St. Pete Beach and Historical Museum Host Twin Birthdays


The building that houses the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum was built in 1917. It was a church until 1959 when a new church was built. The building was sold to Joan Haley, who used it as her home until her death in 1989, when she left it to Pinellas County to be used as an island museum. The museum opened in March of 1993. Photo courtesy of Gulf Beaches Historical Museum.

The city of St. Pete Beach and the Friends of the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum are co-sponsoring a celebration this year to commemorate the city’s 60th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the museum building. The celebration will include a series of events that will run throughout 2017. The city’s festivities began on January 8 with a tribute to Elvis and a 1950’s sock hop featuring refreshments and music by Two Dog Night at the St. Pete Beach Community Center.

“We are going through the decades of the 60 years, starting with the 1950s,” says Jennifer McMahon, St. Pete Beach recreation director. “What we want to do instead of creating new events was to tap into our existing yearly events and enhance them.”

St. Pete Beach businesses are joining in with a unique offer: a t-shirt that serves as a coupon, with logos of participating businesses and the specials they offer, such as free appetizers and food and drink specials.

“Sixteen businesses are participating, and those who purchase the shirts can get a discount if they wear the shirt on the second Friday of the month,” says McMahon. “The t-shirts can be purchased at any city facility.”

The big event celebrating the museum will be the annual Island Festival on March 4, an all-day event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to Sally Yoder, collections coordinator for the Friends of the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, there will be a raffle every 20 minutes, a car show and historic walks conducted by museum volunteers. To make room for vendors, the streets at 9th and 10th streets will be closed off. The festival will include a rededication of the building at noon.

“We are working very closely with Jennifer McMahon. It is a big help that the city of St. Pete Beach is helping out financially,” says Yoder. “We are very grateful for that.”

The Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, located at 115 10th Ave. S. in the national historic district of Pass-A-Grille, highlights life as it was in the early development of the South Pinellas beach communities and the legacies of the island’s colorful heritage.


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