Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Taste of Architecture

"Architecture" was a word I didn't use much (if at all) when I was growing up in St. Pete. Most of the buildings we all looked at were variations of the rectangle and the square. When I took a Humanities course at SPJC as an adult, I learned that St. Mary's Catholic Church, on 4th St. South and 5th Ave., was an example of "Byzantine architecture". The term itself gave me a new appreciation for the building.

Jean Davis Brown writes that St. Mary's was where she was married, many years ago. She used to go to a 5 am Mass there before going to work. She remembers that it was the only church in St. Pete at the time that had varied "ethnicities" and that the women who attended all wore hats and gloves.

Thanks to Larry Britner for the picture of St. Mary's.


david said...

And did you know that the public bathroom at the foot of the pier approach was made from the leftover brick from St. Marys and thus still carrues the nick name "little St. Marys" to us oldtimers. david

Pat Teague Fulton said...

The story I have always heard about the public bathroom was that the architect for St. Mary's was ticked because he didn't get paid for some work. It was his way of getting even with the city by designing and constructing a public bathroom that resembled St. Mary's. Maybe someone out there knows a more accurate story, but that's the "legend" I was told.

lgbritner said...

Well now, this is going to be one of my more interesting researches as I don't think either one of the suggestions can actually be true, but are urban legend.

The brick used is wrong for the former, and my bets are on the public restrooms at the foot of the pier pre-dating the building of Saint Mary's.

So far, "The Pier has been a landmark of downtown St. Petersburg since 1899 when Peter Demens hooked up the Orange Belt Railroad to a half-mile wharf. D. F. Brantley started the first Pier Pavilion in 1895, but it is the 1926 Million Dollar Pier, torn down in 1973 to house today's inverted pyramid structure, that long-time residents remember."

The brick used for the public restrooms similar to that of the Detroit Hotel (I think - ain't sure of the smoothness/texture of brick), my bets are on the public restrooms being built earlier rather than later, and likely related to Demens tracks going out the pier in 1899.

lgbritner said...

A correction: The "comfort station" while also of design by Henry L Taylor same as that of Saint Mary's, Admiral Farragut, and the Vinoy, and both the comfort station and Saint Mary's on the drawing board and deliberately similar at the same time, the comfort station was built in 1927, and Saint Mary's two years later in 1929.