St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream, 1888-1950 (Florida Sand Dollar Books)

“Arsenault’s new history of St. Petersburg is not only the best and most professional effort so far, it is also a good book in its own right . . . a book from which to take both pleasure and instruction. “–St. Peters…

“Arsenault’s new history of St. Petersburg is not only the best and most professional effort so far, it is also a good book in its own right . . . a book from which to take both pleasure and instruction. “–St. Petersburg Times

“A marvelous exploration . . . both a visual treat and a pleasure to read. At the same time, it makes a very important contribution to modern Florida history. “–Raymond Mohl, Florida Atlantic University


St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream, 1888-1950 chronicles the early history of St. Petersburg and the lower Pinellas Peninsula.    From the precolumbian culture of the Tocobaga mound-builders to the arrival of the railroad, from the St. Petersburg-Havana yacht races to the tin-can tourists to the first stirrings of the Sunbelt phenomenon following World War II, Raymond Arsenault’s history presents a rich tapestry of the area.

     A forerunner of the modern Sunbelt city, early St. Petersburg successfully mixed southern and northern cultures and used vigorous public relations and advertising to promote itself.   By the mid-20th century, the “Sunshine City” had developed into one of the most important resort communities in the United States, a self-styled subtropical playground that stood tantalizingly apart from the mainstream of urban America.

     Before the age of expressways, heat pumps, fast-food restaurants, and suburban shopping malls, local life revolved around institutions and traditions long associated with the Florida Dream–the centuries-old promise of perpetual warmth, health, comfort, and leisure.   Arsenault describes these institutions and many of the personalities that enlivened them–Doc Webb, William Straub, Al Lang, Frank Davis, Handsome Jack Taylor, Katherine Bell Tippetts, and others, whose activities contributed to the distinctive and colorful history of St. Petersburg.  


Raymond Arsenault is professor of history at the University of South Florida.   He is the author of The Wild Ass of the Ozarks : Jeff Davis and the Social Bases of Southern Politics and the editor of Crucible of Liberty : 200 Years of the Bill of Rights.

St-Pete-Pier

Related Products