At one time, the string of islands that make up the Gulf Beaches were known as four different keys: Long Key, Treasure Island, Sand Key and Clearwater Beach Key. Long Key, the most southern island, was originally made up of four areas: Pass-A-Grille Beach, Don CeSar Place, Belle Vista Beach and St. Petersburg Beach. In 1957, the four communities merged and formed the city of St. Petersburg Beach. Later, in efforts to achieve their own identity, the city voted to shorten its name to St. Pete Beach.
Residents began to make Pass-A-Grille their home in the late 19th century, and in 1902 the first store was built. In 1905, Pass-A-Grille opened a post office and in 1911 the State declared Pass-A-Grille a town. Twenty -one residents voted at the first election. In 1914, electricity came to Long Key Island (St. Pete Beach), and in 1922 the island's first fire station was established.
In 1928, Thomas Rowe built the Don CeSar Resort for 1.5 million dollars. It has 275 rooms and is ten stories tall. On opening night the Don CeSar hosted more than 1,500 guests, who paid $ 2.50 each to enjoy dinner and dancing. The Depression hit the Don CeSar hard and in the early ‘40s the government purchased the hotel for $ 440,000 and turned it into a hospital and rehabilitation center. In 1944 it became one of the area’s first hurricane shelters for residents and pets. In 1945, the regional Office of Veterans Administration was moved into the Don and it was stripped and painted army green. In 1969, facing $3 million in renovations, the government passed over control of the facility and the county was prepared to tear it down and create a park in its place. Due to an active citizens group, William Bowman learned about the Don CeSar and in 1972 purchased the building. After major renovations, the Don CeSar was reopened in 1973.
St. Pete Beach is filled with fine restaurants and quaint cafes, gorgeous sunsets and welcoming weather. Shoppers enjoy the specialty boutiques of Pass-A-Grille and the Corey Avenue Shopping District or any of the other great shopping areas located on Gulf Boulevard.
All the amenities of the big city are just a few miles away for St. Pete Beach residents. Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg provide professional football, hockey, baseball and numerous baseball training camps, top-rated museums, orchestra, opera, a bustling nightlife, Broadway shows and an array of entertainment from around the world. All of this is accessible within 30 to 45 minutes from the town.
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