Join us at the Mirror Lake Library for the Centennial Panel on Saturday, December 5, at 2:00 p.m. The five panelists are Mr. Jon Wilson, Ms. Jeannette Wenzel, Ms. Susan Churuti, Ms. Carol Lee Wathen and Ms. Peggy Harris.
Jon Wilson has lived in St. Petersburg since 1956, when his family and he relocated here. He has lived an extremely rich full life, which ultimately led him into journalism and reporting, and he was a reporter and then editor for the St. Petersburg Times. He has kept a keen eye towards events and life in midtown St. Petersburg, and has written several books on the history of this area rich in history of the black experience of the times. He is excited to be on the panel, and has many ruminerations of going to the library throughout his childhood.
Jeannette Wenzel has lived here since she was born, sometime in the early 1930s. She grew up in the home of Pierce V. Gahan, the city’s first, and long-time, recreation director, who is also known as the father of modern shuffleboard. In 1925 Mr. Gahan wrote the rules of play for modern day shuffleboard, and under his guidance St. Petersburg became the shuffleboard capital of America. In her own right to fame, Jeannette is the youngest photographer hired by the Times, becoming a photographer in 1957 at the age of 26. She remembers coming to the library before she could even read, and has a picture to prove it.
Susan Churuti has lived here since she was born, sometime in the early 1940s, during the time when St. Petersburg was home to hundreds of thousands of soldiers training for battle during World War Two. Her father was a local doctor who began buying up properties located along Beach Drive until the properties he amassed were developed into the modern downtown St. Petersburg we all know and recognize. In her own right, Susan has been a very active member of the community, and was one of the longest holders of the office of Pinellas County Attorney.
Peggy Harris has lived here since birth, sometime in the 1930s. Peggy and her sister Sharon (who is a Friend) were regularly brought to the library by their mother, who believed literacy was part of living a full life. Peggy grew up in the family whose father was a long time editor of the St. Petersburg Times.
Carol Lee Wathen has lived here since birth, sometime in the 1920s. She was a very active member of her class at St. Petersburg High School, serving as class Senate President, and voted Miss Knows Everyone. She seems to know everyone who was someone back in the day.