Reeling in the Sun Seekers – 1920s Style

In the heyday of the 1920s, St. Petersburg ranked as one of the top tourist destinations in the country. It isn’t hard to see the multitudes flocking here once again today, but for a time in the decades of the 60s through the 90s St. Pete was a bit more of a sleepy town. This might give some the illusion that St. Pete was “undiscovered” until recently, but that isn’t the case. From the glamorous to the thrifty, St. Pete attracted thousands upon thousands of tourists each winter season from the mid 1910s through the roaring 20s and had its ups and downs in later decades as well.

St. Pete hired an immensely successful marketing manager named John Lodwick in 1918, and he stayed in the position for decades until his retirement. He was a natural salesman that worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce to promote St. Pete. He devised “World Championship” sporting events for sports that had no such event – think horseshoes, checkers, “Roque” (a game similar to croquet), and lawn bowling. Along with that, fine hotels, the million dollar pier, pictures of tourists (especially the scantily clad variety) and of course the fabulous beaches were heavily promoted in literature, film, and verbally. But above all – sunshine and warm weather were the city’s hallmarks. After all, St. Pete was the Sunshine City and not just by accident! Marketing, boosting, promoting and advertising were the keys to driving the city’s economy. But enough about that for today – I really just want to show off a neat marketing piece!

I recently stumbled upon a multi-page advertising spread from right around 1926 that would have been given out at trade shows or sent to prospective tourists looking for information about the city. In it, you can see how Lodwick and the Chamber worked together to promote different aspects of the city. There was literally something for everyone. Enjoy this piece from 1920s St. Pete.

Note: Click the photos for a larger view.

Let’s Start By Telling The Story of What You’re Missing in St. Pete!

Whatever the picture you hold of Florida — as a vacation land of indescribable charm, a land of opportunity, as a health spot — and whatever your favorite outdoor sport or recreation, St. Petersburg, Florida’s Sunshine City, offers the key to fulfillment.

Make money, have fun, play sports and enjoy the weather… who wouldn’t be 100% sold?

Let’s Golf!

Modern Courses, attractive clubhouses and hotels, and the advantages of all-the-year play are luring golfers to the Sunshine City. Walter Hagen is president of the Pasadena club.

If the idyllic descriptions weren’t enough, Walter Hagen was considered the top golfer in the world during the 1920s.

Lawn Bowling, Roque, and “Barnyard Golf”

St. Petersburg is the scene of the first open winter lawn bowling tournament in the history of the game — an indication of the place this sport occupies in the world of play in the Sunshine City.

Lawn Bowling World Championship, anyone? Well, someone’s going to come to see it.

Not sold yet? How About City Charms?

St. Petersburg the city, and St. Petersburg, the playground, are one in hospitality, friendliness, and progressiveness.

In other words… come on down, and we will take your money with a beaming grin, friend.

Pleasures of the Gulf

Beach-combing, a dip in the salt seas, a feast beside a roaring beach fire with the soft moon flooding down — can a day be more happily spent?

Probably not, by the sounds of it! Men, fish on. Ladies, take those bambinos to the beach!

Lifestyles and Accommodation

I think what we’re saying above is…. Come for a visit, and we’re pretty sure you’ll need to buy a house.

Under the spreading live oaks, the green benches provide a restful, attractive lounging spot.

Everything you’d expect on Sunday, and Williams Park, the one time heart of the city.

And finally….

If all the photos and descriptions weren’t enough, you’re probably be a logician. We have something for you fact-finders as well. Last page — all the city’s stats a tourist might hope to see.

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