Weedon Island Preserve
Boardwalks and nature trails
wind through the massive
Nature and Art
The people of the Weedon
Island culture engraved birds
and animals on their pottery.
Weedon Island Preserve - St. Petersburg, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Weedon Island Preserve, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Weedon Island Preserve, Florida
Weedon Island Preserve
The beautiful urban preserve protects thousands of
acres of pristine coastal environment and some of
the South's most important archaeological sites.
The Weedon Island Culture
Located in the heart of metropolitan St.
Petersburg, the Weedon Island Preserve is a
magnificent environmental, historical and
archaeological preserve. One of the most
important Native American cultures in
Florida, Georgia and Alabama was identified
from excavations here.

Although the low mounds and shell middens
of Weedon Island (actually a peninsula that
protrudes into Old Tampa Bay) had been
known for decades, the first serious research
here began in 1924. Using techniques that
have improved dramatically since that time,
archaeologists dug into burial mounds and
midden or refuse piles. They uncovered
evidence of an advanced civilization that
produced some of the finest pottery and art of
any prehistoric society in North America.

What is now called the Weedon Island
culture (also spelled Weeden Island) actually
occupied an area extending from Southwest
Georgia and Southeast Alabama south down
the Florida peninsula to the Tampa Bay area.
Although this ancient civilization, which
thrived from around A.D. 200 to A.D. 900, is
named for this site, there is no evidence that
it actually spread from this point.

Uniquely, the preserve was also the site of a
popular Tampa area "speakeasy" during
prohibition days and in 1929 became the site
for "Grand Central Airport" which was then
the national hub for Eastern Air Transport. A
movie studio operated on the grounds during
the 1930s, taking over the "speakeasy"
building after the end of prohibition also
ended its thriving business.

In addition to protecting numerous historic
and archaeological sites, the Weedon Island
Preserve also protects 3,164 acres of vital
estuary and wetlands bordering old Tampa
Bay. It is the largest such preserve in
Pinellas County and one of the finest such
areas in the South.
The preserve features a fishing pier, 45-foot
observation tower, more than one mile of
ADA accessible boardwalks, over three miles
of hiking trails, picnic areas and a beautiful
Cultural and Natural History Center that
offers exhibits on the significance of the

The Weedon Island Preserve is open daily
from dawn until dusk. The Cultural and
Natural History Center is open Wednesday
through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please click here to visit its official website.

The preserve is located at 1800 Weedon
Drive NE in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Centuries of Occupation
The Weedon Island Preserve
protects sites dating from
thousands of years of
occupation, including the 20th
Photos by Lauren Pitone
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Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 4, 2012