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Published Oct. 12, 2005

Sitting in almost solitary splendor on then-Redington _ and now North Redington Beach _ is the Tides Hotel and Bath Club, pictured probably in the 1940s.

In 1938, a group of local men got together to build this facility as a beach club on 2,200 feet of gulf front property. Among them were Harry Playford, Paul Poynter, Roger Wilson, Sen. Nin U. Bond and Charles Redington. In 1945, Alsonett Hotels, headed by Charles Alberding, bought the property from the membership. For many years, it thrived, with much of the success due to manager Phil Dross and his crew.

The crew included Buddy "B. C." Clark, who did everything from serving drinks to changing babies; sisters Hester Britten and Josephine Smith, cocktail waitresses; and swim instructor George Symons. Of them all, Symons is the only one still at the club, now in his 42nd year, and is teaching grandchildren of his first students.

The club's heyday was in the 1950s and 1960s when the membership was 3,000 with a long waiting list. It was a social hub for Tampa, as well as St. Petersburg. John Baldwin and Bruce Watters each had stores within the Bath Club property. Also on the property was a hotel, a motor inn, a yacht club, cabanas, cottages, two pools, a large dining room and later, a ballroom.

The property still includes the above features and maintains an active membership.


Information in this story came from St. Petersburg Times files. The postcard belongs to Frank Peters.