This week in history
From the pages of the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent.
100 years ago - 1909
March 8: An article, written by a "tourist," touted the Club House hotel, built on pilings off Pinellas Point in more than 16 feet of water. Reached by a 45-minute sail from the city dock, it offered views of open water from three sides of its wrap-around porch and had six rooms, a dining saloon, social hall and kitchen, which served a menu of fresh fish and shellfish. Or, you could spend the day: For $1 you got round-trip fare on the launch, "a good dinner," bait and fishing tackle.
March 11: And you thought they were kidding about the Sears, Roebuck catalog. The public notice above appeared in the Independent. There weren't any accompanying stories about huge backups in the sewer system, but it does make you wonder.
75 years ago - 1934
March 13: Residents danced away the evening in a progressive dance to benefit the school fund. Orchestras played at the pier, Florida roof garden, Coliseum and Palais Royal. The 50-cent tickets raised $500, but the drive was still short about $7,000. Rescue came the next day as Florida's federal emergency relief administrator agreed to help districts who had exhausted other methods.
50 years ago - 1959
March 12: Another star was added to the flag as the U.S. House voted to make Hawaii the 50th state, following the lead of the Senate the previous day. Five Florida representatives voted in favor of statehood, three against; its two senators split on the vote.
March 14: The 67-foot Havana Yacht Club cutter Lobo del Mar led the way in the early going of the 26th annual St. Petersburg-Havana Race. Thirty-two yachts were buffeted by 15 to 20 mph headwinds as they began the 284-mile journey to Havana. It was the last official race, as U.S. relations with Fidel Castro cooled.
25 years ago - 1984
March 10: The last building of the "World's Most Unusual Drugstore" fell to the wrecker. Before Wal-Mart, Webb's City offered one-stop shopping at Ninth Street and Second Avenue S. James Earl "Doc" Webb's 1920s drugstore grew into a "city" of 77 stores. You could buy fertilizer in plant city, canned hams in the supermarket, find deals on men's dungarees on the main floor and women's blouses on the second, get your car serviced, buy housewares and furniture, eat dinner and watch a "Real Live Mermaid" and dancing chickens. Changing demographics downtown and suburban malls made Webb's seem shabby. It closed in 1979; Webb died in 1982.
March 13: The first "Super Tuesday" saw Democratic presidential primaries in nine states. Colorado Sen. Gary Hart won six, including Florida's nonbinding preference primary. Hart beat Walter Mondale in Pinellas on a complex ballot that also listed delegates. Turnout was 33 percent.