The History of St. Petersburg, FL
The beautiful sunny and bustling city of St. Petersburg was not always busy and populated. In fact, long before its first explorers reached the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg was home to major Native American civilizations. Today St. Petersburg, FL stands as one of the most populated cities in Florida, with 261,000 residents.
It is known for its beautiful beaches and constant flow of tourists from all over the world. It is also known for being a popular art district with many well-known art museums and galleries. St. Petersburg consists of a small downtown with skyscrapers surrounded by the shores of the Gulf.
Want to know where this lovely city originated and how it became one of the most visited cities in Florida? Continue reading to learn all about the history of St. Petersburg, Florida:
Early Settling in St. Petersburg, FL
Before the Spanish Settlers came to Tampa Bay, the area was occupied by Native American Tribes. This clan originated 2,000 years ago, and its civilization eventually spread over from Florida to areas in Alabama and Georgia.
A section of today’s St. Petersburg was called “Weedon Island” and was inhabited by the Tocobaga tribe. They were the tribe that lived in the area until Spanish Explorer, Panfilo de Narvaez made his way to the peninsula in 1528.
Some ancient stories tell the tale of the Tocobaga princess who saved the life of Juan Ortiz. Ortiz was a sailor who had been captured while on a supply expedition. Some say this story of the princess and Ortiz was the inspiration for the famous Disney story of John Smith and Pocahontas.
The City’s Firsts
Years later after the original tribes became no more, a man named Peter Demens brought the Orange Belt Railway to the area in 1888. Demens was an aristocrat from Russia and the one who gave the city its name. Demens named the land St. Petersburg, Russia, after the place of his birth. The area was officially incorporated as a city in June 1903.
In 1914 Florida’s love affair with baseball officially began. The city’s mayor brought the St. Louis Browns to the sunny city for their spring training. That same year the birth of commercial aviation was born, and the city’s first library opened, which still remains today!
Invasion of Tourists in St. Petersburg
What makes St. Petersburg a large and successful city today is the tourists. In the early 1920s the city experienced its first big boom of tourists who arrived by mainly railroad and yachts. In 1924 the Gandy Bridge was opened, bringing in more people to the city because it cut travel time in half.
This increase of tourism and residents brought notable architecture to the city. When the invention of air conditioning was born it brought many more residents into the city because it was a relatively hot area.
The New Millennium
Today, the city is the top destination for the arts. Not to mention the thousands of tourists who come all year round to enjoy the many lavish hotels and condominiums located on their fluffy white sand beaches.
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