Sand Dollar Restaurant – St. Petersburg, Florida

Cardboard America

FL, St. Petersburg - Sand Dollar Restaurant

Located at 2401 34th St., South in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Sand Dollar Restaurant featured dining, dancing, a rotating Merry-Go-Round lounge and a dining room in a garden setting called The Garden Room that seated 250 people.

The Sand Dollar opened on April 2, 1962. Restaurateur John Dahlberg envisioned a  restaurant that would emphasize moderately-priced family dinner in a modern setting.

Tampa Bay Times, 04 Apr 1962, Wed, Main Edition, Page 48

Tampa Bay Times – April 4, 1962

The round building, meant to resemble a sand dollar, featured numerous big windows that brought a natural light to the restaurant. Wood paneling, then a very a modern addition, lined the walls.

Tampa Bay Times, 24 Jun 1962, Sun, Main Edition, Page 51

Tampa Bay Times – June 24, 1962

A mural depicting an Asian scene by artist Joseph Lefer adorned the round-wall revolving cocktail bar. Piano music from local musician Wanda Poteat filled the restaurant nightly (except on Sundays).

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The restaurant was a big success. There were three different menus for patrons to enjoy. The luncheon menu was served from 11:30am-3:00pm; dinner menu from 3:00-9:30pm; the night owl menu from 9:30am-2:00pm. On Mondays a 20% discount was offered on drinks in the lounge.

Tampa Bay Times, 20 May 1964, Wed, Main Edition, Page 49

Tampa Bay Times – May 20, 1964

The Sand Dollar was voted the 1962 Restaurant of the Year for St. Petersburg and also received the Coffee Brewing Institute’s “Golden Cup” award. The restaurant hosted hundreds of groups and civic events. In 1964, a 220-pound cake in the shape of the building was made for the two-year anniversary of the opening of the restaurant.

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Business boomed throughout the 1960s.  The Garden Room was expanded to seat 300. A nautically-inspired dining room called The Galleon Room was added and served an expanded seafood menu.

Tampa Bay Times, 17 Dec 1967, Sun, Main Edition, Page 157

Tampa Bay Times = December 17, 1967

Upholstered dark green banquettes (booths) were added in 1967 for group seating in a more intimate atmosphere.

Tampa Bay Times, 01 Apr 1972, Sat, Main Edition, Page 9

Tampa Bay Times – April 1, 1972

In April 1972, the restaurant celebrated their 10th anniversary the very same way they celebrated their second, with a gigantic birthday cake in the shape of the building. John Dahlberg was ecstatic with the restaurant’s success, but plans would soon be in the works to expand his empire.

Tampa Bay Times, 02 Jul 1973, Mon, Main Edition, Page 34

Tampa Bay Times – July 2, 1973

A second Sand Dollar location was announced in July 1973. This location would be in Jupiter, Florida and would employ more than 100 people in a 14,000 square foot, 400-seat building. The East Coast Sand Dollar opened in January of 1974 on U.S. #1 and Indiantown Road. A $30,000 expansion was announced for the St. Petersburg location. A dance floor, larger bandstands and expanded seating in the Merry-Go-Round Lounge were added. Construction was completed in December, 1975. The addition, of course, was in the shape of a circle. Everything was looking up. Then tragedy struck.

Tampa Bay Times, 19 Jun 1977, Sun, Main Edition, Page 41

Tampa Bay Times – June 19, 1977

On June 18, 1977, 48-year-old John V. Dahlberg, Jr., founder and creator of The Sand Dollar restaurants died after battling an undisclosed illness. Shortly thereafter, Affiliated Property Management Inc. of Tampa took over operations of both restaurants without missing much of a beat. Throughout the remainder of the 1970s and in to the early 1980s, both locations survived an economic downtown and changing tastes with moderately-priced food and dazzling entertainment. But Affiliated Property management was looking to get out. The majority stake in the restaurants were sold in 1982 to Tim Christopolous, a local businessman.

Christopolous was in over his head from the beginning. The Jupiter located was closed almost immediately and was replaced by a restaurant called Cahoots. The St. Petersburg location became a major problem. In May 1985, the IRS placed a $90,143 tax lien on Christopolous for failure to pay taxes from 1982-1984. The restaurant was closed immediately. Florida state senator Mary Grizzle, who had owned a least of part of the restaurant since it originally opened, ended up with control of the building. She could not find a buyer in the now not-as-pleasant part of town and the restaurant and the building sat empty for years. However, she did not pay property taxes on the abandoned building and, in 1992, it was determined she owed $11,724 in past taxes. Grizzle disputed the debts and had the building re-appraised. It appears that she did not settle things entirely.

Tampa Bay Times, 28 Apr 1995, Fri, Other Editions, Page 49

Tampa Bay Times – April 28, 1995

A lien was placed on the property for failure to pay taxes and the City of St. Petersburg took over the rapidly deteriorating building on May 8, 1995. The city didn’t own it for long.

Tampa Bay Times, 27 Dec 1995, Wed, Main Edition, Page 61

Tampa Bay Times – December 27, 1995

The day after Christmas, 1995 an early morning fire completely destroyed the building. The flames were so intense that it took 13 vehicles from five different fire station to control the blaze. The fire was believed to have been started by an arsonist as there was no electricity in the abandoned structure. No one was ever charged with starting the fire.The now burned building sat idle for more than a year until it was raised on March 23, 1997 to make room for a senior-living facility.However, that project fell though after the church that planned on building the care center did not met construction deadlines after the city provided a $300,000 loan to the church. The whole thing was a mess. Nothing ever got built on the property and an empty lot is all that remains. It’s an ignominious end to a once thriving staple of St. Petersburg social and night life.

Tampa Bay Times, 25 Nov 1963, Mon, Main Edition, Page 46

The advertisement that ran in the Tampa Bay Times on November 25, 1963, the day of John F. Kennedy’s funeral

Moock’s Tavern – St. Petersburg, Florida

Cardboard America

Moock’s Tavern, opened in 1946 by Erven and Gertrude Moock, was once THE place for locals and major league baseball players in town for Spring Training, to eat and be seen.

Located at 709 16th St. N in St. Petersburg, Florida, Moock’s offered cocktails, seafood and chicken platters and Swift’s Tender Age steaks cut to order.

Tampa Bay Times, 25 Nov 1956, Sun, Main Edition, Page 58

Tampa Bay Times – November 25, 1956

The tavern started as a small restaurant serving about 75 people at a time, but eventually grew to have four dining rooms and a capacity of 235. The larger capacity allowed Moock’s to become a very popular place to hold wedding receptions, civic meetings and club outings.

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Postcard from the Cardboard America Collection

The Moock’s would operate the business with their son and daughter managing and eventually taking over the business. But, as 1970 dawned, Erven and Gertrude wanted to retire. In April 1970 they sold the restaurant and land they owned around the restaurant to Merlin Downs and his 31 year-old Joseph Alban. Even after the sale Erven Moock, Jr. would stay on and manage the restaurant. The sale would become official in June.

Tampa Bay Times, 30 Jun 1970, Tue, Main Edition, Page 27

Tampa Bay Times – June 30, 1970

Things were still looking good for Moock’s for a little while but the end was on the horizon. A fire broke out in September of 1973, causing some serious damage. The fire, caused by an electrical short, destroyed two of the four dining rooms and the first floor suffered water and smoke damage.

Tampa Bay Times,  15 Sep 1973, Sat,  Main Edition,  Page 15.jpg

Tampa Bay Times – September 15, 1973

In 1975 Moock’s suffered another fire, this time in the kitchen injuring two and causing more damage. The loss of revenue, personal problems and the $52,000 cost of the rebuild would ultimately cripple ownership. In September 1977 Moock’s Tavern was seized and closed permanently by the IRS. Merlin Downs and Joe Alban had failed to pay $24,462.89 in back taxes.

Tampa Bay Times,  15 Sep 1977, Thu,  Other Editions,  Page 5.jpg

Tampa Bay Times – September 15, 1977

The property was put up for auction. Only one person bid on the venerable old restaurant. Louis P. Druehl of purchased the property for $33,000. Druehl would re-open the restaurant as a high-end restaurant called the Executive Club. The restaurant would not last very long and the property sat idle for many years. New owners told local newspapers in 1988 that that had a plan to restore Moock’s to its former glory but nothing ever came to fruition.

In 1990, St. Petersburg City Council ordered the empty building demolished, but the owners at the time convinced the council that they had plans and the building was spared. Those pans never materialized and the building was razed in 2003 to make way for a medical facility.

Found Photo Friday: Memories of a Marvelous Evening at Club Bali

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This week’s found photo takes us back to the 1940s in Miami, Florida. Club Bali was a Polynesian-themed nightclub located at Biscayne Boulevard and 8th St. The entertainment featured two live orchestras with three shows nightly.

A souvenir photo could be purchased at the club as a memento of your visit in “Miami’s Most Glamorous Atmosphere.”

This well-dressed party of three appears to be either starting or ending their marvelous evening.

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Greetings From….

Cardboard America

Today’s offering is a baker’s dozen of Curt Teich large-letter Greetings From….postcards. Curteich was the largest producer of color and quality linen postcards for more than 5 decades.

Teich postcards are easy to date, as there is a code on all codes that tells you when it was published. There is a handy dating guide available on pdf.

The Curt Teich archives are located at the Newberry in Chicago, Illinois and contains hundreds of thousands of the company postcards, letters and ephemera.

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon

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Greetings from South Bend, Indiana

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Greetings from Lake Tahoe

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Greetings from Santa Claus, Indiana

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Greetings from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

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Greetings from St. Petersburg, Florida

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Greetings from Chicago, Illinois

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Greetings from Santa Cruz, California

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Greetings from Nevada

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Greetings from Lincoln, Nebraska

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Greetings from Hannibal, Missouri

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Greetings from Egypt, Illinois

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Greetings from Cincinnati, Ohio

Goofy Golf At The Magic World – Panama City Beach, Florida

Cardboard America

Goofy Golf at the Magic World was a miniature golf course located in Panama City Beach, Florida. This series of postcards; featuring the giant tyrannosaurus rex, windmill, castle, octopus, flowers and other “goofy” holes on the golf course; was published sometime in the 1960s.

Southernmost School of Beauty Culture – Key West, Florida

Cardboard America

Southernmost School of Beauty Culture - Key West, Florida

This picture taken in Key West, Florida shows the Southernmost Beauty School in the United States. The young ladies pictured with the teacher, are students learning to become professional beauticians. The white flowers showing on the tree behind the school sign are frangipani blossoms. The frangipani tree thrives only in a tropical frost free climate such as that in Key West and it blooms nearly all year around. The other tree with the red clustered blossoms is a royal poinciana.
This royal poinciana blooms from May to October and can survive light frosts well enough to grow quite plentifully throughout tropical south Florida.

 

The Southernmost School of Beauty opened sometime in the late 1930s/early 1940s in Key West, Florida. Operating as a “beauty colony” that taught young women about hair, makeup and beauty.

In 1959, when Hawaii was admitted to the Union, the name of the school was forced to change as Key West was no longer the Southernost point in the United States. The newly rechristened Key West School of Beauty Culture lasted through the early 1960s.

The Orlando Sentinel, 19 Mar 1959, Thu, Main Edition, Page 17

The Orlando Sentinel – March 19, 1959

Newport Resort Motel – Miami Beach, Florida

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels, Cookbooks, Pamphlets, Brochures

The Newport Resort Motel in the Sunny Isles area of Miami Beach opened in 1967. From the beginning, the Newport was designed with the hip, young crowd in mind. The verso on their first postcard says:

A swingin’ new way of life! C’mon down to the “in” place…it’s the lively one.
21″ Color TV & refrigerator in every room – 1000-foot fishing pier – 2-block private beach – 2 heated pools – restaurant – coffee shop – nightclub – tot’n teen programs – free self-parking.
On the Ocean at 167th St. – Miami Beach, Fla. 33154

Their early advertising smacks of late 1960s design and colors. This brochure shows of the Miami Beach sights.It also mentions the Newport’s multiple on sight eating & drinking establishments including: Dover Coffee Shop, The 7 Seas Nightclub & Lounge, The Pub Restaurant and the Rhum Rooms.

Entertainment was provided nightly from 9:30pm to 5pm. Joe Cavalier Revue provided the “Girls a La Mod” showcase. Music from Sheila MacRae dazzled while Jessie Ferguson & His Gospel Jazz Singers and The Treniers provided more upscale music, and Mike Vetro and His Brothers and Tom & The Craftsmen brought the party tunes. But the swingingest show was Pirates a Go-Go featuring the beautiful treasure chests .

The Newport wasn’t just for food, drinks and partying, there were brand new basketball and tennis courts.

You could fish or play mini-golf on their pier.

The Newport catered to newlyweds with their honeymoon packages and their new, world class amenities.

These die-cut rate schedules provide a glimpse of how the rates fluctuated from season to season. This one is from Spring/Summer/Fall of 1967

This one is from Winter/Spring of 1968:

The Newport is still open. There have been major renovations done to modernize the space and it looks like a great place to stay. I doubt the beautiful treasure chests are still there.

 

 

Trailer Life Is The Life For Me

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Is a favorite fishing spot on the west coast of Florida. Here the waters of Boca, Ceiga Bay meet the Gulf of Mexico, where the angler can match his skill with many different varieties of edible game fish.

Mailed from St. Petersburg, Florida to Mr. & Mrs. D.D. Bridge of Royal Center, Indiana on December 26, 1953:

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Dear Kids:
Arid here Sat. P.M. Nice & warm. Trailer life is the life for me. We are in a nice trailer court on State R. 19. We watched fisher on bridge yesterday. People bathing in the Gulf. Thanks for the Xmas. We have worn them already. Send to L.E. Selden – 10005 Bay Pine Blvd. St. Petersburg, Fla.