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The Vision of the 1973 Pier | News

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The Vision of the 1973 Pier

St. Petersburg, Florida -- Architecture is a family business for Bill Harvard.  You see - he, his brother and sister all followed in their father's footsteps. William Harvard, Senior's work can be seen all around the Bay area. It includes the bandshell in Williams Park and the Pasadena Community Church. 

"Following the war, which he was in the South Pacific, he returned to St. Pete and was one of the more instrumental architects in the Bay area, especially St. Pete," said Harvard. 

But perhaps the most famous, that helped put the City of St. Petersburg on the map -- The St. Petersburg Pier. 

"I think [the pier] came to be a structure that a lot of people enjoyed and liked, and enjoyed being associated with," Harvard said.

Harvard described his father as a "very interesting character" who was "very proud" of the Pier.

"He enjoyed a lot of criticism about it as well as he enjoyed a lot of praise and I think he thought that was a sign of some good architecture (be)cause it evoked emotion from people."

Emotion and to this very day it inspires people to reach for the camera. 

"It seemed like it became an icon and was photographed day and night," Harvard added.

As for the inverted pyramid design, "He was very innovative, especially for this area." 

It's a combination of fashion and function. Harvard explained his dad was working with what he had.

"It has its own independent structure and the rest of this is built on the 20's foundation as well as the additions that were built in the 80's. Basically, the knowledge was that the foundation structure for this portion of the pier, which was not to be demolished, had a life span of another 20 years so they built an independent building without utilizing this foundation."

And to this day, it remains an impressive sight.

"Some people considered it like a modern day lighthouse that could be a beacon for the city."

The creative genius of William Harvard, Sr. didn't stop with retirement. 

"After dad retired, he went to USF and got a degree in fine arts and became a painter."


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