The Beautiful Grounds of the Original Pass-a-Grille Hotel prior to the September 28, 1922 fire.
Can you spot the alligator tank? (details below)
Information from 'Pass-A-Grille Historical Trail by Steve Rajtar'
East side of Pass-A-Grille Way, between 23rd and 25th Aves.
Site of Hotel La Plaza
Zephaniah Phillips obtained title to this property, extending from south of present-day 23rd Ave. to the middle of 31st Ave., including the tip of the Don Ce-Sar Peninsula, in October of 1902. His cost was $1.52 per acre. He died on January 21, 1903, and title to this land passed to his daughter, Anna C. Hartley. In 1906, she built the Hotel La Plaza on a 400 foot strip of land overlooking the Little McPherson Bayou.
Until the Don Ce-Sar was built over two decades later, the La Plaza was the best on the beaches. The square frame building was surrounded with covered verandas, and showed a few Victorian curlicues. It was linked by a boardwalk to quarters for the hotel employees and the servants of guests, a two-story building at the corner of 26th Ave. About seven cottages were located in between.
The property was sold in 1913 for $35,000 to H. Walter Fuller's St. Petersburg Land Company. It was renamed the Pass-A-Grille Hotel, and Fuller constructed a tropical garden between the boat dock and the hotel. The two alligators who lived in a concrete tank escaped during the hurricane of 1921.
The hotel burned down on September 28, 1922, just a week after the town's new fire pumper truck had arrived. Before they could unroll the new hoses, the hotel was engulfed in flames.
The alligator tank was removed in 1959 during the construction of the Petite Apartments.