Crescent Lake lies at the center of this beautiful neighborhood, surrounded by a manicured 56-acre public park. East of the lake is the “Great Banyan Tree”, a living “jungle gym” for generations of our children. It is featured on the neighborhood logo. To the south is Huggins-Stengel Field, once Spring Training home for the New York Yankees and now serving the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Further south still is the neighborhood’s most visible landmark, a 1923 water tower, recently repainted as a giant salt water aquarium by local muralist, Tom Stovall.
East and west of the park, residential streets, some with brick paving and hex-block sidewalks, slumber beneath stately trees. Nearly every street has a view of the lake. Beyond the residential sections lie busy 4th and 9th (Dr. M. L. King) Streets North. New businesses along these streets are rapidly transforming our area into an antique shopper’s Mecca.
The Crescent Lake Neighborhood is located one mile north of St.Petersburg’s central business district and is a short drive from shopping, restaurants, medical facilities, waterfront parks and the interstate.
The architecture of Crescent Lake is an eclectic mix of early and mid-twentieth century styles. Early styles include Foursquare, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco and Tudor. Eighth Street has a particularly fine collection of 1920s Tudor houses. Later styles include Minimal Traditional, Postwar and Ranch. Along the lake are some early Ranch-type houses dating from the late 1930s.
The buildings are diverse in form as well as style. The housing stock includes single-family homes, garage apartments and small multi-family structures. Businesses along 9th Street occupy large converted dwellings, helping this busy street retain the air of the grand residential boulevard that it once was.
A cypress dugout canoe dredged from Crescent Lake in 1924, provided evidence of a Native American presence in the neighborhood. The canoe, now in the Museum of History, is thought to date from about 1800.
In the 1870s and 1880s, settlers of European origin arrived and put the land to agricultural use, chiefly citrus groves. This way of life did not last long. With the completion of a streetcar line out 9th Street to 34th Avenue in 1914, the groves became valuable suburban property and subdividing began.
The opening of Crescent Lake Park in 1927, heightened the neighborhood’s appeal. The park was the brainchild of master developer Perry Snell, who acquired and held the necessary parcels until the city was able to buy them. Shortly after the park opened, the city built a ballfield for the New York Yankees at the south end, ensuring that national sports figures like Babe Ruth, Lou Gerhig and Joe DiMaggio would join a long list of local business and civic leaders who have been our neighbors.
The neighborhood acquired its final form just before World War II, when palm-lined drives went in alongside the lake. The building boom that gripped St. Petersburg and the nation immediately following that war quickly filled all remaining lots.
Because of its natural beauty, the neighborhood has remained popular. Renewed strength in the current decade, evidenced by the growth of the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association and the adoption of the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Plan, has led to greater visibility for the neighborhood, higher property values, restoration of aging structures, and a higher standard of maintenance. The future looks bright.
Info via Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association
If you would like to learn more about the Crescent Lake neighborhood, please give us a call… we’d love to present it to your first hand. 727-895-6200