Downtown Tour: Blue Route

Don’t miss an opportunity to see the beautiful St. Petersburg Public Library, also known as the Mirror Lake Community Library or Carnegie Library. Built in 1915 in Beaux-Arts style it was on of 10 Florida Carnegie libraries to receive grants awarded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1901 to 1917. The library is significant to the city’s history as the first permanent home of the public library system and embodies the transformation of the city in the second decade of the twentieth century from a pioneer village to a city with viable cultural institutions.

Public library - Saint Petersburg, Florida. 19--. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
Public library – Saint Petersburg, Florida. 19–. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Take the tour

Click a site number and scroll down for more information.

Downtown Tour: Blue Route

The Princess Martha

Princess Martha

411 1st Avenue N.

Originally built in 1924, as the Mason Hotel, it went bankrupt a short time later in the bust following the 1920’s boom and reopened as the Princess Martha. The building was one of 10 significant “Boom Hotels” built in the city during the 1920s. It is one of St. Petersburg’s best examples of the Neo-Classical Revival style of architecture.

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church

120 4th Street N.

This Neo-Classical style facade once served as the primary facade to the First Baptist Church. The church was first organized in 1891 with Reverend F. King as its pastor, but it wasn’t until 1922 that the congregation found a permanent home with the building’s construction. Designed by George Feltham, this is one of the only buildings in St. Petersburg utilizing the Greek Temple form. The rear portion of the building was demolished in 2009.

Cathedral Church of St. Peter

Cathedral Church of St Peter

140 4th Street N.

St. Peter’s parish was organized in 1889. Ten years later, Edwin H. Tomlinson, a local philanthropist, donated the land on this site and $5,000 for the construction of a brick church. In 1925, the Gothic Revival style building was extended to the west and an intersecting, double width, partial transept to the south was added. It is one of the city’s oldest remaining buildings and the second oldest Episcopal institution in St. Petersburg.

Randolph Hotel

200 4th Street N.

The original portion of this building is a wood frame structure constructed around 1901. A modern, Art Deco inspired masonry addition was constructed on the south and east elevations in 1939. The contractor for the redesign was Andrew E. Corfar. Significant features include the corner windows, vertical pilasters flanking the entrance, horizontal banding, and the cantilevered ledge above the third story windows.

Orange Blossom Cafeteria

Orange Blossom Cafeteria

220 4th Street N.

This Mission-inspired commercial building was constructed in 1925. The owner, M. S. Kaydough hired contractor Charles DuBois for its construction. In 1933, it was converted to the Orange Blossom Cafeteria. Notable elements of this building include the yellow brick construction with contrasting brick trim, shaped parapets, decorative patterned tile, and a bracketed visor roof with barrel tile.

First Congregational Church

256 4th Street N. 

This former church was constructed in 1912 as the United Church of Christ. Designed by Edgar Ferdon, the building’s asymmetrical façade, tower, and pointed arches make it a fine example of the Gothic Revival style. The three story, adjacent building, known as Pilgrim’s Hall was constructed in 1924 by Henry H. Dupont. The buildings are privately owned. Pilgrim’s Hall now serves as a private residence.

Pennsylvania Hotel

Pennsylvania Hotel

300 4th Street N.

The Pennsylvania Hotel was built in 1926 during the Florida Land Boom. It is an excellent example of the change in character that took place in the lodging industry during this period. Prior to this era, hotels and rooming houses were typically small and located on the second or third floors above commercial buildings. The Pennsylvania Hotel was among the first multi-story, freestanding hotels in the city.

St. Petersburg Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library

280 5th Street N.

Funded with a $17,500 Andrew Carnegie Foundation grant, this building was constructed in 1915 as the city’s first permanent public library. The building was designed by Henry Whitfield in the Beaux Arts style, a style very rare in St. Petersburg. The grant was one of the thirteen given to Florida communities, among more than 2500 given worldwide by the Carnegie Foundation between 1881 and 1917 for building libraries.

Florida Land Boom Apartments

Prior to 1920, most apartment buildings were actually private homes that had been divided into several units. These buildings were typically wood framed. As the need for multi-family housing grew, buildings constructed as apartments became more prevalent. Later apartment buildings were often constructed with concrete block.

  • Lucerne Apartments – 420 3rd Avenue N., ca. 1916
  • Baywalk Apartments – 430 3rd Avenue N., ca. 1920
  • Hunt Apartments – 442-446 3rd Avenue N., ca. 1921
  • Devoe Apartments – 233 5th Street N., ca. 1920
  • Poulsen Apartments - 215-217 5th Street N., ca. 1921

St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club

St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club

559 Mirror Lake Drive

The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was founded in 1924. It was the first club dedicated strictly to shuffleboard in the world. During its first season, the club boasted 426 members. Expansion occurred quickly with more courts being added and the first clubhouse being constructed the following year. By 1939, the club had 116 courts and more than 4,000 members and was a recreational center for the community.

St. Petersburg Lawn Bowling Club

St. Petersburg Lawn Bowling Club

536 4th Avenue N.

The St. Petersburg Lawn Bowling Club building was constructed in 1916. It is the oldest organized lawn bowling club in Florida and the 10th oldest in the United States.

The Coliseum

The Coliseum

535 4th Avenue N.

Constructed in 1924, the Coliseum is the result of a partnership between entrepreneur C.F. Cullen, architect T.H. Eslick and builder H.J. Winchell. The design of this Mediterranean Revival style building was based on an entertainment establishment near Los Angeles known as “Somewhere in France.” During its construction, 28 carloads of lumber, not including 18,000 square feet of maple flooring, was used. During the 1930s, a hurricane caused great structural damage and the facade underwent significant alterations, including the removal of two Moorish-inspired towers.

St. Petersburg High School (at Mirror Lake)

701 Mirror Lake Drive

This ca. 1919 Mission Revival style structure served as a public school for 46 years. In 1991, the building was renovated and turned into condominium residences. The building was designed by William Ittner, one of the most influential persons in the country in school architecture, and who designed many school buildings across the nation. The building’s exterior includes terracotta tile, stone and a pebbledash finish typical of Ittner’s designs.


First Christian Church (Mirror Lake Lyceum)

First Christian Church

737 3rd Avenue N.

The First Christian Church of St. Petersburg formed in 1900. The rapid growth of the congregation led to the construction of this building in 1926. Although the congregation lost the building during the Great Depression, a group of members purchased the building at a public sale and reorganized as the Mirror Lake Christian Church. The church closed in 1992. Eight years later, the Mediterranean Revival style building was rehabilitated and reopened as a meeting and special events venue.

Tomlinson Adult Learning Center

296 Mirror lake Drive

This building was designed by Frank Jonsberg and Henry Taylor around 1924. It first served as a co-ed junior high. In 1926, the school became an all-boys facility. In 1931, this Mediterranean Revival style building was converted into a vocational school. Four years later, it was renamed the Tomlinson Technical Institute in honor of local philanthropist Edwin Tomlinson, the first of several name changes.

Reservoir Lake

Reservoir Lake (Mirror Lake)

In 1876, H. A. Weir acquired 40 acres of land near this small body of water. The lake was then known as Weir Lake. In the 1880s, the lake began providing drinking water to the residents of St. Petersburg and the lake became known as Reservoir Lake. By 1899, a waterworks pumped water from the lake to residents. In 1909, the City acquired the land around the lake for a public park. Eventually the name was changed to Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake Drive Residence

Mirror Lake Residence

248 Mirror Lake Drive  

This one-story residence is a typical Mediterranean Revival style home constructed ca. 1930. Over the years the building has been slightly modified. An open carport was added in 1940 that is now enclosed and a porch was remodeled into a bathroom. The building, however, retains many of its character defining features including its gable roof and pattern of fenestration (window styles).

Mirror Lake Drive Residence

Mirror Lake Residence

250 Mirror Lake Drive

This two-story residence was designed by architect H. Kochler in 1936 for Ena S. Jackson. The building is easily distinguished as the work of local contractor Cade Allen. Allen’s signature style employed the use of hollow-tile covered with stone veneer. In addition to the original coquina rock from Florida, Allen also shipped in marble and pink and gray granite from Georgia, field stone and silica rock from North Carolina and sandstone from Alabama and Tennessee.

Unitarian Universalist Church

Unitarian Universalist Church

715 Arlington Avenue N.

This church was constructed in 1929 by contractor M.D. Berry. It is another fine example of the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture. Note the elaborately detailed entrance, the prominent bell tower, and the buttresses. The educational wing was designed by Harvard Jolly Architects in 1966.

St. Petersburg Judicial Building

St Petersburg Judicial Building

150 5th Street N.

The 1968 St. Petersburg Judicial Building, a midcentury modern styled building, was constructed using textured concrete. The award-winning building, designed by Glenn Quincy Johnson, was called “The finest example of architecture built in this city during this decade,” by St. Petersburg Times journalist Charles Benbow. Perhaps the building’s most unique feature is the elevated plaza and arcade.

St. Petersburg City Hall

St. Petersburg City Hall

175 5th Street N.

The 1939 City Hall is one of the city’s first adaptive reuse projects, having been built as the municipal utilities building under President Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration. The building was designed by architect A. Lowther Forrest and constructed by local contractor R.E. Clarson. Inside the building, a George Snow Hill mural painted in the mid-1940s hangs over the staircase. A second mural, called out by some in the 1960’s civil rights era as being racist in its depictions, once also hung over the staircase but was ripped off the wall in 1966 by a young activist known today as Omali Yeshitela (born Joseph Waller).

Domestic Science and Manual Training School

Domestic Science & Manuel Training School

440 2nd Avenue N.

Around 1901, Edward Tomlinson decided to donate $10,000 to fund the construction of a school to provide vocational training to children. The school was one of the first brick buildings constructed in St. Petersburg and one of the first vocational training schools for children in Florida. Children could take classes in carpentry, gymnastics, music and military science.

Suwannee Hotel

Suwanee Hotel

Suwannee Hotel (County Building)
501 1st Avenue N.

The Suwannee Hotel was built in 1924 by local politician John Brown who served as the Clerk of Circuit Court. Brown utilized the site of his home for the 118-room brick hotel. During World War II, it was the city’s only hotel reserved for civilian use. In 1993, the building was rehabilitated and is now used to house offices for Pinellas County.

Christ United Methodist Church

Christ United Methodist Church

467 1st Avenue N.

Built in 1949 as the First Avenue Methodist Church, this church was the third religious facility constructed on the site for the congregation which organized in 1891. Archie Parrish was the architect for the church, chapel, and office building. The facility combines elements of the Italian Renaissance Revival, Art Moderne and Art Deco styles.