Downtown Tour: Green Route

This tour route features St. Petersburg’s first park, “Williams Park,” and encompasses an entire city block. Founded in 1888 and originally named “City Park,” it was changed to Williams Park in honor of the founder of St. Petersburg, John Constantine Williams, Jr. The park is the center of the downtown district. The bandstand plays a prominent role in the park and one has been there since 1894. The new modern bandstand was designed in 1954 by St. Petersburg architect William B. Harvard, whose work also included the St. Petersburg Pier.

Williams Park : Saint Petersburg, Florida. 1915. Black & white photonegative. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
Williams Park : Saint Petersburg, Florida. 1915. Black & white photonegative. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.


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Downtown Tour: Green Route

Concord Hotel

Concord Hotel

Concord Hotel
(St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center)
100 2nd Avenue N.

This building was constructed in 1925 as a steel and brick hotel for owner J. Kennedy Block. The hotel included a coffee shop and in 1955 an outdoor swimming pool was constructed. During the 1980s, the building was remodeled into commercial office space. It now serves as home to a variety of commercial tenants.

Flori de Leon Apartments

Flori de Leon Apartments

130 4th Avenue N.

The Flori de Leon apartment building is a Mediterranean Revival style high-rise built in 1926. It is believed to be the first building organized as a cooperative on the Florida west coast. The top floor “penthouse” apartments in the Flori, as it is often called, were home to New York Yankee legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during spring training when the Yankees called St. Pete their home.

Crislip House

205 4th Avenue N.

This fine example of a Mission style residence, a style rarely found in the city, was constructed for the Crislip family ca. 1925. The shaped parapet, red tile roof, wide overhanging eaves, exposed brackets and a prominent front porch are also features associated with this style. The Crislips built the Crislip arcade located on the 600 block of Central Avenue.

Bussey House

Bussey Home

211 4th Avenue N.

Mr. Bussey, the City’s first funeral director, had this house constructed ca. 1904. The asymmetrical facade, full width porch, steeply pitched crossed-gable roof, shingled gable end, and delicate spindle work on the porch balustrade are typical features of the late Victorian style. Mr. Bussey is credited with the founding of Greenwood Cemetery located in the historic Roser Park neighborhood.

Mt. Vernon Hotel

Mt Vernon Hotel

219 4th Avenue N.

In 1936, Mary Carr received a building permit to construct this three-story, 20-room hotel. She employed N. & A. Hadley to design the building. The following year, a three story masonry addition was constructed enlarging the hotel with 54 rooms. At this time, it was known as the Hamilton Hotel. By 1939, the name had changed again to the Mt. Vernon Hotel. In 2004, the building was converted to condominiums.

Sarven Apartments

Sarven Apartments

249 4th Avenue N.

Constructed in 1922, this Neoclassical Revival style building has always served as an apartment building. Significant architectural features include the monumental columns flanking the inset front porch on all three floors, the yellow brick, and the original double-hung windows.

Davenport House

Davenport Home

259 4th Avenue N.

The Davenport House is considered one of the best examples of the Queen Anne style in St. Petersburg. It was constructed in 1904. The building was converted into office space during the 1980s.

Veillard House

Veillard Home

262 4th Avenue N.

In 1901, Ralph Veillard hired Henry Dupont to design this home. Dupont also designed the Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach. In 1979, the home was moved several blocks to this site in order to avoid being demolished for the construction of retirement apartments. Veillard was active in civic affairs and sat on city council where he supported creating the downtown waterfront parks and seeking a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to construct the city’s first library.

 

Martha Washington Hotel

Martha Washington Hotel

234 3rd Avenue N.

The Martha Washington Hotel was built in 1924. Originally incorporating 24 rooms, the hotel has been remodeled several times. The wings, designed by architect J.W. Fulwood Jr., were added in 1931 and 1934. A renovation in 1986 added the porte cochere, the front facade and meeting rooms.

Palm Plaza

Palm Plaza

300 3rd Avenue N.

In 1950, Charles J. Schuh, Jr., who would later serve as both a council member and mayor, hired local architect William Harvard and contractor Clarson to design and build this two-story office building. The building was owned by the Schuh Law Firm until 1982 when Maurice Schuh sold the building to an investment group. The Contemporary style building is consistent with Harvard’s design philosophy as it purposefully avoids any applied ornamentation and uses simple materials to provide a functional design.

Endicott/Stewart Building

233 3rd Street N.

J.M. Endicott, a local funeral director, had this house constructed ca. 1913. It is a typical example of an early home found around Williams Park. In 1928, the Stewart family acquired the residence and converted it into the Stewart Hotel. In 1984, attorney George Rahdert converted the building into office space.

Cordova Hotel

Cordova Inn

253 2nd Avenue N.

The Hotel Cordova was built ca. 1924 during the early stages of St. Petersburg’s boom era. It was designed in the Neoclassical Revival style which is rarely found in the City.

Mitchell Apartments

Mitchell Apts

211 3rd Street N.

This modest apartment building was constructed ca. 1922 by former Mayor Noel Mitchell. Originally offering 17 units, the building utilizes full exterior porches and an open front to back plan in order to take advantage of the cool breezes. The city’s “green bench” story starts with Mitchell, who put benches outside his real estate office, albeit painted orange. Soon, more businesses also began putting out benches, in various colors. In 1916, Mayor Al Lang passed an ordinance mandating all benches be green.

First United Methodist Church

First United Methodist Church

212 3rd Street N. 

One of only two academically correct Gothic Revival style buildings in the City, this church was constructed between 1924 and 1926 and designed by master architect James J. Baldwin. Facing Williams Park, the building includes the 144-ft. tall bell tower that originally housed a ten-bell carillon, later increased to 15 bells. The original bronze bells were cast by the Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York. The largest bell weighs 2,208 pounds.

Williams Park Band Shell and Pavilion

Williams Park Band Shell

Although a band shell has been a part of this park since 1895, the current band shell and pavilion was designed in 1954 by prominent local architect William B. Harvard, Sr. In 1955, he was the recipient of the Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for the band shell design which prompted one local journalist to write that Harvard “broke the crust of tradition downtown for all local designers.” During the 1980s, the structure won the coveted Test of Time Award from the AIA.

Dennis/McCarthy Hotel

326 1st Avenue N.  

This Beaux-Arts style building was designed by Harry F. Cunningham and built by Franklin Mason in 1926. The steel frame building consists of 27,000 square feet within eight stories and originally offered 76 guest rooms and baths. The main facade is sheathed in cast stone and red brick with decorative cast stone and terra cotta ornamentation. The base of the hotel features a three-story pedestrian level which is the most decorative portion of the building. This portion of the main facade is clad in cast stone and includes six two-story Corinthian pilasters.

Women’s Town Improvement Association Building

Church of Scientology

336 1st Avenue N.

From 1913 to 1919, this Neo-Classical building was the headquarters for the Women’s Town Improvement Association (WTIA). This group of women were responsible for many civic improvements, including constructing the first wooden sidewalk along Central Avenue to keep the sand from their shoes and for beautifying Williams Park. The YWCA occupied the building from 1919 to 1950 and added the Art Deco inspired facade.

Williams Park

Williams Park

Bordered by 3rd/4th St N. and 1st/2nd Ave N. 

This park was part of the original 1888 city plat. First named City Park, it was later renamed Williams Park in honor of John Williams, one of the City’s founders. The park was historically the center of the community with band music regularly provided. The first park bandstand was erected in 1895 after a fence around the park was built to keep wandering cows and hogs from entering the park to graze.