You are a terrific historian -- a sense of humor, too, which is a rarity -- and I've much enjoyed reading your posts.
New York Times best-selling author Randy Wayne White
|Steve of the Jungle with Randy Wayne White December 6th at Doc Ford's soft opening.|
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Just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying reading your blog posts! I … have discovered a number of things about St. Pete history that I never knew! I've been conducting tours of St. Pete for almost 20 years…
Just wanted to let you know you have a fan!
local historian Monica Kile
|1926 colorized photo at Park Street and Elbow Lane, facing south.|
The Jungle Country Club
St. Petersburg, Florida, 1916-1944
The Jungle Country Club was a historic golf course and hotel located in the Jungle section of St. Petersburg, Florida. The golf course opened in 1916 and is notable for being Babe Ruth's favorite winter course ‒ he played well over 100 rounds here. Ruth was one of the most popular golfers of the Roaring Twenties. He made the Jungle golf course famous by coming here every winter. Anyone in America who read a newspaper or went to the movies knew of the Jungle Country Club. The golf course property and hotel are in the Azalea neighborhood. The hotel is listed on the St. Petersburg Register of Historic Places and is now Admiral Farragut Academy.
Sign Dedication Ceremony, August 13th
For full coverage click here.
THIS JUST IN... 1934 Scorecard
|The foursome includes Babe Ruth and Jungle golf pro John Buchanan|
Online Flipbook: Jungle History and the Creek on Farragut Drive
|Keystone Stereograph - Library of Congress|
All the charms and delights of Florida
"In the rambling Spanish building with its flower filled patio, through the tropical gardens, on the 18-hole golf course, on the tennis courts, along the bridle paths, on the nearby Gulf beaches and on the adjoining waters of Boca Ciega Bay are gathered all the charms and delights of Florida."
‒ 1928 Jungle Hotel advertisement.
"The next time-honored step in the Ruth ritual was the trip to Florida and his birthday party. His friends set up a huge square table in the patio of the Jungle Club Hotel, arranged to resemble a baseball diamond with flowers for baselines and bases. A mammoth birthday cake, in the shape of a baseball, occupied the center. Twenty-eight guests sat around the table, with the Ruths in the place of honor at "home plate." [Yankee owner Jacob] Ruppert came down a few days later and, following a long tradition, sat with the Babe at a table on the sunny lawn of the Jungle Club with dozens of reporters and photographers gathered round for the contract signing."
‒ Kal Wagenheim, Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend
|1931: Babe Ruth with wife Claire in front of the Jungle Hotel|
|A Jungle Country Club trophy won by Babe Ruth is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown ‒ and the trophy is sponsored by this blog, The Jungle Country Club History Project|
Completing St. Petersburg's Vigorous Growth
"St. Petersburg has needed a golf course more than any one thing to complete its wonderful vigorous growth."
‒ A.W. Tillinghast, Jungle Country Club course architect, 1915
A professional golfer who grew up in the Jungle and played on the Pasadena course had this to say about Tillinghast:
"While I knew there had been a golf course located behind the Farragut Academy, I had NO idea it was a Tillinghast golf course! That was a stunning revelation for me. If you are a golfer you know that Tilly is one of the most revered course architects of all time. It's sad that economic conditions led to its [the Jungle golf course's] demise. Had it survived it would most certainly have been the premier country club in the city."
⭐ View Post: Jungle Golf Course Architect A.W. Tillinghast Designed Iconic Courses Baltusrol, Winged Foot and Bethpage Black
One of St. Petersburg's Best Assets
|-- January 16, 1916|
Finest Course South of Baltimore
|-- June 27, 1915|
Attracting Golfers from All Over the United States
|-- March 28, 1915|
The Celebrated Jungle Club
"[Sammy] Byrd had first tasted fame as a member of the Yankees...Byrd was an adequate hitter but a marvelous golfer, as his teammates discovered in 1929 at his first spring training. It was there that Byrd mustered the courage to ask veterans Tony Lazzeri, Mark Koenig, and Mike Gazella if he could join them for a round of golf at the celebrated Jungle Club in St. Petersburg"
‒ Tom Stanton, Ty and the Babe: A Surprising Friendship
Land of Enchantment
"The Jungle, sub-tropical forest — a land of enchantment overlooking Boca Ciega Bay."
‒ Where to Go and What to See In and Around the Sunshine City.
The Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida, November 24, 1920
Hall of Fame Golfers
|Hall of Fame golfer Gene Sarazen, one of many professional golfers who played the Jungle course|
|Walter Hagen, the greatest professional golfer of the era, holds the Jungle course record of 64.|
1930 - Final Round, St. Petersburg Open, a PGA event
1941 - Baseball Players Golf Tournament
Jungle Country Club Prominent Guests
"Prominent among the baseball notables who were gathered at the annual dinner given by Al Lang at the Jungle Country Club Sunday were Kenesaw Mountain Landis, high commissioner of baseball, who journeyed here from Bellair. Charles Ebbets, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers came here for the day from Clearwater where Wilbert Robinson's proteges are training. Clark Griffith, president of the Washington Senators was a visitor from Tampa."
‒ St. Petersburg Times, Mar 16, 1925
Luminaries, Celebrities and Notables Have Played Here
Hall of Fame golfers Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen, Hall of Fame baseball players Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, Yankee manager Miller Huggins, St. Petersburg mayor Al Lang, H. Walter Fuller, Walter P. Fuller, baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, football coach Pop Warner, defense attorney Clarence Darrow, golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast, cartoonist Billy DeBeck, sportswriter Grantland Rice and many others.
The Gangplank's terrace overlooked the Jungle Pier and Boca Ciega Bay ‒ sophisticates danced in the open air to the syncopated jazz sounds of RCA recording artists Earl Gresh and the Gangplank Orchestra. Prohibition was the law, but there was no shortage of bootleg liquor which arrived by land (stashed in a nearby house), sea (the Jungle Pier), and air (Fuller Flying Field).
SS Monte Carlo was the Most Elaborately Equipped Gambling House in the World
⭐ View Post: Al Capone's Offshore Casino (Rare 1931 Video)
1926: St. Petersburg's First Airport - Fuller Flying Field
Charles Lindbergh had not yet crossed the Atlantic when Fuller Flying Field was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1926. It was St. Petersburg's first airport and the third in Florida. Built to promote Walter P. Fuller's real estate and tourism ventures, Fuller would later call it “the best bootlegging point in America.”
Live from the Jungle Hotel, It's St. Petersburg's First Radio Station
"For a time, the [Jungle] hotel even had its own radio station, WSUN, which delighted patrons with lobby-side broadcasts." – Raymond Arsenault, St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream 1888-1950.
The Legendary Orange Blossom Special Passed Through the Jungle on Its West Coast Run
The Orange Blossom Special traveled through the Jungle on the Seaboard Air Line rail tracks that are now paved and part of the Pinellas Trail, a 38.2 mile urban pathway.
Mobsters From Al Capone's Chicago Outfit Were Guests at the Jungle Hotel
Members of Al Capone's mob were guests at the Jungle Hotel in 1926 while attempting to set up a gambling operation outside the three mile limit in the Gulf of Mexico.
|The Chicago Outfit. Al Capone center, Johnny "The Fox" Torrio right.|
In the late 1920's, a family of ring-tailed lemurs escaped from Monkey Island on the golf course in Pasadena and migrated three miles north to the Jungle where they lived happily for several years.
Addison Mizner's Casa Coe da Sol
World famous architect Addison Mizner is best known for introducing the Mediterranean Revival style to Florida. Most of his buildings are in Palm Beach, Florida ‒ Casa Coe da Sol at 510 Park Street North is his only structure on the West Coast of Florida. Until Mizner began designing homes in Palm Beach, there was no distinct architectural style in Florida. Today, Mediterranean Revival architecture is seen throughout the state, including many structures in St. Petersburg such as The Jungle Hotel and Jungle Prada building in our neighborhood.
Jungle Fountain of Youth - The Dixie Well
The west coast Fountain of Youth was located near the trolley line on Park Street, between Par Avenue and Bogie Avenue. To promote trolley ridership in 1917, the St. Petersburg & Gulf Railway Company advertised the water as a healthful tonic: "tones the system, aids in digestion, promotes snap and vigor. Take the Jungle Car and help yourself."
The Jungle Car
⭐ View Post: The Jungle Line, Historic Photo
The St. Petersburg and Gulf Railway Company was founded in 1901 by F.A. Davis. He put H. Walter Fuller in charge of the company in 1909. Under Fuller's leadership, the system expanded its routes and by 1913 service was extended to the Jungle where Fuller was selling properties. The streetcar system continued operations in St. Petersburg until May 7, 1949.
The Tocobaga People Lived Responsibly and Cared for the Jungle Neighborhood
⭐ View Post: The First Neighborhood: The Tocobaga People Lived Responsibly and Cared for the Jungle Neighborhood for Over 600 Years
There was a Tocobaga village center on Boca Ciega Bay in the Jungle near 1620 Park Street North, St. Petersburg. A plaza, burial mounds, and a midden (a mound of discarded sea shells, animal bones and pottery fragments) are found there. Numerous artifacts have been discovered and still more lie beneath the surface. The site is on private property and, unlike other mounds in St. Petersburg, it has remained relatively undisturbed. Guided tours are available: for more information, visit discoverfloridatours.com.
1943 Army Air Forces Encampment
In 1943, the Jungle golf course was transformed into Tent City where 10,000 army recruits received basic training for World War II.
Pánfilo de Narváez Landing Site
Pánfilo de Narváez and a crew of 300 European explorers came ashore at the Jungle Prada site in 1528. Four members of the Narváez expedition traveled west across North America to become the first Europeans to explore the continent's interior.
Stephen Stills Learned to Play Guitar at Admiral Farragut Academy
Stephen Stills is considered one of the greatest rock and roll artists of all time. His name is recognized throughout the world. He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (twice) and has sold over 35 million albums.
For a time, Crosby, Stills and Nash was the most popular rock group in the world and they were called the "American Beatles." According to Wikipedia, Crosby, Stills and Nash were "noted for their intricate vocal harmonies ... and lasting influence on American music and culture."
⭐ View Post: Stephen Stills Learned to Play the Guitar at Admiral Farragut Academy, Made a Lasting Influence on American Music and Culture
Peacocks in the Jungle
In 1953, the Rothman family (who started Kane's Furniture) received a package in the mail at their home on Park Street near the Jungle Prada Site. The package contained a peacock and peahen who they named Gertrude and Heathcliff after the seagull characters on The Red Skelton Show. Over the years, the family (technically, the muster of peafowl) has grown to around fifty and peacock crossing signs have been put up on Park Street to protect them.
The Jungle Country Club's New Superstars
In 1944, the Jungle Country Club Hotel was sold to Admiral Farragut Academy.Two of the twelve men who have walked on the moon are graduates of Admiral Farragut Academy.
Pictured: Alan Shepard (the first American in space), the moon rock display at Admiral Farragut Academy (the building was formerly the Jungle Country Club Hotel) and Charles Duke. Both graduates have walked on the moon. Only two locations in Florida have a moon rock on display ‒ Kennedy Space Center and Admiral Farragut Academy.