- 21 Mar
As Snell Isle developed over the years it has progressed from its early beginnings and the vision Perry Snell had for it almost a century ago. Of the unique features that comprise the Isle there are fourteen different pocket parks that can be found at various locations. Many of you probably have never even heard the phrase “pocket park” or even know what it means. I know I didn’t until very recently, so I took it upon myself to visit them and learn what I could about them in an effort to educate myself. However, even with on line research tools, I was unable to find much written about them, though I did find some pictures of the more well know ones, including Snell Isle Parkway on Snell Isle Blvd. across from the golf course. Many are much smaller and may go unnoticed if you don’t look for them, but one in particular should come to mind, and that is the one located on the right side of Snell Isle Blvd. as you cross over the bridge from Coffee Pot Blvd.; that is the Cherub water spout which has recently undergone a wonderful transformation. All should take notice that the fountain has been repaired and the landscaping has been totally refurbished. Many thanks to the SIPOA Board who have all contributed their own funds allocated for beautification as part of our yearly dues. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the locations of the rest of these mini parks:
These 6 larger Snell Isle parks have benches for the enjoyment of all residents:
Snell Isle Entrance Fountain Snell Isle Parkway Brightwaters Park Coffee Pot Riviera Park, known as Pete’s Park Monterey Point Pocket Park Maple & 34th Ave NE Traffic Circle These smaller “green spaces” you might have passed by and hardly noticed... Coffee Pot Riviera & Monterey Blvd small traffic island Traffic Circle at Monterey Blvd & Almedo Way Snell Isle Estates Bridge area Brightwaters Circle Bridge area Entrance to Snell Harbor Drive Brick triangle area at Giralda & Brightwaters Snell Harbor Drive green space by the panther Coffee Pot Riviera Entrance Walls
Snell Isle Entrance Fountain
Snell Isle Parkway
Coffee Pot Riviera Park, known as Pete’s Park
Monterey Point Pocket Park
Maple & 34th Ave NE Traffic Circle
These smaller “green spaces” you might have passed by and hardly noticed...
Coffee Pot Riviera & Monterey Blvd small traffic island
Traffic Circle at Monterey Blvd & Almedo Way
Snell Isle Estates Bridge area
Brightwaters Circle Bridge area
Entrance to Snell Harbor Drive
Brick triangle area at Giralda & Brightwaters
Snell Harbor Drive green space by the panther
Coffee Pot Riviera Entrance Walls
Now, although I was unable to find much to go on regarding specific historical accounts of the pocket parks, I did find a wonderful little piece written by Perry Snell back in 1926, after viewing magnificent scenes in various parts of the world. He came home to write as follows:
“It is the memory of these beautiful scenes that encourages one to lend some romantic touch to our local scene. At Snell Isle, I am endeavoring to lend a foreign note to match the warmth and balm of our sunshine. I see a vision of loveliness at this gateway to St. Petersburg. Domes and towers will hold sway on this fair Isle, and the colors of the Orient established an outpost in our Sunshine City. I may even approach the vistas of Paris, the domes of the Orient, the color of Italy and the charm of Spain. In the layout of the Avenues, Parks and Villas; something to suggest unimagined splendors and unwanted joys, the green lawns that satisfied, the curve of the new façade, the glint of fountains, the classic glimpse of statuary, the mysticism of the picturesque Riviera, the romantic view of lagoons and canals with the subtle witchery of the old world Venetian buildings, all minister to my fancies and lead me upward to achievement. I see these things accomplished at Snell Isle, the Pearl of Pinellas, the brilliancy and gayety of Florida at its best, warmed by the golden sunshine, surrounded by laughing waters amid flowers in bloom and waiving palms. Other scenes to me will not have greater charm.”
Apparently, Perry Snell was not only a visionary developer, but also a true romantic as well as a great poet. And through these words of his, I began to understand. In the early homes he built on Snell Isle he incorporated beauty from around the world and brought it to his little slice of heaven. The pocket parks were another part of that vision. Places one could come to for a chance to sit and contemplate the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings and to just appreciate the moment. The oft used Latin phrase Carpe Diem, (seize the day) or better yet, Carpe Momentum (seize the moment) comes to mind and is perhaps apropos. Snell would have appreciated a foreign phrase to help define his quest for serenity and bliss among the surroundings of his creation.
So, for all of you who have never heard of a pocket park, or have simply driven by one of these little cutouts that populate our locale, please take a stroll, a moment, perhaps a deep breath and sit by one for a while as you become a part of, and appreciate, a wonderful piece of our history.