Alexander Hotel
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
N 27° 46.269 W 082° 38.461
17R E 338298 N 3072931
Quick Description: Designed by Neel Reid in 1919.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 5/17/2007 3:08:07 PM
Waymark Code: WM1J7Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member deano1943
Views: 28

Long Description:
Built in 1919 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Alexander Hotel is significant for its association with the changing character of the hotel and lodging industry in St. Petersburg. During the second decade of the twentieth century, lodging in the city evolved from small scale, mainly frame boarding houses and hotels built before the World War I era to the large, masonry hotels built in the boom years from 1921 to 1926. Hotels built in St. Petersburg before 1920 were small, with usually less than 50 rooms, and entirely financed by their owner-operators. The first hotels built after the war in St. Petersburg -- the Alexander, Ponce de Leon and the Cordova, the latter two built in 1921 -- showed a change to masonry construction and architectural sophistication but remained small in size. This shift in hotel type was a reflection of the growing wealth of the American economy in this period and the increased popularity of Florida as a winter tourist destination.
One of only two buildings in St. Petersburg designed by Neel Reid, the Alexander is also significant for its association with Neoclassical Revival architecture as signified by its three bay, symmetrical facade with a three-tiered veranda, the roofs for which are supported by paired Tuscan columns. The pergola spanning the space between the east and west wings also is supported by Tuscan columns. Flanked by two common storefront units is the formal Palladian entryway, replete with four pilasters breaking the entry into three parts, each capped with a fanlight. Surmounting the doorway is a broken pediment with an entablature that caps the three bays and unifies the Palladian entry.

Robert Lee Ely and Jacob Alexander were responsible for the development of the hotel. Ely was the owner of Bob’s Cafeteria, established in 1915 and reputed to be the first cafeteria style restaurant in St. Petersburg. Alexander, a native North Carolinian where he served in the state house of representatives (1898-1900) and senate (1915 to 1917), began acquiring property in St. Petersburg soon after arriving. Not only did Alexander finance the construction of the hotel (which he turned over to Ely on a ten year lease) he also founded the Alexander National Bank in St. Petersburg in 1924 at the southwest corner of 4th Street and Central Avenue. (The bank was designed by Neel Reid, who was also responsible for the Alexander Hotel.) Alexander died in 1925 and the bank bearing his name was absorbed by the First National Bank of St. Petersburg in 1927.
Street address:
535 Central Ave
St Petersburg, FL usa

County / Borough / Parish: Pinellas

Year listed: 1984

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Domestic: Hotel

Current function: Vacant?

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Keldar5 visited Alexander Hotel 10/17/2009 Keldar5 visited it
debbado visited Alexander Hotel 11/9/2008 debbado visited it
ChapterhouseInc visited Alexander Hotel 5/17/2007 ChapterhouseInc visited it

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