St. Petersburg (often shortened to St. Pete) is a city in Pinellas County, Florida. The city is known as a vacation destination for North American and European vacationers, as well as a politically important battleground in U.S. Presidential politics and home of the highly-regarded St. Petersburg Times. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 248,232. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 249,090 , making it the fourth largest city in the state of Florida and the largest city in Florida that is not a county seat. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, which is composed of roughly 2.7 million residents in the core, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state behind Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, and the third largest in the southeast. The city is commonly referred to by locals as "St Pete"; neighboring St. Pete Beach, Florida formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents.
The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the mainland to the north, connected with the city of Tampa, Florida to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay, and to Bradenton, Florida in the south by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Interstate 275), which traverses the mouth of the bay. It is also served by Interstates 175 and 375, which branch off of 275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively.
With a purported average of some 360 days of sunshine each year, it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City." For that reason, the city is a popular tourist, and retirement destination, especially for those in the United States from colder Northern climates particularly New York, Detroit, and Chicago.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and Climate
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Attractions and points of interest
- 5 Neighborhoods
- 6 Sports
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Gallery
- 9 Sister cities
- 10 Notable residents
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The city was co-founded by John C. Williams, formerly of Detroit, Michigan, who purchased the land in 1876, and by Peter Demens, who was instrumental in bringing the terminus of a railroad there in 1888. St. Petersburg was incorporated on February 29, 1892, when it had a population of only some 300 people.
It was named after Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Peter Demens had spent half of his youth. A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city. Peter Demens won and named the city after his birthplace, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit. The Detroit Hotel still exists downtown, but has been turned into a condominum. The oldest running hotels are the historic Pier Hotel, built in 1921 The Pier Hotel and The Heritage Hotel, built in 1926.
The city's first major industry was born in 1899 when Henry W. Hibbs, 1862-1942, a native of Newport, North Carolina, established his wholesale fish business at the end of the railroad pier, which extended out to the shipping channel. Within a year, Hibbs Fish Company was shipping more than 1,000 pounds (454 kg) of fish each day.
Dredging of a deeper shipping channel from 1906 to 1908 opened St. Petersburg to larger shipping. Further dredging improved the port facilities through the 1910s. By then the city's population had quadrupled to 4,127.
In 1914, airplane service across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back was initiated, generally considered the first commercial airline. The company name was the "St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line" and the pilot was Tony Jannus, flying a Benoist XIV flying boat. The Tony Jannus Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the airline industry. There is also a very popular local music/entertainment venue named after Tony Jannus called Jannus Landing on Central Avenue in Downtown. Air service was discontinued in 1924 with the opening of Gandy Bridge, the first across Tampa Bay, which allowed automobile traffic between the two cities.
The city population continued to multiply during the twentieth century through the 1970s as the town became a popular retirement destination for Americans from midwestern cities, reaching 238,647 in the 1980 census. By the 1980s, however, the population had levelled off, and has grown by only 10,000 since then, primarily as a result of being "built-out".
Geography and Climate
St. Petersburg is located at 27°46′56″N, 82°40′3″W (27.782254, -82.667619)GR1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 133.1 square miles (344.7 km²)— 59.6 square miles (154.4 km²) of it is land and 73.4 square miles (190.2 km²) of it (55.19%) is water.
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As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 248,232 people, 109,663 households, and 61,630 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,163.1 persons per square mile (1,607.3/km²). There were 124,618 housing units at an average density of 2,090.0 per square mile (806.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.36% White, 22.36% African American, 0.31% Native American, 2.67% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.07% from other races, and 2.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.23% of the population.
There were 109,665 households out of which 23.85% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.295% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no adult living partner present, and 43.8% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.865.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.24 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,597, and the median income for a family was $43,198. Males had a median income of $30,794 versus $27,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,107. About 9.2% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 88.53% of all residents, while Spanish comprised of 4.43%. The third most spoken language as a mother tongue was German at 0.78%, and the fourth was French at 0.72%. In total, 11.46% spoke languages other than English at home.
Attractions and points of interest
St. Petersburg has a branch of the state university, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, as well as St. Petersburg College and Eckerd College. The Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, future journalists and teachers of journalism, is also located in St. Petersburg. The non-profit school is the owner of the St. Petersburg Times, a unique arrangement engineered by the founder of both, Nelson Poynter.
The city has a children's museum (Great Explorations), Museum of Fine Arts, a History Museum (which has a full-size replica of the Benois seaplane and is located near the approximate spot by the St. Petersburg Pier where the first flight took place), a Holocaust Museum, and the Salvador Dalí Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dalí's work outside of Europe, including a number of famous and large-scale paintings such as The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. There are also various other smaller art galleries and entertainment venues (such as the Arts Center, Florida Craftsmen, and Mahaffey Theater), especially in the Downtown area, which has seen a boom in development since the mid 1990s.
The St. Petersburg Pier is a popular tourist attraction. It contains a small aquarium open to the public, retail shopping, adventure activities, and dining, most notably the historic Columbia Restaurant. Various sightseeing boat rides are also offered. Frequently docked at The Pier is the replica of the HMS Bounty used in the 1962 MGM movie starring Marlon Brando. The Bounty charges a fee for tours, and has recently returned from filming the sequels to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean.  This replica was also used in the filming of the 2005 adult movie Pirates.
Downtown is the location of the Baywalk shopping complex which also has the NEW Imax!!, home to a Muvico 20 screen movie theater, as well as many chain restaurants and retail shops, catering to more of a middle and upper class audience. North of downtown is Great Explorations, The Children's Museum, a fun, interactive museum with many new exhibits, including a children's village with giant pretend stores, Fire House and Pet Vet Clinic, and preschool, science, music, art, and water exhibits. The museum is located next to the Sunken Gardens (Florida) site, home to the gardens themselves, and a stretch of fine dining (on newly developing 4th Street) that includes many nationally recognized restaurants as well as numerous local specialties. Every Saturday morning, from October to May, the downtown area holds a farmers market, of sorts. Local produce farmers can be found selling their fruits up and down the downtown region, as well as live bands, barbecue vendors, and artists of all kinds. The locally renowned "Ringside Cafe" features live Blues music every night from various musicians, and is always a hotspot among the locals. Most of the nightlife downtown can be found on/near Central Avenue. Perhaps the most notable fixture of this nightlife strip is Jannus Landing, a huge open-air concert venue that also has its own nightclub.
Boyd Hill Nature Park located on Lake Maggiore is a 245 acre preserve where you can see many of the endangered plants and rare wildlife of tampa bay. There is a bird exhibit which houses bald eagles, owls, hawks, and other species.
St. Petersburg is well regarded for its beaches. In 2005, Fort Desoto was rated the number one beach in America by the annual Dr. Beach rankings.
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St. Petersburg is represented by teams in four major professional sports. One, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of Major League Baseball, plays in St. Petersburg proper, while the other three play across the bay in Tampa. All of the teams are considered to represent the entire Tampa Bay metropolitan area. The Devil Rays began play in 1998, but have yet to be a major contender - finishing last in the American League's East Division in eight of the nine seasons they have played. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays play their regular season games at Tropicana Field and their Spring Training Games at Progress Energy Park, giving them the unique distinction of being the only team in Major League Baseball that plays its Spring Training games in their home city.
Tropicana Field, the home venue of the Devil Rays, played host to the 1999 Final Four. St. Petersburg is also home to the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the inaugural race was held in April 2005. The circuit itself is made of downtown streets passing Progress Energy Park, the marina, and a runway in Albert Whitted Airport, and streets are temporarily blocked off for the annual Indy Racing League race, which was last held on April 2, 2006. The race has been confirmed to return from March 30 - April 1, 2007. Tropicana Fields is also the site of the FMBC marching band championships in the fall, which features marching bands from across the state, including Newsome and Chamberlain high school.
St. Petersburg is the home of many past, present, and future sports icons. In the area of hails the WBC and IBF Light Middleweight Champion Ronald "Winky" Wright and IBF, IBO, and WBO Champion Jeff Lacy. Football is a big interest in the area. Ernest Givins, Stacey Simmons, William Floyd, and Pat Terrell are some of the famous retired NFL players from the city. Shaun King, Marquell Blackell, Aveion Cason, Darren Howard, Tim Carter, Kenny Heatly, and DeAndrew Rubin are some players currently in the NFL from the city. Sam Smith, Andre Hall, Pat Watkins, Jason Teague, Chris Davis, Billy Henderson, Chris C. Davis, Omonigho Imeokparia, Jovon Jackson, Marcello Church, Marton Church, Deonte Bolden, Pat Carter, Kevon Marion, Jeremy Biandudi, and Ralph "Ricky" Willams are some players looking to enter the NFL in the next couple of years. Current Devil Rays pitcher Doug Waechter is also from St. Pete, as well as Minnesota Twins pitcher Boof Bonser. Indy Racing League driver and 2005 Indianapolis 500 Champion Dan Wheldon resides in St. Pete as well.
- The Wikimedia Foundation is based in St. Petersburg, as was Wikia, Inc. before its re-incorporation in Delaware.
- About one-third of Ian Fleming's James Bond novel, Live and Let Die, is set in St. Petersburg.
- Linda Crockett/Christina Crockett novels Song of the Seabird (romance), Satyr (horror,)Safelight (psych.thriller)set in St. Pete--Crockett teaches at St. Pete High
- All three of Lary Crews''s Veronica Slate novels, Kill Cue, Extreme Close-Up and Option To Die, are set in St. Petersburg.
- Is the birthplace of B5's member Dustin Breeding
- In 2004 the feature film Loren Cass was shot in and around the city, including on the center span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and at Williams Park.
- In March 2006, the rock group Coldplay filmed their music video for "The Hardest Part" on the waterfront of St. Petersburg overlooking the Yacht Club.
- The Ron Howard movie "Cocoon" was filmed in and around St. Petersburg. Locations included the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, The Coliseum, and Snell Arcade buildings.
- The 90's NBC show "Seaquest DSV" filmed most of its outdoor scenes in St. Petersburg throughout the seasons.
- The movie Ocean's Eleven had a small part filmed at Derby Lane, a popular Grayhound racing track in St. Petersburg.
- Takamatsu, Japan
- Saint Petersburg, Russia ("twin city" relationship)
- Mike Alstott, Professional football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Angela Bassett, actress
- Sébastien Bourdais, Professional racecar driver
- Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins band member
- Lary Crews, writer
- Charlie Crist, current Governor of Florida
- Linda Crockett aka Christina Crockett, writer
- Michael France, film screenwriter
- Hobart Freeman, Author and charismatic preacher
- Chris Fuller, filmmaker
- Ernest Givins, former football player
- Dwight Gooden, Baseball player
- Nicole Haislett, Olympic gold medalist in swimming
- Bob Devin Jones, playwright
- Jack Kerouac, leading figure of the beat generation
- Bill Klase, martial arts expert, bail agent
- Casey Kotchman, Major League Baseball player
- Jeff Lacy, professional boxer
- Tony Little, fitness guru
- John Loftus, former U.S. Justice Department Nazi war crimes prosecutor, the president of the Florida Holocaust Museum, and terrorism expert
- Gordon Mackenzie, former Major League Baseball player and minor league manager.
- William Mize, mystery writer.
- Johnny Nee, Baseball scout
- Charles Roser, cookie maker, real estate developer & philanthropist.
- Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
- Dan Wheldon, race car driver
- Winky Wright, professional boxer
- Omali Yeshitela, civil rights activist