Friday, May 2, 2014

Roser Park, Not To Be Confused With Rosa Parks

The Colonel and I were in St. Petersburg (Florida, that is) recently for a antique book fair that was held in the old Coliseum (1924). The dance scene in the movie Cocoon was filmed here.

"The Finest Ballroom in the South" lent its oak floors to hundreds of antique book sellers and their kiosks.

There were even book sellers set up in the little rooms that were off to the side of the enormous dance floor.

The book fair would not open until 5:00 PM. We wanted to experience some of St. Pete before we hit the book fair. We arrived in St. Pete just in time for lunch. We had a delicious seafood lunch, al fresco. We then visited Haslam's Bookstore. It was established in 1933 and has become Florida's largest new and used book store. The last time we were in Haslam's was probably over 25 years ago and it sure has gotten larger since then. A great place to visit if you are ever in St. Pete.

After spending time and money in the book store, we still had about two hours to go until the book fair was to open. I had been surfing the Internet before our trip to St. Pete, to see what we could do to fill the time between lunch and book fair (Haslam's was always on the agenda) when I saw something about Roser Park.

Roser Park is an historic, 270-acre subdivision of St. Petersburg. It was the first residential subdivision established outside of the downtown business district. Charles Roser (1864-1937), a wealthy developer/philanthropist from Ohio, started Roser Park in 1911. It is said Mr. Roser got his fortune from developing and then selling the recipe or baking process of the famous Fig Newton cookie.

Mr. Roser was quiet, small, serious and very much the businessman according to one of the guests to his art-filled mansion. He bought tracts of land and donated it for schools. Mr. Roser also established an area hospital. He purchased an inn and made improvements upon it. Roser was constantly spending his own money on the park and its streets. He developed a gorgeous place to live or to visit.

Roser Park is hilly and has beautiful tree-lined, brick drives. It is listed on the National Register for significant community development and planning, architecture and landscape architecture.

There are some very pretty homes in the park. The Colonel and I took our time walking up and down the drives and enjoying the sites.

Some of the houses that were featured on old postcards of Roser Park are still there, like the Chalets.

So many pretty houses and vistas within Roser Park. I will let my photographs do the justice my writing of them cannot.

Roser Park was a very pleasant diversion for us as we awaited the opening of the antique book fair. We were happy that I was able to learn about it before our trip to St. Pete.

It was now time for the book fair (well, nearly). We arrived at the Coliseum before the doors opened. A small crowd was beginning to form. They were watching a uniquely dressed woman so we joined them.

This woman was the Stand-Up Librarian, Meredith Myers. She really is a librarian as well as a stand-up comic. She writes and performs songs about books (Joyce, Poe, The Gingerbread Man, to list a few) that are set to popular tunes. You can see her work on her website and YouTube. She was very entertaining as we waited for the doors to open. Meredith is also a designer of textile products. I bought one of her little makeup bags.

The Colonel and I must have perused thousands upon thousands of books at the fair but only purchased about five of them. It was interesting to see what was available. Some books were very old (1300) and very expensive ($50,000). The owners of Copperfish Books, a store in my town, were at the fair. I purchased a book from them, Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. It was considerably less than $50,000!

1 comment:

  1. I checked out The Standup Librarian's website. Funny. Roser Park is beautiful. I love libraries and bookshops. Jenn