The pelican, a predatory water bird known for its distinctively long beak and large throat pouch, has long been associated with the city of St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Petersburg even claimed the bird, Pelican Pete, as the inaugural mascot and can be seen across the town in the city’s logo.
Since the Orange Belt Railway Pier extension was completed in 1888, Floridafisherman have shared their favorite fishing spot with the pelicans. During that same time, it was a popularpastime for visitors to stroll amongst the pelicans that lined wooden structures such as piers and docks. Oldpostcards often featured the unmistakable water bird as a symbol of the beachy destination.
In 1927, St. Petersburg sponsored a contest where residents helped design the city’s first flag, and it featured a pelican! The symbolic bird has been on all flag designs since.
Today, the St. Pete pelican can be found on everything from city park signs, manhole covers, t-shirts, and even your bills!