the Friends! Pick up a coupon from us at the car wash to hand in with your receipt when you dine for the group to get credit. Purchase of gift cards count too – so think Christmas!

We will have our wonderful Pin cards and holiday Ornaments available for sale on site as well as a Garage Sale.

Be sure to fit us in to your schedule on the 24th and help us earn much needed funds for the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges!

Bring your used ink cartridges, toners, and cell phones to the event – Friends will be collecting them for recycling and remanufacturing! When you search the web please go to, type in Friends of the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges when it asks who do you search for, and we’ll get funds from your searches. If you shop amazon or ebay, and you enter from Goodsearch, we also get funds!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We all live in a ....

This Yellow Submarine mural has been on the back wall of this Central Avenue store for at least 20 years. Looks like it needs a little touch-up to keep with its bright & colorful intentions.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Bishop of St Pete

First Avenue N, in Jannus Landing. Beer Pong is played here!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Have a seat!

Central Avenue.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Seen on Central Avenue.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fun (and learning) in the sun

In 1926, the Sunshine Elementary School opened in Pass-A-Grille (St. Petersburg) Beach, with teachers holding classes outdoors under palm-thatched shelters. They used portable blackboards, tables and benches. They ate at the "Sunshine Filling Station", the school cafeteria. They spent at least 45 minutes a day on the beach, and classes included swimming and small boat handling. The school closed in 1975, and was razed in 1983.

My dad, at age 8, is the one who is circled and with his eyes unfortunately shut for all posterity. Taken in March 1941. Dad still has fond memories of taking lessons in the sand on the beach under the blazing Florida sun, something Northern schoolkids could only dream about. Times were simpler then. The local Fish Broil originated in 1930 at Sunshine School as a means of raising funds to pay teachers’ salaries during the Great Depression. Pits were dug on the beach, buttonwood coals were burned and the pits were covered with bedsprings to grill the fish. Local fishermen donated the fish and ladies made side dishes. Fish dinners were sold and money was raised.

Believe it or not, there is now a Facebook group page for any Sunshine School alumni to join.


Six-fifteen Central Avenue (closed).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Creepy Crawlies

An old building on the grounds of Royal Palm Cemetery, Central Avenue & 58th Street S.

Then and Now

Then: Park Place Apartments

Now: Park Place Apartments. Not much difference. The neighborhood's a little bit questionable now, though.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Come on in

Vintage neon on Central Avenue.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sorry, but I have to split

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Old Saint Pete in Papers and Maps

I enjoy going through old St Petersburg Times and Evening Independent editions on Google Archives. You can get a real sense of what this city was like anywhere from the 1920s through the 1980s. I moved here in 1977 so obviously I recall everything after that; it's the 1940s editions of the papers that I enjoy perusing, not so much for the articles but to get an idea of the companies and businesses that were once an integral part of this city's commerce and life.

Out of curiosity, I've researched some old places and addresses from a 1940 edition of the Evening Independent (which, alas too, is defunct) to compare what was there then and now. Rather having to drive all over town, Google Maps has been a big help in this project.

In 1940, there was Aunt Martha's Candy Shop at 242 First Avenue N. According to their adverts, they offered "really good, fresh candy, made on the premises" and "pecan rolls, pralines, and glazed fruit in baskets." Now it's Tangelo's, a Carribean/Cuban sandwich shop that's been there at least since the early 1980s, in the Jannus Landing complex.

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In 1940, Repp's IGA Supermarket made its home in a generally residential neighborhood at 153 Seventh Avenue N. Sometime during the 1950s or '60s, I believe the street numbers changed for parts of the Old Northeast, at least for east-west streets. 153 Seventh doesn't come up in Google Maps, and where it would be is all old 1920s and 1930s homes and boarding houses. There is a small complex of shops at approximately 201 Seventh, where a restaurant called the Old Northeast Tavern is currently located. This seems like the most logical choice (and the only non-residential building on the street) that Repp's IGA would have called home in the forties.

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The Hough Motor Corporation was located at 333 Ninth Street N in 1940. They were a Dodge/Plymouth dealer, and in 1940, you could purchase a 1934 Plymouth Sedan for $75! You can tell by the photo that the office building (which is under a state of renovation) was constructed probably in the late 1920s by the look of the facade. To the left is an open lot, presumably where the automobiles were kept - the lack of a showroom is obvious, unless it's been razed.

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Just a few steps from Hough was the Clark Brothers Grocery at 276 Ninth Street N. Today it's a studio (dance? art?) of some sort and shares its parking lot with the famous Coney Island Grill. 276 Ninth has been nicely preserved of its Art Moderne facade. Note the solo porthole which was a popular feature of the-then budding Moderne style. The building must have been newly built in 1940 or at least in the few years before.

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There once was a supermarket at 117 Ninth Street N, called Hewitt's 9th Street Market, but it's long gone. In its place now is a hideously ugly 1960s monstrosity housing the local Verizon offices.

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