Pink Palace Turns 90

Ninety years ago on January 10, 1928 Thomas Rowe, a developer from England, opened the doors of his new hotel, the Don Cesar, named after Don CeSar de Bazan, the hero of the opera Maritana. It has hosted many celebrities, the Yankees during Spring training, served as a WWII convalescent center and later VA regional office before being declared obsolete in 1969. Rescued by Bill Bowman, he found the building sound, spent $3.5 million in renovations and reopened it as a hotel in 1973. In 1975 it was placed on the National Historic Register. Locals fondly refer to it as the Pink Palace. Here's the Don under construction in 1927. Read more about the Pink Palace in the Don Ce Sar section below.

Join the 90th anniversary celebration "An Iconic Celebration of History and the Community 90 Years in the Making," a black-tie gala on January 19. Tickets at don90thgala.eventbrite.com.

Santa and Silas – A Winning Combination

Children everywhere get caught up in the excitement and fun of the Christmas season celebrations. Starting with school vacation to helping with decorations, baking special cookies and of course, Santa. In the 1930’s and 40’s in Pass-a-Grille, this time of the year had a very special meaning for the community youngsters. Silas Dent, the “Cabbage Key Hermit,” known for his white beard along with his isolated lifestyle, would dress in a Santa suit, pack a huge sack with candy and presents, and row his boat over Boca Ciega Bay. [Click the picture to read more]

Halloween on 8th Avenue ………A Picture Perfect Time!

In the late 1940’s, the Pass-a-Grille (PAG) Association had a very active member by the name of Maude Fleming. Maude and her family lived on the north-west corner of 22nd Avenue and Pass-a-Grille Way. She and husband had two children, Zana who now lives in the Inverness area and Frederick,Jr. who is retired in St. Petersburg. Maude was a very active person belonging to the Pass-a-Grille Woman’s Club along with other civic groups. But the island youth were her passion.[Click the picture to read more]

Honor Walk at Upham Beach

In 1999, St. Pete Beach Mayor Ron McKenney developed a plan that would beautify the two block beach area at Upham Beach and honor the City’s citizen and community contributions over the past 100 years, to celebrate the Millennium. The Honor Walk at Upham Beach was dedicated in April, 2000 and is a tribute to this plan. [Click the picture to read more]

Bells – An Inheritance We are Proud to Ring Time and Again

A bell is a bell is a bell or so it would seem. But no, bells have a deep history going back as far as 2000 B.C. In ancient China as metallurgy began to take on a life of its own as the first bells worked their way into culture, religion and the lifestyles of the rich and powerful. Before Christianity, bells were popular in India and across to Japan as a method to carry the will of the Gods, provide peace, clear minds and help chase away evil spirits. [Click the picture to read more]

The life of a Pink Palace – The Don Ce Sar

If you are a beach walker, a boater, a lover of hotels, or just enamored of fascinating buildings, you can’t miss the eight story pink hotel on St. Pete Beach! Built by Thomas Rowe, it opened its doors in regal splendor on January 10, 1928. Rowe started construction in 1926, but after many revisions to the original plan, by mid-1927 he was running short of funds. Pass-a-Grille industrialist Warren Webster loaned him the dollars to furnish the hotel and on January 10, the first guests checked in. [Click the image to read more]

Tis the Season – It’s Here – Play Ball – Baseball that is!

Summertime is always in the wide world of baseball. Getting teams settled, bats arriving by the thousands of cases, literally millions of balls, plus all the other equipment needed to keep “the boys of summer” going strong is just the beginning.

Major League baseball has played an important part in Pinellas County since the early 1900’s.....[Click the picture to read more]

Thank You Warren Webster!

Traveling over the country one sees public building, parks, and other structure bearing someone's personal name. And, even if fleetingly, you wonder who was this person and what did he or she accomplish for his community or country? Most of the time even in our own area, we don't really know about the origin of the names.

Well, the Community Center at 1500 Pass-a-Grille Way that bears the name of Warren Webster is certainly no exception. Sometimes even local history buffs don't know the "real story!" [Click picture to read more]

From a Dream in 1959 – through Up & Downs A Final Result - Two Fine Communities

Take three small islands, add some swamp land and top it off with submerged bottom land, totaling over 2000 acres, and Voila! You have the Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde communities!

In 1959, Louis Berlanti and his son, Fred, did just that. Pine Key and Cabbage Key, blended in with several small "mangrove" islands, along with 3 ft. deep submerged sand in Boca Ciega Bay, were purchased by the Berlantis for $5.12 million dollars. They had plans to build the "finest resort on the west coast of Florida", so quoted the St. Petersburg Times in 1959. [Click picture to read more]

Pier at end of 8th Street!

The east side of Pass-a-Grille at 8th Street, since the late 1890's, has had a dock and fishing pier. It was the original “Merry Pier” owned by early pioneer Joseph Merry, who built the first grocery store on the pier in 1902. The senior Merry’s son, Kenneth (Capt. Merry) operated the “the 8th Street Pier” for many years until the 1940's, when it was leased to Wilson Hubbard and quickly became a headquarters for charter and party fishing boats, bait, tackle and any kind of fishing yarn one could conjure up on a lazy afternoon!