For over one hundred years, the St. Petersburg Pier (located in the city’s downtown) has been a famed landmark in the Tampa Bay Area. It was built as a railroad pier in 1889 by the Orange Belt Roadway, and became a popular attraction for both town locals and visitors. When it was time for a replacement, the Electric Pier was established in 1906. This pier reached 3,000 feet into the bay and was known for its extravagant lighting, which made the pier a nightly beacon for celebrants of all ages.
In 1914, the Municipal Pier was established to replace the Electric Pier. However, this structure was nearly destroyed by the Hurricane of 1921. Never ones to back down from a challenge, the inhabitants of St. Petersburg were able to gain a 1 million bond in order to build yet another new structure. The Million Dollar Pier was officially dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1926.This version of the pier lasted until 1967the second-longest-lasting structure, falling short only of the modern structure. During the Million Dollar Pier’s heyday, it featured a Mediterranean casino with an open-air ballroom and an interior atrium.
The entrance to the pier later became the studio for WSUN-TV, St. Petersburg’s first TV station. Children from the area have fond memories of the station’s Captain Mac (played by Burl McCarty), a children’s television host who broadcast from the pier.The modern day pier was built in 1973 and has become the best-known of any era. Designed by William B. Harvard, Sr., the pier features a famous inverted pyramid building, topped off with a spacious observation deck at the top. The first floor houses specialty shops and a food court, while an aquarium is located on the second floor.
The fourth and fifth floors contain fine dining restaurants.If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit the modern pier, you’ve still got timebut that will change in the next few years. The St. Petersburg City Council voted in 2010 to demolish the current building, since renovations are not an option. However, the demolition will not take place until a new design is agreed onin addition, the City is waiting for 2012, when funds for the new project will become available. Construction is not expected to begin until at least 2013.