Gulfport Florida

FEATURED LISTING: Florida ::: Gulfport

Gulfport in Pinellas County is like a blast from the past. Little has changed architecturally from the early days of the last century. A walk down the beautiful tree lined Beach Boulevard will give you a magnificent view of the magnificent old buildings that were so much a part of Florida’s charm a hundred years ago. Gulfport is known as the Gateway to the Gulf as it leads to the Gulf of Mexico. It is adjacent to the southwest end of the City of St. Petersburg and faces Boca Ciega Bay.

The city has had many names. In 1884, its name was Disston City, after its original settler who anticipated that the railroad would pass there. Mr. Disston built the Waldorf Hotel on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay as well as a dock, three stores and some houses. Unfortunately, for him, the railroad went to St. Petersburg and Disston did not grow. The name was changed to Bonafacio by the postal authorities. In 1890 there was another attempt made to revive the community. This time it was named Veteran City in the hope that Civil War veterans would settle here. A trolley line connected it to St Petersburg and a pier was extended into Boca Ciega Bay in1905.

The trolley line, dock, and a way station cum dance hall and "spa" put the city on the map. It prospered and was incorporated in1910 as Gulfport. The way station building with its open-air pavilion on the second floor with a dance floor and a stage was also called The Casino or the Gulf Casino. It was the heart and hub of Gulfport and was much more than a dance hall. It was an important meeting place and the founding fathers gathered there to decide about incorporating Gulfport. The First United Methodist Church, also initially met there. It was unfortunately destroyed in a hurricane in 1920.

The casino was rebuilt twice and the present structure stands on the shoreline. It is considered to be a local historical landmark by The Historic Preservation Committee, along with the Gulfport Historical Museum building and The Cedars/Bayview Hotel. The new Casino is an intrinsic part of the social fabric of Gulfport and used for political events, wedding receptions dance lessons etc. It has been altered and expanded through the years and a new band shell added.

Another landmark of Gulfport is the modern Catherine A. Hickman Theater with superb acoustics, comfortable seats, and an intimate ambience. It is a popular venue for theater, cultural events, music, and even business meets. Gulfport has a couple of lovely Bed and Breakfasts and outstanding restaurants. La Cote Basque serves excellent food at very reasonable prices. It is very popular with the locals as well. Another popular eatery is the Backfin Blue. Do not miss a walk along the new pier at sunrise and sunset. The view is spectacular and on a lucky day, you may even catch sight of dolphins playing in the bay.

Florida Cities and Towns