About Treasure Island

A Brief History of Treasure Island

The early settlers of Treasure Island, after the Great Gale of 1848 and the civil war, were mostly fisherman, hunters and the occasional pirate or smuggler. In 1908 Treasure Island welcomed its first landowner, Tom Pierce, who bought the island for $1.25 an acre. Other early landowners were Whitey Harrell, who was quick to realize the possibilities Treasure Island had to offer and in 1915 built Treasure Island's first hotel, The Coney Island, on the east side of Surf Avenue (now Gulf Boulevard) near 100th Avenue. Whitey's Coney Island Hotel unwittingly played a role in naming Treasure Island. In 1918, a fellow named Bill McAdoo wanted to generate interest in land he owned on St Pete Beach. McAdoo, along with friend Ed Brantley and two guests from the Coney Island, "discovered" buried treasure on the beach (treasure McAdoo and Brantley had buried the night before). Subsequent publicly resulted from the two guests spreading the word about their discovery and people began calling the area around the hotel "out at that Treasure Island." The direct link from St. Petersburg to Treasure Island came in 1939 with the Treasure Island Causeway, which brought unprecedented development after World War II. The four towns of Treasure Island, Boca Ciega, Sunshine Beach and Sunset Beach incorporated as The City of Treasure Island on May 3, 1955. Source: The Treasure Island Story by Bonnie L. Williams

Treasure Island At-A-Glance

At A Glance infographic