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i14 THE FINE HOTEL NAMED FOR AN OPERA STAR By HAMPTON DUNN ST. PETERSBURG BEACH --Thomas J. Rowe was a shrewd, courtly and frail New Englander who came to St. Petersburg during the Florida Boom who escalated a "kitty" of $21,000 into a fortune of over a mi llion dollars. There stands today on St. Petersburg a landmark that was the proud accomplish ment of the professional building decorator who wanted to give this community an elegant hotel in return for all it had given him. The pink stucco castle is the Don Ce Sar, named for Rowe's favorite opera star, Don Caesar de Bazan in the opera "Maritana." The nine story structure rose on the beach in 1925, just as the boom itself started its decline. It started out to be a five story building, but Rowe ballooned h is plans as he discovered the architect had failed to include a sweeping, impressive staircase. Thus came a quick redesign ing, additional building, and added costs. The final tab was $1,150,000, about $300,000 more than originally planned by architect Hen ry DuPont. Rowe's own real estate adviser, Walter P. Fuller, had advised him against build ing a hotel at this lonely spot. He pointed out that Pass a Grille was served with a precarious nine foot brick road and access to the island was by a frail, wooden toll bride, that the hotel business usually lost money, that the islands had no water, and other problems. Fuller quit as his anent; Rowe went ahead. The hotel never made money. It served as a hospital during World War II and later as Veterans Administrat ion offices until 1968.
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The fine hotel named for an opera star
h [electronic resource] /
by Hampton Dunn.
1 online resource (2 p.) :
Title from caption on PDF of p.1 (viewed July 27, 2010).
At head of title: Photouring Florida.
Typescript of Photouring Florida column that describes the Don Ce-Sar Hotel, built by Thomas Rowe in St. Petersburg.
2 0 610
Don Ce-Sar Hotel (St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.)
Saint Petersburg Beach (Fla.)
x Description and travel.
t Hampton Dunn Photouring Florida collection.