THE WEST COAST'S FIRST BEACH COMMUNITY
PASS-A-GRILLE BEACH, the Southernmost of Pinellas County's barrier
beaches, was the first beach community on the Gulf of Mexico to develop as a
weekend residential spot for successful Tampa
and St. Petersburg
residents. Home to fishermen, homesteaders, and lumber men like Zephaniah Phillips, the island opened
up when Roy S. Hanna and Tampa cigar magnate Selwyn Morey started in the 1880's to
develop lots for houses and hotels.
manager of St. Petersburg's Detroit Hotel, set up a floating hotel for
excursionists and in 1898 George Henri Lizotte, a French travel agent for Thomas Cook Company,
opened the first permanent hotel.
Merged with St. Petersburg Beach
since 1957, Pass-A-Grille maintains its arty and bohemian life style, in part,
because the village is but one block wide and 31 blocks long.
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WHERE TO START: The island is ideal for
walkers if you PARK AT THE SOUTH END OF GULF WAY by the beach. DRIVERS would
appreciate the weekdays when you can loop around the narrow roads. This view of
the area in a Tom Brown postcard was made in 1953. (Florida State
Archive Postcard Collection)
DRIVE EAST ON FIRST AVENUE toward Pass-A-Grille Channel to see how condos and
apartments now block the point. Only 103
First Avenue, a two story frame with an old
metal stove chimney is an early house. (1) LANDS END is a cottage
colony at the very tip of Pass-A-Grille with a view toward the mouth of Tampa Bay.
LEFT (north) ON GULF and PASS SECOND AVENUE. On your left are four early 1920's
cottages: (2) 200 Pass-A-Grille, a fine 2 1/2- story frame
structure with a large front porch.
TURN LEFT ON THIRD AVENUE. All the cottages on
your left predate 1925, including the (3) DR. EDMUND MELVILE HOUSE (1906),
104 Third Avenue,
a two story that was moved from the Point to make way for apartments. At 110 Third Avenue
was the (4) THOMAS WATSON COTTAGE SITE, the winter home of Thomas
Watson, co-inventor of the telephone.
TURN RIGHT ON GULF and then RIGHT ON FOURTH AVENUE.
On your left is the (5) HOTEL CASTLE
(1906) one of the older beach establishments and an unusual style of a
beach colony. On your right is the (6) FIRST SCHOOLHOUSE (1912) , 105 Fourth
Avenue, a one room school, now a residence. Across
the street lived William Staub, editor of the St.
Petersburg Times (111 Fourth) .
A photograph of THE CASTLE, one of the oldest beach
hotels At the end of the block on the right is the (7)
HAROLD McPHERSON HOUSE (1903), 308 Pass-A-Grille, once an old fish camp, now
a large frame house.
TURN LEFT ON PASS-A-GRILLE.
The next four houses on your left are fine
older homes. The first one is the (8) WALDRON HOUSE (1910), 400
Pass-A-Grille, with a wonderful stone fence and cement yard.
TURN LEFT ON FIFTH AVENUE where old cottages
line both sides. The first house on your left is the (9) CAPTAIN RANDON
MILES HOUSE (1900), 102 Fifth Avenue, one of the island's
oldest, complete with fluted chimney. The last house on the left is the (11) JAMES
SIMMONS HOUSE (1911), 108
Fifth Avenue, a big waterfront owned by the New
TURN RIGHT ON GULF and right on SIXTH AVENUE. This entire block is mostly 1920's cottages. The last
house on the left stands where Zephaniah Phillips built his saw mill in 1884.
TURN LEFT ON PASS-A-GRILLE
and LEFT ON SEVENTH.
The first house on your left is the (11) AMELIA
WILLIAMS HOUSE (l9l9), 612 Pass-A-Grille. At 608 Pass-A-Grille is the
(12) ZEPHANIAH PHILLIPS HOUSE (1886), probably the oldest home on
the island. On your right is the 1917 (13) V. K. OUTLANDS HOUSE
(1917), home of a noted poet, batter known locally as the "Cat Woman."
Here and at 702 Pass-A-Grille were located the Old Spanish Fishing Ranchos in
Don Cesar & Downtown
Seventh Avenue is the (14) GEORGE GRANGER
HOUSE (1901), one of the five oldest beach cottages in Pinellas.
RIGHT ON GULF WAY and RIGHT ON EIGHTH
AVENUE, downtown Pass-A- Grille. On your right
where the huge (15) M. T. Bellies Restaurant welcomes visitors was the
1896 Sceptor Patrick cottage. The two story buildings
with their open or enclosed second floor porches give downtown a frontier look
except at 111 Eighth, a delightfully tiny pink
storefront advertising "psychotherapy." A block away is the towering HURRICANE
RESTAURANT, where people drive for miles for a grouper sandwich and a
door at 107 Eighth Avenue
is the (16) JOSEPH MERRY BAIT SHOP (l911). The fancy
building at 106 Eighth Avenue
is the 1913 (17) J. J. DUFFY GROCERY, started by the first Mayor
and major developer of this area. The Coin Shop is housed at the (18) CAPTAIN
KEN MERRY BUILDING (1936), 105
Eighth Avenue, once the Kay Metz store. At 102 Eighth Avenue
was the (19) JAMES MASON HOUSE (1923), one of the earliest
TURN LEFT ON PASS-A-GRILLE and LEFT on
one-way NINTH AVENUE.
On your right is the Pass-A-Grille Park.
On your left at 808 Pass-A-Grille is the (20) JUDGE L. S. SCHWERDTFEBER
HOUSE (JEWETT VILLA)(1908),
a big house with three dormers. The Seaside Grille Pavilion across Gulf Way along the
public beach continues a tradition started in 1905 by Charles S. Page who
opened a beachside snack bar. This postcard of the PASSA-GRILLE HOTEL AND CASINO
is dated 1921.
TURN RIGHT ON GULF WAY
and RIGHT ON TENTH AVENUE.
One can't miss the (21) PASS-A-GRILLE
COMMUNITY CHURCH (1911), 115 Tenth Avenue, now a history museum for the
Pinellas islands. Stop by and visit the exhibits if the building is open. (22) 105 Tenth Avenue
once housed the 1913 Women's Club.
Tenth Avenue is the (23) E. C. KITTRIGHT
HOUSE (1903), one of the island's oldest and moved from downtown. At the
end of the block is the 1906 (24) ALPHONSE THAYER HOUSE, 1000
Pass-A-Grille. The art gallery on the back side was the studio of noted artist
TURN LEFT ON PASS-A-GRILLE past the 1910 Mac
Granger House at 1002 Pass-A-Grille, and TURN LEFT ON ELEVENTH AVENUE. At 109 Eleventh Avenue
is the delightful (24) CHARLES BEINERT COTTAGE, (1921), better
known as the "Staten Island Cottage."
This ends of the original Pass-A-Grille
district. At 113 Twelfth Street
is the (25) VASHTI BARLETTE COTTAGE (1918) and at 1202 Pass-A-Grille Way
is the (26) HAROLD McPHERSON
OTHER SPOTS: 1805
Pass-A-Grille Way - the 1928
house of movie actress Norma Talmadge; 2201
Pass-A-Grille Way - the 1938 Women's Club. 1307 Gulf Way - the
1922 Sea Spray Motel, popular in Florida Land Boom with actor Lionel Barrymore.