From SPP prez Will Michaels: I am pleased to report the Community Preservation Commission on April 17 approved the landmarking of St. Peter’s Cathedral and certification of transferable development rights for both St. Peter’s and the adjacent First Baptist Church property. I was present at the hearing and spoke on behalf of Saint Petersburg Preservation in support of the landmarking.
SPP has been trying for years to obtain the landmarking of St. Peter’s, one of the oldest and most significant remaining historic properties in the city. This rare example of gothic architecture was built in 1899. Its landmarking will make it the second oldest local landmark in the city (the 10th St. Church of God predates it by a year). Edwin Tomlinson, perhaps our city’s greatest benefactor (Fountain of Youth, Domestic Science and Manual Training School, first Open Air Post Office, Manual Training Annex, Washington Birthday Parades, etc.) donated the land upon which St. Peter’s was built. Many founding families supported and attended the church over its history. It has served as both an important spiritual and social center for the city. It contains many noteworthy stained glass windows, including some created by WPA artist George Snow Hill. During World War II it served as an important support center for military personnel who were housed in the downtown area. It received Cathedral designation in 1968, and has served as the seat of the Episcopal Diocese since. More recently it has taken a lead role in ministering to the homeless in the downtown area. The Cathedral building adds grace to our city, the downtown, and our town square Williams Park. And it is the center piece and oldest structure of the 13 historic properties lining the 4th St. Corridor starting with the Historic Pennsylvania Hotel on the north and ending with the Tramor Cafeteria on the south.
I congratulated the Cathedral on making this decision to landmark St. Peter’s, and thanked them for the honor of being asked to write the landmark application.
Please note the Community Preservation Commission approval will need to be ratified by the City Council.
Additionally, SPP purchased one square foot of the certified development rights from St. Peter’s. By taking this action the Cathedral, and any successors, will not be able to develop the property further beyond its present size. This action is also historic as it will be the first development right unit to be purchased and to be transferred under the new Land Development Regulations historic preservation transfer of development rights program after pending approval.