“St. Petersburg (America Through Time)” is the latest book by James Anthony Schnur, the Friends speaker on March 9, 2015.
Known as the “Sunshine City,” St. Petersburg gained notoriety as a popular destination for seasonal residents during the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s. However, the history of footprints along with shoreline spans thousands of years. Long before the first contact with Spanish conquistadors during the sixteenth century, indigenous cultures flourished along the abundant estuaries and left shell mounds and pottery as evidence of their settlements. After these original inhabitants disappeared, occasional fishing parties from Cuba and the Caribbean visited a largely uninhabited peninsula along Florida’s west coast. Indeed, fewer than 500 people resided along the entire Pinellas peninsula on the eve of the Civil War.
Throughout the twentieth century, waves of settlers, tourists, and residents encountered a colorful array of speculators and developers. Sometimes known as a winter wonderland for “”snowbird”” retirees, St. Petersburg tried to reinvent itself after pundits referred to the city as “”God’s waiting room”” by the early 1960s. Fifty years later, much has changed.
This book offers a visual portrait of St. Petersburg since the early 1900s. Historical and contemporary photographs in four chapters illustrate St. Petersburg’s waterfront heritage, the transformation of its downtown, the establishment of neighborhoods near downtown, and the city’s expansion in more recent years. Rather than offering an academic narrative, St. Petersburg Through Time introduces the reader to important moments in the city’s vibrant history and encourages further exploration.
The book is available from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
This latest event in the Friends of Mirror Lake Library author series is co-hosted by the Sunlit Festival in honor of the library’s centennial year.
Seating will be available at 5:00 p.m. The talk starts at 5:30. Join the Friends afterwards for light refreshments and a book signing with the author.
James Schnur is the USFSP librarian of special collections and archives. A native and lifelong resident of Pinellas County, Schnur joined the faculty of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library in February 2002 and presently holds adjunct teaching appointments at Eckerd College and the USF School of Information. Schnur first attended classes at USF St. Petersburg in fall 1986 and worked as a graduate student assistant in the Poynter Library between 1991 and 1997 before becoming an assistant library director at two Pinellas County public libraries and serving as a center administrator and advisor in Eckerd College’s Program for Experienced Learners. He has also served as president of the Pinellas County Historical Society, as well as on the boards and committees of other cultural and historical organizations in Florida.
Schnur wrote “Largo (Images of America Series)” in 2012 and “Madeira Beach, Florida (Images of America Series)” in 2013. His new book, published in 2014, is “St. Petersburg (America Through Time).”
To watch “Historical Reflections Alone Mirror Lake,” a speech Schnur gave at Heritage Village last fall, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sg7FGUowkA.
See https://www.facebook.com/SunLitFestival for more about the SunLit Festival, March 7-15, 2015.