There is a lot of history to our quaint slice if island life. Pass-a-Grille Beach, the southernost of Pinellas County's barrier beaches, was the first beach community of the Gulf of Mexico to develop as a weekend spot for successful Tampa and St Petersburg residents. Originally home to fisherman, homesteaders and lumbermen like Zephaniah Phillips, the island opened up when Roy S. Hanna and Tampa cigar magnate Selwyn Morey started in the 1880's to develop lots for houses and hotels. Prior to that, for thousands of years, Native Americans hunted the prairies and fished the waters. Legend has it the name Pass-a-Grille was a derivation of the French Pass aux Grilleurs; meaning the place where the fisherman would grill their catch when coming in off the water. The turn of the century saw the first hotel and visitors have been enjoying the sun and sand ever since.
Ideally suited for the history buff to perambulate around the island at a leisurely pace or for those wayfarers who like to ride from coast to coast, Pass-a-Grille has a little for everyone, and it is all easy to see.
A great starting point is at the south end of Gulf way by the beach. (For drivers, weekdays are better suited so you can loop around the narrow roads)
Head east on 1st Ave toward Pass-a-Grille Channel- Here you will see how condos and apartments have changed the landscape. On 103 1st Ave there is a two story frame with an old metal stove chimney; an early house.
Turn left on Gulf and pass 2nd Ave-On your left are four early 1920's cottages. On 200 Pass-a-Grille is a fine 2 1/2 story frame structure with a large front porch.
Turn left on 3rd Ave- All the cottages on your left are from before 1925. This includes the Dr Edmund Melville House (1906), 104 3rd Ave, a two story that was removed from the Point to make way for apartments and 110 3rd, was the winter home of Thomas Watson, co-inventor of the telephone.
Turn right on Gulf and then right on 4th Ave- On your left will be the Hotel Castle, one of the older beach buildings and an unusual style of beach colony. On your right is the First School House (1912), 105 4th Ave, previously a one room school, now a residence. Across from this lived William Straub, editor of the St Petersburg Times.
Turn left on Pass-a-Grille-The next four houses to the left are fine representation of older homes.
Turn left on 5th Ave-Here old cottages line both sides. The first house on yyour left is the Captain Random Miles House, built in 1900, one of the oldest, with a beautiful fluted chimney.
Turn right on Pass-a-Grille and left on 6th-This entire blocks is largely cottages, and the last house on the left stands where Zephaniah Phillips put his saw mill in 1884.
Turn left on Pass-a-Grille and left on 7th-First you will see the Amelia Williams House, then at 608 Pass-a-Grille is the house of Zephaniah Phillips. On the right is theK OUtlands house, home a noted poet, the 'Cat Woman'. Here and at 702 were located the Old Spanish Fishing Ranchos in the 1880's.
Turn right on Gulf Way and right on 8th Ave- Welcome to downtown Pass-a-Grille! On your right is M.T. Bellies Restaurant that as once the 1896 cottage of Sceptor Patrick. The two story building with their opened or enclosed second floor porches give downtown a bit of a frontier look except at 111 8th, where a tiny pink storefront advertises 'psychotherapy'. Just a block awayis the Hurricane Restaurant where you can stop for a bit of libation or a bite of grouper.
107 8th Ave houses the Merry Pier where you can rent bikes or poles, or purchase the freshest fish around.
Turn Left on Pass-a-Grille and left on 9th (this is a one way)-
On your right is Pass-a-Grille Park. To your left at 808 PAG is the Judge L.S. Schwerdtfeber house (also known as Jewett Villa), a large house with three dormers. The Paradise Grille is also a super spot to grab a bite to eat or something to drink. (pictured to the right)
Turn right on Gulf Way and right on 10th Ave- Here you will find the Pass-a-Grille Community Church, now a lovely museum where in you can see the even more history of the area. (pictured below)
103 10th is the E.C. Kittright House, one of the islands oldest and moved from downtown. At the end of the block is another fine old house. The art gallery on the back side was the studio of noted artist, Ralph McKey.
Turn left on Pass-a-Grille past the 1910 Mac Granger House and turn left on 11th Ave-At 109
11th Ave is the interesting Charles Beinhert Cottage(1921) often called the 'Staten Island Cottage'.
Other places of historical significance include: 113th 12th St the Vashti Barlette Cottage(1918) as well as 1202 PAG Way, the Harold McPherson House.