History Half Hour – a Master Class all about the Sunshine City

History Half Hour – a Master Class all about the Sunshine City

Learn About St. Pete's History

Welcome to the History Half Hour, presented by the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership. With this series, our goal is learn a bit more about the rich history of St. Pete. We aim to inform, educate and entertain with valuable information that connects our past to the present, both good and bad, and perhaps serve as a guide for the Burg’s future. In the same process, we hope this serves as a vehicle to shed light and promote social justice at the same time through learning from history. 

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Historic Kenwood

Few St. Pete neighborhoods have garnered as much national attention as Historic Kenwood, the largest collection of Craftsman Bungalows in the southeast. But Kenwood’s story is deeper than the cover of the many architectural magazines it has graced. Designed in the early years of the Florida land boom, Kenwood catered to St. Pete’s middle class, and adjacent local businesses thrived under their patronage. But the interstate, strip malls, and suburbanization took their toll on the neighborhood in the 1970s and crime and blight turned people away. Learn more in the full video below!

Roser Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

The earliest of St. Pete’s “streetcar suburbs” Roser Park remains perhaps the most visually striking neighborhood in the city. Straddling the storied Booker Creek, the hills (yes, hills!) of Roser Park along with its eclectic mix of architectural styles can mislead a visitor to conclude they’ve left Florida altogether!

Bayboro Harbor: Bootlegging, Bulls, and the Bloody Bandaid

Down past where most walkers stroll, St. Pete’s waterfront continues through an airport, a fish and wildlife research center, a Coast Guard station founded to foil bootleggers, and one of the most beautiful university campuses in Florida. Nestled among these institutional gems are a wealth of historic and cultural landmarks, including the homes of city founder John Williams and developer Perry Snell, the city’s first power plant, and its first high rise apartment building, and perhaps the grossest, but still delightful, piece of public art in the city.

Round Lake Historic District

Join us as we visit one of the city’s oldest and most charming neighborhoods: Historic Round Lake in the Uptown area.

Princesses & Pink Streets Virtual Tour of Pinellas Point

Join local historian Monica Kile as she guides you through the romantic and historic Pink Streets of Pinellas Point. Learn about the Native American princess whose daring story of rescue may have influenced the later tale of Pochahontas, and see the magnificent Indian Mound that still remains from her time.

St. Pete Via Central Ave

Did you know you can learn almost everything you need to know about St. Pete through a quick stroll down the popular sprawl?

The Hidden Courts of Mirror Lake

Join historian Monica Kile and her husband Jon as they explore two charming historic neighborhoods tucked in the shadow of the historic Mirror Lake Christian Church. Hidden on the northwest side of Mirror Lake, Moffett Court and Lang’s Bungalow Court offer a snapshot into a golden era of St. Pete’s development, yet few residents know they exist. Platted by, and named for, two of the city’s earliest Mayors, they tell stories of days gone by in the Sunshine City.

St. Pete's Wonderful Waterfront

Join local historian Monica Kile on a stroll from Demen’s Landing to the Vinoy as she discusses the transformation of the bayfront and ponders what the next 100 years look like as buildings grow taller and more people discover this jewel of Tampa Bay. Enjoy a blend of historic photos and live on-site narration during the tour.

2nd Ave S: A Snapshot of St. Pete

Did you know you can get a taco in the city’s first fire station? Or a steak in one of its first funeral homes? Or that two of our most stunning downtown buildings sit empty and unused, remnants of past real estate booms that await revitalization and reuse? A secluded stretch of Second Avenue South, unnoticed as drivers whiz by on the adjacent one-way First Avenue South, holds a concentration of historical treasures unmatched elsewhere in the city.

Join historian Monica Kile as she strolls Second Avenue South and provides a glimpse into St. Petersburg’s past. Learn about the original YMCA building with its swimming pool and indoor track, the funeral home that’s now a fine-dining restaurant, the Masonic Temple that is slated for demolition, and the cafeteria that evokes Mediterranean skies. Enjoy historic photos, maps, and documents as Monica and the I Love the ‘Burg team take you on a virtual tour of this under-appreciated part of downtown.

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Driftwood: A Neighborhood Like No Other

The moment one enters the hidden neighborhood of Driftwood they notice an atmospheric change. Perhaps it’s the dense tree canopy whose shade keeps the neighborhood remarkably cool, even in the doldrums of summer. Or perhaps it’s the charming homes nestled along the shores of Big Bayou, designed by architect Archie Parrish and artist Mark Dixon Dodd. Maybe it’s the depth of history to be found in this tiny enclave, from early Native American inhabitation, through a Civil War skirmish, to the founding of the earliest white settlement in the city that would come to be known as St. Petersburg. Whatever it is, there is something special about the neighborhood of Driftwood. Learn about its mystique with historic preservationist Peter Belmont in this 30-minute stroll through this remarkable community.

The EDGE District of St. Petersburg, Florida

This tour was hosted by Emily Elwyn from Preserve the ‘Burg and livestreamed via Zoom + Facebook on June 10,2021. This tour is presented in partnership with the City of St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Old Northeast

Join us as Historian Monica Kile shares the history of the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood as she strolls the streets on foot, while her husband Jon shares historic photos of the area from the comfort of their home…conveniently located in the Old Northeast!

How to Read Our City Through Architecture

Learning about a City’s architecture can help you learn to “read” the city. Architectural Historian, Emily Elwyn will highlight St Pete’s unique architecture along 4th Ave., North and use it as a tool to “read” Saint Petersburg.

She will discuss grand Queen Anne-style residences as well as the winter tourist apartments and the striking Flori de Leon apartments among other stops. Traveling along 4th Avenue virtually you can read the story of St Pete.

Methodist Town & St. Pete's Early Jewish History

On the margins of bustling downtown St. Pete lies a hidden, but once-thriving neighborhood; an area where land, long ago emptied by vacant promises, has gained renewed interest in our most recent real estate boom. Between MLK Blvd and 16th Street, in the shadows of the interstate ramp, lies Methodist Town, a historically African-American neighborhood that gave rise to some of the city’s most prominent citizens and provided its earliest residents with an enduring sense of pride and community. Just as frequently overlooked in St. Pete’s history is the thriving Jewish community whose businesses blossomed on nearby 9th Street and whose homes were nestled near Mirror Lake.

Join historian Monica Kile as she shows us pieces of the past that survived “urban renewal” and which reveal some of the often forgotten cultural history of our city.

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