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About The Jungle
The Jungle area of St. Pete is also known as Jungle Prada. Though the name was Jungle Prado, locals created their own versions. The history of Jungle Prada is colorful and it all started in 1907 when Walter P. Fuller moved from Bradenton to St. Pete and began his long illustrious career as author, editor for The St. Pete Times, local historian, bootlegger, State of Florida politician who was a Florida Legislature, one-term clerk of the state House of Representatives and he spent eight years as a Democratic state committeeman. To some who knew him, he embodied a Gator version of Will Rogers. Fuller a tall, thin and a casually dressed man, was a student of Florida history and could tell you where every political body in Florida was buried. Fuller developed "The Jungle" area of St. Pete's central western edge along Boca Ciega Bay. In 1925, he built the Jungle Country Club Hotel which is now the famous school Admiral Farragut Academy. Back then, there was a adjoining golf course and air strip called Piper-Fuller Airport. Fuller help St. Pete grow in many ways. He was a developer, hotel owner, restaurateur, nightclub owner, bootlegger and politician. He extended a streetcar line from downtown St. Petersburg to The Jungle and paved 16 miles of St. Pete city streets with his own money. He built The Sunset Hotel at the corner of Park Street and Central Avenue. Fuller also built 1400 single family homes in St. Pete which he sold to many tourists referred to as "tin can tourists" because these people motored to St. Pete in Model T Fords and ate canned goods and lived in tents. During Fuller's career he owned 3,200 acres in St. Petersburg and 2,500 more in mid Pinellas, according to a 2007 Times story by Lorrie Lykins. Fuller brought the first nightlife to Jungle Prado with the opening of a fancy nightclub called the Gangplank. The story goes that one day in 1923 a Shrimper showed up with a load of liquor and Fuller spent the next 10 years moving that load of illegal goods from one safe-house to the next. Customers flocked to the Gangplank and the Prado Hotel. There were many famous and infamous guest including gangster Al Capone. Fuller was the first payed football coach of the St. Petersburg High School Green Devils. Fuller built an estate in on Park Street in 1916 on a 2.5 acres parcel on the Bay across from his Jungle Hotel. Fuller died in 1973 at the age of 79.
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