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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our ninth calendar year
    PCR #438  (Vol. 9, No. 33)  This edition is for the week of August 11--17, 2008.

The Tampa Film Review for August  by Nolan Canova and Chris Woods
LA FLORIDIANA
Let's Stroll Historic Roser Park! The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part 9  by William Moriaty
MOVIE REVIEW
"Tropic Thunder"  by Mike Smith
RETRORAMA
Kiddie Matinee Memories – Part 2  by ED Tucker
FILMLOOK
The Man Behind the Curtain at the Tampa Theatre  by Paul Guzzo
FILM BIZ 101
Who Does What?  by Corey Castellano
ODDSERVATIONS
VHS Grindhouse: "She-Gods of Shark Reef" (1958) by Andy Lalino
SPORTS TALK
Michael Phelps On Your Wheaties .... John Lynch Joins Patriots .... Rays Getting Stung .... Tampa Little League .... TJ Whosayourmama  by Chris Munger
MIKE'S RANT
This Week's PCR .... Viva Las Vegas .... Sign #3 That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us .... I Spy .... Enjoy Your Time .... Passing On .... Wow! .... And The Oscar For 1980 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
LETTERS
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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Let's Stroll Historic Roser Park!
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part 9

The Fig Newton Connection
St. Petersburg's Historic Roser Park Neighborhood was born in 1911 when "cookie magnate" Charles M. Roser developed the then up-scale community. Roser had relocated to St. Petersburg from Ohio after presumably having made millions selling his Fig Newton Cookies to the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). As a result, one of Florida's most well planned, most attractive and highly photographed communities came to be known as the "Neighborhood a Cookie Built".

Bordered by 4th Street South to the east, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. South (9th Street) to the west, Booker Creek on the north and Ingleside Drive on the south, Historic Roser Park has winding red brick streets that plummet precipitously down a slope leading to Booker Creek evoking an almost San Francisco feel flanked with lush tropical vegetation. The houses here represent an incredibly diverse mix of styles, ranging from Colonial Revival, to bungalow to Prairie Style, to Tudor and to Meditteranean Revival.

In addition to a topography unique to West Central Florida, the primary focus of the Historic Roser Park Neighborhood is Booker Creek (http://www.pinellas.wateratlas.usf.edu/wse/Watershed.aspx?Wshedid=10), a ten mile long freshwater creek system that starts life at Lake Booker Park south of 13th Avenue North and north of 9th Avenue North next to the Ed White Hospital where meanders its way southeastward through a series of ditches and culverts and passes immediately next to Tropicana Stadium before inevitably emptying in to Bayboro Harbor.

In addition to the focal charm of the creek are the Augusta brick streets, hex block sidewalks and rusticated block retaining walls used to keep terraced properties from sliding into the creek. Tall majestic Royal Palms (Roystonea elata) and rambling old Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana) lining Booker Creek add to the neighborhood's character along with massive fig and Banyan trees (Ficus spp.), Royal Poinciana's (Delonix regia) and a host of other introduced tropical trees dating back close to 100 years.

St. Petersburg's First Historic District
In 1987, the City of St. Petersburg to be granted Roser Park as its first historic district. It's adjacent neighbors include the Salvador Dali Museum, Great Explorations - The Childrens Museum, Bayfront Medical Center, the University of South Florida Bayboro Campus, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the Harborage Marina at Bayboro, the Ronald McDonald House, the Historic Greenwood Cemetery, the General Williams Home, St. Mary's Catholic Church, the Studebaker Building, and the Old Florida Power Plant on Third Street amongst others.

Steering Lost Beauty and Lost History Back to Prominence
Much as it took vision, guts and hard work to bring Miami's South Beach back to its former glory by people such as Barbara Capitman and Leonard Horowitz, such has been a similar calling for St. Petersburg native and Historic Roser Park resident Kai Warren who was gracious enough to give a wonderful walking tour through this mid town gem of St. Petersburg to interested parties from the north (Grant Rimbey, an architect from Temple Terrace), the south (Gerry Lembke, a Pinellas Point historian and Barbara Hawkins, a Pinellas Point activist and a true community treasure) the east (yours truly from Plant City) and the west (native Florida plant enthusiasts Ray Wunderlich III and his wife Jennifer)!

More of Kai's story and his tour will conclude in next week's La Floridiana!

The ten-mile long Booker Creek is shown here in a portion culverted beneath the land in Historic Roser Park. In the background is the Bayfront Medical Center complex.Shown here is a beautifully restored bungalow style house with an original hex block sidewalk in front.
The majority of Booker Creek is channelized, as seen in this photo, in order to expedite the flow of storm water into Bayboro Harbor. Notice how the land to the left (south) begins to rise rapidly.Close-up of one of the majestic Royal Palms (Roystonea elata) that line the north side of Booker Creek in Historic Roser Park.
The line of Royal Palms along Booker Creek.A wooden footbridge crossing Booker Creek.
A bungalow house overlooking a bluff south of Booker Creek. Notice the rusticated block retaining wall rising from the street level up to the grade of the house's yard.The severe degree of slope that many of the houses were built on to or in to at Historic Roser Park becomes more apparent in this photograph.


"La Floridiana" is ©2008 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.