The Beach Drive Inn is believed to be built in 1910 by one of St. Petersburg's earliest and most famous developers, Perry Snell. Due to a fire at the county court house in approximately 1913, all previous records were lost. However, county records since 1914 have been preserved and show other famous develops of St. Petersburg also resided at this property. Two developers in particular were C.R. Hall, 1914-1916, and William Petten in 1918.
The Mr. Vinoy Lived Here
However, in 1919 a third purchaser of the property would change the face of St. Petersburg forever. Stella and Aymer Vinoy Laughner purchased the property located at 532 Beach Drive and resided in this home with their family for many years. It was on the lawn of this house, at a party in 1924, that real estate promoter Gene Elliot looked across Beach Drive and announced, "We're gong to build a hotel there, and we're going to name it The Vinoy because that's such a pretty name." The house, originally clapboard and frame, was surrounded by tall hedges and Aymer had a hole cut in one side of the hedge so he could run back and forth to the hotel construction site.
A Landmark Hotel was Born
The Vinoy Park Hotel, now called the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel was opened on December 31st, 1925. Amyer Vinoy Laughner died in 1961 and his wife Stella died in 1976. The Vinoy name will live forever and because of the efforts of these and may other unmentioned developers, St. Petersburg, Florida has become one of the most visited cities in the world.