Make us your home page
Pinellas letters

Architect deserves our honor, despite St. Petersburg Pier's fate

Architect deserves our honor, despite Pier's fate

William B. Harvard Sr. was a wonderful architect. He did not design ugly buildings. He was thoughtful before he ever went to the drawing board. His reasons for making art were of great dignity and significance, to the end that the building would become a performance of the visual.

Thus, we have the wonderful Pier that exists today.

Harvard was a man of extraordinary talent and deep faith. He loved St. Petersburg and was good at creating buildings that make us think. He understood that the primary purpose of art is to disturb —as in provoking thought, emotion and discussion.

He was quiet and insightful. Knowing that St. Peter is the patron saint of St. Petersburg, perhaps with a gleam in the recesses of his soul, he recalled that St. Peter was crucified upside down and translated that into the inverted Pier.

He was instructed to create a building with a huge amount of square footage on a "postage stamp" area. To do this, his genius led him to placing the smallest floor area at the bottom with each floor gradually growing in width — thus creating a fountain effect over the water.

If the existing Pier is demolished — an unfortunate thought — could we please honor Harvard by naming Second Avenue N "Bill Harvard Way"? His talent is all around us in beautiful St. Petersburg: the old YWCA building on Mirror Lake; the old Suwannee Hotel glass addition restaurant; St. Peter's Cathedral's old Parish Hall; and the great Williams Park glass band shell.

Harvard won first place in 1952 for the band shell in a national competition. It, like the Pier, became a recognizable symbol of St. Petersburg nationwide and beyond.

Eric Lang Peterson, St. Petersburg

Preserve 'retro' gem

I have an idea for making our Pier viable. Make it an amusement pier similar to the Santa Monica Pier in California: one with arcade games, a Ferris wheel and some other permanent rides.

St. Petersburg and the beaches are sorely lacking this type of entertainment, and with the number of young families and children living in this city, it should be a viable option. It actually might make money for the city and create part-time jobs for our youth.

Also, the Pier is unique with the inverted pyramid. We should try to save some of these "retro" gems that are being appreciated by more and more historians.

Jeff Francis, St. Petersburg

No credit for our bags?

In the interest of doing the environment a favor, I suggest you assign one of your reporters to determine why local grocery chains are not more receptive to customers who bring in reusable tote bags.

I spent the past summer in Dayton, Ohio, where the Kroger Co. encouraged us to bring in reusable carry-out bags, paying us 3 cents each. I normally brought in four bags.

The response of Publix, Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie has been less than enthusiastic — no pennies refund, no thanks, no comment on our effort to reduce the use of plastic bags and thus reduce the stores' costs while helping the environment.

Charles A. Adams, Tarpon Springs

Architect deserves our honor, despite St. Petersburg Pier's fate 10/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 2:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours