Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Pier

The Pier, St Petersburg, FL


The Pier, located 1/4 mile out on the waterfront in St Petersburg, FL is an iconic symbol of our beautiful city. This beautiful building is 40 years old and is unfortunately falling apart. It once housed 3 restaurants, several shops and a food court on the first floor, an aquarium on the second floor, offices on the 4th floor and an observation deck with restaurant and live music on the 5th floor.

There were fishing docks on the back, mini golf, boats, ski doos, bicycles and paddleboats rentals on the left side, with a bait house where the Pelicans could be fed for $1 a fish. Free trollies brought people who didn't want to or were unable to walk the quarter mile walk to the end of the pier to visit this building. Tourists flocked here. It was a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. While all good things must come to an end, The Pier is now closed and has been closed since May 31, 2013.

Originally, the city was going to demolish it and replace it with another building. There were 3 designs presented and a design called The Lens was chosen. The people of St Petersburg were outraged and wanted nothing to do with The Lens. They didn't like the design and the proposed usage. A referendum was held and the City stopped its plans while the citizens gathered the required number of signatures to squash the plan. Once again, the city is looking at new plans for our beloved Pier. This time, there are 8 designs to choose from. We'll have to see what wins out.

This was not the only pier for the City of St Petersburg. The first pier was constructed in 1889 and  was called The Railroad Pier. It was a sight-seeing and recreational resort for locals and tourists. It was built around the Orange Belt Railway, and was railway accessible. In 1906, it was replaced by The Electric Pier and extended 3,000 ft into Tampa Bay. This pier was replaced by the Municipal Pier in 1914. The Municipal Pier was destroyed by a hurricane in 1921. The city then paid $1,000,000 for a new pier. The new one, called the Million Dollar Pier and dedicated in 1926. It was demolished in 1967 and the site remained vacant until 1973 when the current pier was built.

So, now we wait for a new pier to be built. I feel now is a good time to photograph and document our pier before it is gone.
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