Plus, Willie Nelson announces Tampa show.
November 16, 2023 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


Today’s Forecast

74º | Sunny | 0% chance of rain | Sunrise: 7:22 a.m. | Sunset: 5:49 p.m. | Tides | Old Tampa Bay | High: 11:16 a.m. + 10:01 p.m. | Low: 2:58 p.m. | Clearwater Beach | High: 6:59 a.m. + 6:21 p.m. | Low: 12:16 p.m.

⏰ Throwback Thursday
Crowds gather on Tampa's Lafayette Street Bridge in 1925. The photo is black and white, discolored, there are streetcars and the University of Tampa is in the background.
This photo of the Lafayette Street (now known as Kennedy Boulevard) Bridge was taken in 1925. | Photo via Florida Memory
The 1920s were a revolutionary time. Prohibition, economic growth, and social change dominated the national consciousness.

The Tampa Bay area was no exception, with the decade defined by a land + real estate boom, as well as an influx of tourism and population growth. Tampa’s population doubled between 1920 and 1930, and St. Pete’s nearly tripled.

Here’s a breakdown of what TBAY was like in the 1920s:

Economic developments

More people means more hotel rooms, jobs, and roads.
  • The Gandy Bridge opened in 1924, making transportation across Old Tampa Bay significantly quicker.
  • The Vinoy Park Hotel was built in 1926, the Hotel Floridan opened 1927, and The Don CeSar started taking reservations in 1928.
  • The booming cigar business of the 20s helped put Tampa on the map. In 1929, the city rolled its most cigars in a year, just shy of a staggering 505 million.
Rows of cigar factory workers stretch into the distance. They are hand rolling cigars, dressed in white, and the photo is in black and white.

The Corral, Wodiska & Company Cigar Factory, 1929.


Photo via Florida Memory


There was also an increased want for entertainment, leisure, and sports.
  • Several venues opened for shows that still exist today: the Coliseum in 1924, the Palladium Theater St. Petersburg in 1925, and the Tampa Theatre in 1926. Fun fact: The Palladium was originally a Christian Science church.
  • Leisure options grew too: The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was founded in 1924, Babe Zaharias Golf Course opened in 1926 (originally called the Forest Hills Golf and Country Club) along with several other Tampa Bay area golf courses.
  • The New York Yankees’ ties to TBAY began in 1925, when the team started hosting their spring training season at St. Pete’s Huggins-Stengel Field. The field was formerly known as Crescent Lake Field.
Gasparilla is celebrated in 1925. The ship is visible and crowds gather on a bridge.

Looks like there were no beads in 1925.


Photo via Florida Memory

Historic events

  • Oct. 25, 1921 was the last time a hurricane made landfall in the Tampa Bay area. Experts believe the Tarpon Springs storm was a Category 3 hurricane. There was a storm surge of up to 11 feet, and Bayshore Boulevard was severely damaged + completely washed away in places.
  • Some evidence suggests Ybor City’s historic smuggle tunnels were built during the 1920s amid the emergence of gang culture. Legend has it they were used for criminal activity, including transporting alcohol to speakeasies during Prohibition.
Thursday, Nov. 16
  • Photography Hike | Thursday, Nov. 16 | 9-11 a.m. | Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, 1800 Weedon Dr. NE, St. Petersburg | $3 | Grab a camera and snap some pics of the preserve’s wildlife on this guided hike.
  • Holiday Shopping at the Tampa Museum of Art | Thursday, Nov. 16 | 10 a.m.-7 p.m. | 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa | Free with registration | Get a jump on your holiday shopping where local vendors will be selling a host of treasures.
Friday, Nov. 17
  • Festival of Trees | Friday, Nov. 17-Sunday, Nov. 19 | Times vary | The Long Center, 1501 N. Belcher Rd., Clearwater | $0-$10 | Gather around a bunch of decorated holiday trees alongside music, live performances, and exhibitions, with proceeds going to charity.
  • Winter Village | Friday, Nov. 17-Monday, Jan. 1 | Times vary | Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Dr., Tampa | Free | Get festive in Downtown Tampa as this seasonal event returns, featuring ice skating, food + drink options, vendors, and more.
Saturday, Nov. 18
  • Lightning vs. Oilers | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 4-7 p.m. | Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Dr., Tampa | $55+ | The Lightning take the ice against the boys from Edmonton.
  • America’s Largest Interactive Mystery Dinner Show | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 6-9 p.m. | Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Westshore, 5312 Avion Dr., Tampa | $64 | Laugh at, ponder, and figure out this mystery/performance alongside The Dinner Detective.
Click here to have your event featured.
News Notes
  • 100 out of 100. That’s Tampa and St. Pete’s scores for the Human Rights Campaign’s 2023 Municipal Equality Index which dives into municipal laws and how inclusive they are of LGBTQ+ people. In case you missed it, that’s the same as last year’s scores.
  • He’s On The Road Again. Willie Nelson is coming to Tampa. The legendary songwriter will play at The Sound in Clearwater on Saturday, Feb. 10. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 17 + start at $54.50. (Creative Loafing Tampa Bay)
  • ~80,000. That’s how many travelers are expected per day at Tampa International Airport over the next 10 days. The airport is preparing for what could be a historic number of people passing through for the Thanksgiving holiday. (FOX 13 News)
Real Estate
  • A Pinellas County RV park recently sold for $10.5 million. The nine-acre, 175-site Indian Rocks Travel Park (12121 Vonn Rd.) was sold to Beach House RV Resort LLC. It’s about two miles from Indian Rocks Beach. (St. Pete Catalyst)
  • Screen Door Microcinema in Ybor City (1624 E. Seventh Ave.) is putting on a holiday favorite. “Christmas at Pee Wee’s Playhouse” will be shown on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Grab your $8 tickets.
  • The Tarpon Springs Seafood Festival returns this weekend for its 35th year. Officials expect ~30,000 guests who will enjoy a range of vendors offering eats + drinks. The free festival runs from from tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 19. (Creative Loafing Tampa Bay)
  • From the on-screen meme to the Tampa stage. Actor and comedian Kevin James is coming to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino next year on his comedy tour, “Irregardless.” James will perform in TBAY on Sunday, April 7 + tickets are already on sale. (That’s So Tampa)
🚰 Putting the serve in conserve
A sprinkler head up close. It is sat in grass and spraying water.
What are the new rules? | Photo by Jonathan Cooper via Pexels
Southwest Florida officials met earlier this week and issued a water shortage order. But what does that mean? Here’s what you need to know:
  • The Tampa Bay area is in a drought after this summer’s four-month rainy season produced just ~26.8 inches of rainfall. That’s the least in 26 years, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
  • The Modified Phase 1 Shortage order impacts 16 counties in total, and runs from Tuesday, Nov. 21 to the start of July, meaning certain restrictions for water usage are on their way.
  • Both Hillsborough and Pinellas county residents face more restrictions than other counties. Starting Friday, Dec. 1, only one day of outdoor lawn watering is allowed per week.
  • The day you are allowed to water your lawn depends on your house number, and the size of your property also has an impact — see how you will be affected.
  • If you’re looking for guidance on how to conserve water, we’ve got you covered with some handy tips.
The Buy
Know someone who loves candles and cosmos? Add this candle to your cart this holiday season.
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The Wrap
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From the editor
I can’t wait for that Willie Nelson gig. In fact, this newsletter was written with his tunes playing in the background. If you’re looking to plan ahead for a concert, we rounded up some shows gracing our area in 2024.
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