St. Petersburg, Florida has been closely linked to St. Petersburg, Russia from its very beginning. Peter Demens was the Russian founder of St. Petersburg, Florida and the one responsible for naming the town in honor of the city in Russia in which he grew up. He brought the Orange Belt Railway to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1888, built the Detroit Hotel, the first railroad station, and the town’s first pier. In 1977 the city named a waterfront park Demens Landing to honor this early pioneer.
In 2003 the two St. Petersburgs jointly celebrated important historic anniversaries. For St. Petersburg, Russia it was the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city by Peter the Great in 1703. In Florida, St. Petersburg celebrated the 100th anniversary of its incorporation as a city in 1903. Mayor Rick Baker and Governor Vladimir Yakovlev signed an agreement in 2003 promoting cultural and economic cooperation and the exchange of information and experience. Since 2003 the two St. Petersburgs have been considered “Friendship Cities” and now are part of the umbrella of St. Petersburg Florida’s four “Sister Cities”.