Gulf Port

The small town waterfront treasure of Gulfport is tucked in between St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach. It is a place that evokes the welcome of old Florida with yearlong activities and places to visit.

 

Perched on the beautiful shores of Boca Ciega Bay, Gulfport boasts many award winning restaurants and shopping that particularly showcase the work of local artisans. It also has a professional 170 seat theater, a refurbished 1920’s style Casino Ballroom and dockage to bring your boat in for the day or evening to visit, or you can stay at one of the extraordinary lodging establishment’s right in the heart of downtown.

 

 



General Information:
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History of Gulfport:

The town was originally named Disston City in 1884 after Hamilton Disston, a real estate developer who purchased four million acres of Florida land in 1881. Disston hoped Disston City would rival Tampa, but a deal with Russian developer Peter Demens to stretch the Orange Belt Railway rails to the city fell through.

 

Following problems with the United States Postal Service, the town’s name was changed to Bonifacio, and then to Veteran City in 1890, in an attempt to lure Civil War veterans into settling there.

 

Finally, in 1910, the town officially became Gulfport.

 

What Makes Gulfport Special:

Any discussion of Gulfport must begin with the Gulfport Casino, the center of the community’s activities and the anchor of Beach Boulevard.

 

Actually, the present casino happens to be the third incarnation. The first casino was on the second floor of a way station on the far end of a dock built around 1905. It was an open-air pavilion with a dance floor and stage and went by various names, including The Casino and Gulf Casino. The casino, it seems, was used for dancing and community gatherings. An early church group met there. With the completion of a trolley line, the casino attracted area residents to the small fishing village.

 

The hurricane of 1921 wiped out the first casino. A poorly constructed second version, the first to carry the name Gulfport Casino, lasted only a few years.

 

Today’s casino was constructed in 1934 and has undergone many renovations over the years. The casino remains an important component of Gulfport’s economy, hosting dances and shows.

 

By comparison, the Catherine A. Hickman Theater is a newcomer to Gulfport’s cultural scene. With 173 fixed seats and eight wheelchair accessible seats, the theater presents stage productions, recitals, concerts, award ceremonies and film festivals as well as seminars and training sessions.

 

Gulfport boasts a total of eight parks including the Beach Waterfront Complex which is home to the Gulfport Recreation Complex, the Gulfport Casino, the Walter and Bert Williams Fishing Pier, Veterans Memorial Park, a beach area and a children’s playground. Clam Bayou Nature Park is found south of 29th Avenue South on Miriam Street. Home to a variety of species of fiddler crabs, clams and wading birds, visitors may catch a glimpse of a dolphin or manatee in the deeper waters of Boca Ciega Bay. The park features 10 acres of nature preserve, nature trails and boardwalks, observation decks and docks and a canoe and kayak launch.

 


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Gulfport Florida Chamber of Commerce

2808 58 St. S.

PO Box 5212

Gulfport , FL 33707

(727) 344-3711 Fax: (727) 344-5461

gulfport.chamberofcommerce@verizon.net


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