Thursday, March 22, 2012

Famous Green Benches - St. Petersburg, Florida









These vintage postcards show the famous green benches that lined the sidewalks of business streets in St. Petersburg, Florida. The green benches were an ideal place for hanging out. They were considered a prime tourist attraction and a symbol of the city's hospitality. The second and third postcards are from different publishers but have the same text on the back promoting the pleasant experiences provided by the benches:
The Green Benches, St. Petersburg's own, are known all over the country. Here on these benches tourists from all parts of the globe congregate and many, many wonderful hours are spent by the visitors. On the Green Benches daily throughout the winter season, on pleasant days, you will find an acquaintance or friend and may while away many pleasant moments, with memories of the past.

The first of St. Petersburg's sidewalk benches were painted with advertisements for a real estate dealer and placed near his business. In 1916 a city ordinance was passed making all the benches green and of a standard size. Eventually there were more than seven thousand benches providing seating for both residents and tourists. St. Petersburg was known both as the "Sunshine City" and the "City of Green Benches."

By the 1960s St. Petersburg had acquired a reputation as a place for retirees, and the city council wanted a more youthful image. First the benches were painted in pastel colors which were thought to be more youthful. Then an ordinance was passed in 1967 to remove the benches. The last of the benches were removed in 1969. In the last twenty years, however, some benches have returned.

GreenBenches & More sells replicas of the famous green benches that can be shipped ready-to-assemble, anywhere in the world.


For more Vintage Images
Visit Sepia Saturday




18 comments:

  1. how awful that they removed the green benches.
    Although it did occur to me, seeing all those people sitting on the benches, what else is there to do in St. Petersburg. Is this all there is?
    Nancy

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  2. What a shame. They were so bright and friendly and brought people out to the sidewalk, something we have to try hard to do these days. At least they didn't put signs on the benches that said "No one over 50 allowed to sit here."

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  3. That is a shame they removed the benches, I like that they were right in the middle of the action, in front of businesses.

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  4. These green benches were such a good idea. A shame that they were removed, I wonder why? The postcards are very nice, so colourful.

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  5. Who would have thought benches could become a tourist attraction? My great-grandmother went to St. Petersburg every year, but we have only one photo of her there. I must get it out to see if there is a bench in the picture.

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  6. How lovely to have had so many benches in "Sunshine City" - I'm pleased they've replaced some of them :-) I'd love to sit and people watch in the sun!

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  7. Such a fun gathering; dressing up & sitting on a green bench to visit with neighbors & meet new friends.

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  8. St. Petersburg looked like a fun place to visit with the green benches. What a bad decision to remove them since they probably attracted visitors to the downtown area. Wonder if the store owners lost customers when the benches were gone? Just love these postcards - the colors are so vivid!

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  9. These are lovely and bright and the people ‘hanging out’ there look happy and relaxed - just the cue for some kiljoy to come along and spoil everything! In the UK it’s the bus shelters where the old folk sit propped up, especially in seaside places.

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  10. These postcards are priceless. 7000 benches! I enjoyed the cars and the ladies in their pretty dresses walking by the shop windows also

    It is to bad that they removed the benches, glad to here that some are coming back to town.

    Happy Sepia Saturday,

    Kathy M.

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  11. The benches obviously encouraged people to practise going out before hanging out.

    It's just made me realised that it the two largest towns near to us there is nowhere to sit down - other than on a 6" wide sloping metal bench in the bus shelters.

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  12. With 7000 benches it could have been called the city where you can always get a seat. I have never seen benches in rows like that, I wonder whey they removed things so unique. Love the intense colours of the cards,

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  13. These postcards tell of a much friendlier time in our society. Nowadays the businesses want folks to move on.

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  14. At first sight with the way that those benches are placed row upon row it looks like an enormous moving pavement which travels slowly past all the shops and cafes. Now, that would be quite some idea.

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  15. besides how lovely these postcards are (stunning color and detail) they sure do show a time so very different from today. You'd be able to see a cell phone in almost everyone's hands....and far less being friendly with any stranger sitting or walking near you. We do have to rethink how the big companies of the world have turned us into machines ourselves....

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  16. Love those cards!


    Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

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  17. I don't understand why the city would remove these at all. It must have been impressive to see so many...
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  18. Such a strange heritage to remove. Now a bench is a rare thing in most cities and usually poorly made. I've just returned from a weekend in Savannah where I'm glad to say the old benches have been preserved in all the parks.

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