Saint Petersburg was founded by John C. Williams from Detroit, Michigan, who purchased the land in 1876. The town began with the help of Peter Demens, who was instrumental in bringing a railroad connection there in 1888. Saint Petersburg was named after the Saint Petersburg in Russia, the birthplace of Peter Demens. A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city. Peter Demens won and named the city after his birthplace, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit. The Detroit Hotel still exists downtown, but it was converted into condos in 2002.With water on three sides of the city, St. Pete is a superb location for fishing, sailing, and wandering beaches.
The city publishes the free “Downtown St.Petersburg Guide & Map” booklet, updated each season, that contains maps, trolley routes, and listings for hundreds of museums, events, restaurants, & hotels along with coupons. You can find the guide in dispensers throughout downtown and in many businesses.
- Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is served mostly by budget airlines and used for private aviation. It is a hub for Allegient Air which flies to about two dozen small airports throughout the Midwest & Northeast. Air Transat to Halifax & Toronto (both seasonal); Sunwing Airlines to Toronto; Vision Air to Gulfport-Biloxi.
- Tampa International Airport has a much wider selection of airlines and more frequent arrivals and departures and is just 10mi (16km) across the bay. TIA can be reached by taking I-275 across the Howard Frankland bridge and taking the first exit, State Road 60/Veterans Expwy, north.
- Albert Whitted Airport is on the southeastern edge of downtown and extends into the bay. It is used for general aviation and features in the annual Honda Grand Prix during which the runway and taxiways are part of the course.
- Amtrak offers service via Tampa’s Union Station with connecting thruway bus service. Amtrak’s ticket office for St. Petersburg is located at 5251 110 Av N in Pinellas Park, in the Pinellas Park Square Shopping Center (Corner of US 19 and 110 Av N).
The primary route in and out of the city is Interstate 275. I-275 runs north to Tampa and connects with Interstate 4 (Orlando, East Coast) and Interstate 75. I-275 runs south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to Bradenton and connects with Interstate 75 heading south to Sarasota, Ft.Meyers, Naples, and South Florida.