ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Walk past the large building at 215 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg for a glimpse of the city’s foundation.
According to local lore, city co-founders John Williams and Peter Demens devised a simple way of assigning names to the town and its first hotel in 1888. Demens, a Russian aristocrat, won a coin toss and christened the burg after his hometown of St. Petersburg. Williams, a railroad exec, did the same with the Detroit Hotel.
Many a celeb and politician have occupied rooms at the hotel during its heyday. Now a residential condominium, it’s on the National Register of Historic of Places.