Very few of the smaller cities in the South have made greater strides in increased population and property valuation in the past two or three years then has pretty St. Petersburg on the west side of Tampa Bay. Five years ago this place had about 500 people. The census last year gave it about 2000 resident population and 3000 visitors were within its borders at one time, many others had come and gone and many others came afterwards. This winter the population has greatly increased and whereas the town could not house the visitors last winter and many left for want of accommodations, this year with the increased hotel, boarding house and private room capacity, several thousand more can be cared for, and the heavy advance guard of Northern people now arriving gives evidence of a much larger tourist travel there than last winter.
To give one an idea of the amount of building that has been done in St. Petersburg during the past summer, and is now underway, we will mention a portion of it that we can now recall.
A magnificent three-story brick building, with three huge store rooms on the ground floor, twenty spacious living rooms on the second and big halls on the third, now nearing completion. The iron work is supplied from the Ocala Foundry and the lime for this and all other buildings is from Ocala; another big double-store, two stories just completed; two two-story stores finished and occupied; two single stores, two-stories, brick, finished and occupied; A big three store, three-story building well under way and a large brick residence. These are all the very best of solid wall bricks.
A big two-room hotel is just completes and a 73-room hotel nearly finished; several ten to twenty room hotels and not less than 200 cottages and residences in different parts of the town as a result of last year’s work, with plans on foot for nearly as many more, with a mammoth tourist hotel in the near future. A furniture factory is being built. The A. C. L. Ry. Company is building a nice new passenger station; a new sawmill has just been opened. The city has just spent and is now spending over $100,000 (bonds) in sewers, street paving, water works, etc., and will at once begin the erection of a $5000 city hall and fire station.
The Electric Street Car Company within the past year has built and handsomely equipped ten miles of line and is doing a big business, and is now building a splendid dock nearly a mile out into the bay.
Almost every church in town, and there is a dozen of them, has erected a handsome new building, and the school buildings represent more money than all of Marion county’s put together.
Congressman Sibley, the Pennsylvania millionaire, has recently invested largely in the town and several other millionaires have bought there of late.
Source: Ocala Evening Star: 11-9-1905
Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers