Busch Gardens' Hospitality House - 1963

Flamingos and swans accentuate the Hospitality House at Busch Gardens, Tampa in this 1963 original slide. It was designed by William Harvard, a modernist architect who was active on the west-central coast of Florida (He designed the "upside-down pyramid" at the pier in St. Pete, and many MCM homes in the area). Opened in 1959, it was a place to receive two free Budweisers or Michelobs and relax. There were 4 employees and 4 parrots. In January 2009, InBev, the new Belgian owner, stopped the tradition of free beer at the Hospitality House. Ouch!

A trio of smartly-dressed women pose in front of the "Stairway to the Stars" — a somewhat rickety escalator that carried you to the roof of the brewery to begin the famous brew tour. In the early days, there were seals in a pool below. The brewery always reminded me of Willy Wonka's factory. Lots of mint-green tiles and brass boilers. You looked down from windows near the ceiling.

Float at the Fun 'n Sun Parade, Clearwater, FL – March 1960.
A large Hospitality House model shares the attention with the Anheuser-Busch logo, and a number of Ann Margaret lookalikes. Colorful palm trees and swans, flamingos and herons add to the effect. Not sure what the rock-like motif is for, but with pretty girls like the one in front of the eagle, who cares?

Float at the Fun 'n Sun Parade, Clearwater, FL – March 1961.
What a difference a year makes! The Hospitality House model has been re-done and is more true to the original, yet sits on a sea of pink, green and yellow. The natural birds give way to foil peacocks and flamingos while the palms are all snowy white. The dress code obviously changes to southern belle debutante! I can almost see the parade wave now. The eagle logo is also less stylized. McCrorys 5-10-25 store is fighting for my attention here, but the deco looks dated compared to Harvard's modern design.

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  1. I also picked up a Busch Gardens brochure from this era. How can I learn more about William Harvard?

  2. Rick, Here's a great research tool. Go to http://www.google.com/archivesearch and search there. It's an amazing resource. There's an article about his home in St. Pete.


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