photos and descriptions of what makes our world a pleasure
emphasis on Florida and the Tampa Bay area but also far beyond

Vintage Florida Postcards

by Hilton Kean Jones on September 27, 2008

in Florida

Florida 1920 Foldout

For almost as long as folks have been coming south to Florida to vacation, picture postcards of Florida scenes have been a staple. They are highly collectible now. In today’s post, I’m very pleased to present scans of vintage Florida postcards from the collection of a good friend here in St. Petersburg, Fran Sims.

They’re presented here in slideshows: 400 pixel ones embedded in the body of the blog and full screen ones through external links. They’re grouped according to the descriptions you see in the headings. This first collection is from 1920.

Florida Pass-a-grille Foldout

This collection of Pass-a-Grille, Florida, postcards (see my Pass-a-Grille Beach Inkwatu post) is from a little later decade. Notice the color palette. Already you see the archetypical “Florida” colors, especially that specific quality of orange.

Florida Foldout 1

By the time of this collection, you also start to see the style of typography that is so associated with Florida “kitsch.”

There are frequent shows of vintage commercial items, including–but hardly limited to–postcards. I go to all of them I can because they evoke such warm memories of childhood vacations for me. There’s every possible item with a “Florida” theme. These things are usually described as Floridiana.

One promoter of these festivals is Hula Productions, here in St. Pete. The 2009 Festival will be Saturday, February 7, 2009, at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom (5500 Shore Blvd. South, Gulfport, Florida 33707).

Florida Foldout 2

There are, of course, websites specializing in Floridiana, such as this appropriately named website, Floridiana.

The digital Floridiana collection of the University of South Florida library includes oral histories as well as Florida African-American histories.

Florida Postcards 1

An image search for “Florida Postcards” yields well over 147,000 images. A similar web search will give websites of enthusiasts, hobbyists, and sellers. Yes, sellers—an individual postcard can easily start at $5.

A nice site, is St. Petersburg Florida Postcards which has a number of items, including maps and calendars, for sale.

There are at least two local entrepreneurs who have business that imprint enlarged vintage St. Petersburg and Florida postcards on computer mouse pads, coasters, tiles, throw-pillows, trays, etc. If you go to the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market (see my Inkwatu post on the market), you’ll see them there. The company with which I’m the most familiar is Bonnie and Sam Rivenbark who have a stall at the Saturday Morning Market and from whom I’ve made purchases in the past. These times make perfect gifts for your friends and relatives up north!

Again, a special thanks to Fran Sims for letting me publish scans of her collection of vintage St. Petersburg postcards.

Florida Postcards 2

Most images link to larger images.
click on larger image for closeup

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordon Steimle January 15, 2009 at 12:07 am

Nice web page!

I am doing a search for pictures/information on a bank building in St Pertersburg. It was known as the Central National Bank and Trust Company and was probably built in the 1920s or 1930s. It was probably five to six stories tall. Have you any pictures or information about this building?

Thank you!


Bob Horn May 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm

In response to Gordon Steimle’s note from January 15th. There is a site that sells thousands of vintage postcards, and I saw at least two of them for the Central National Bank that you asked about. It’s called Moody’s Collectibles, and here is a link to their website.
Hope you find what you want!
Bob Horn


Hilton Kean Jones May 7, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Thanks for writing, Bob, and thanks for the link!


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