For almost a hundred years, St. Petersburg Museum of History has been an exhibit of history itself. The Museum has, over the years, played host to many of the city’s and the county’s archives. Visitors can relish in the rich heritage of the founding of St. Pete, from the very groundbreaking activities for the Orange Belt railroad to the establishment of the Women’s Town Improvement League. Guests can marvel at the city’s contribution to the field of commercial air travel which is, by far, the most significant contribution of the city. The Museum also takes baseball fans to the inaugural season of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Birth of Commercial Flight
St. Petersburg is the home of the very first commercial flight that took 23 minutes to fly across Tampa Bay between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Shortly before 10 in the morning of the 1st day of January 1914, Tony Janus piloted the Benoist XIV biplane seaplane from the St. Petersburg Pier to make the 22-mile journey across Tampa Bay with the St. Petersburg’s mayor, Abraham C. Pheil paying $5 for the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. This was the first time that an airplane was used to exclusively airlift a passenger from one place to another.
While the first airline only lasted 3 months in the air, ferrying more than 1,200 passengers between the two cities, it nevertheless made its mark in aviation history. In 1984, the Florida Aviation Historical Society commissioned aviation builders to recreate the Lark Duluth that flew during those times. This fully operational full scale replica of the Benoist XIV is now on display at the Museum and has been a major attraction ever since.
Schrader’s Little Cooperstown for Baseball Fans
Loyal followers of the Major League Baseball will find Schrader’s Little Cooperstown a heaven for baseball artifacts and other memorabilia. On display are not less than 4,800 fully autographed, well kept, baseballs alongside storyboards, documents, and artifacts from the game’s foremost names. Included in the long list of baseball’s greatest who have an imprint on the halls of St. Petersburg Museum of History include Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. Also on display are photographs of spring training sessions of other MLB teams like the Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and the Pirates, just to name a few.
The Museum strives to provide a variety of exhibits over a certain period of time. It is thus best to visit the Museum regularly to learn newer stories to be told.