Gulfport, Florida

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Gulfport, Florida
City of Gulfport
Official seal of Gulfport, Florida
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°45′2″N 82°42′31″W / 27.75056°N 82.70861°W / 27.75056; -82.70861Coordinates: 27°45′2″N 82°42′31″W / 27.75056°N 82.70861°W / 27.75056; -82.70861
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedOctober 12, 1910
 • MayorSamuel Henderson[1]
 • Total3.87 sq mi (10.02 km2)
 • Land2.77 sq mi (7.16 km2)
 • Water1.10 sq mi (2.86 km2)
16 ft (5 m)
 • Total11,783
 • Density4,261.48/sq mi (1,645.41/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
33707, 33711, 33737
Area code727
FIPS code12-28175[3]
GNIS feature ID0283501[4]

Gulfport is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States, bordering St. Petersburg, South Pasadena, and Boca Ciega Bay. The population of Gulfport was 12,029 at the 2010 census.[5] Gulfport is part of the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater metropolitan statistical area.


Archaeological digs around Boca Ciega Bay indicate that settlements existed in the area circa 3000 to 8000 BC.[6] The area was also densely populated during the Safety Harbor period.[7] In 1528, the Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez landed on the Pinellas peninsula, some say near present-day Gulfport, where he encountered the local Timucuan peoples.[8]

Gulfport has been known by several names since its founding. The first settler in what would become Gulfport were James and Rebecca Barnett in 1868 and named the area Barnett's Bluff. As other settlers trickled in and homesteaded the area, the settlement became known as Bonifacio around 1880. In 1884 Philadelphia financier Hamilton Disston envisioned a thriving port town that he called Disston City. However, the United States Postal Service would not recognize the name as it conflicted with a town in Hillsborough County, and the name Bonifacio was retained. Once that community folded in 1890, the Post Office allowed Bonifacio to officially be renamed as Disston City. In 1905, the town name was changed to Veteran City to reflect John Chase's vision for a retirement community of Civil War veterans. On October 12, 1910 the name would change officially to Gulfport[9] when it got incorporated at the Gulf Casino located on the dock of Electric Railroad Company.

On April 1, 1886, a man named W. J. McPherson, who had moved to Disston City from Deland the previous year, published The Sea Breeze, which was the first newspaper for the lower Pinellas Peninsula.[10]

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, there was a considerable leftist movement in Florida. This included Gulfport electing a Socialist mayor, E. E. Wintersgill, in 1910 and having four Socialists to one Democrat sitting on the town's council.[11]

Gulfport was a sundown town into the 1950s.[12] An informal policy prohibited African Americans from staying within town limits after sundown.[13]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), of which 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (26.30%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[14][15]

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 12,527 people, 6,246 households, and 3,154 families residing in the city.[3] The population density was 4,422.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,707.4/km2). There were 7,306 housing units at an average density of 2,579.1 per square mile (995.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.40% White, 7.06% African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 1.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.47% of the population.

There were 6,246 households, out of which 16.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.5% were non-families. 39.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.63.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 15.8% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 28.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,809, and the median income for a family was $37,016. Males had a median income of $25,756 versus $23,347 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,801. About 9.5% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.


GTV640 is the local Government-access television (GATV) cable TV channel for Gulfport. The signal was moved to channel 640 on February 9, 2015, on Bright House Networks. The municipal government broadcasts live meetings and replays on Brighthouse Cable Channel 640, as well as Live Streaming Video on the internet.[16]

The channel includes city information, information relating to the city's events, a historical video of the city, city meetings, as well as additional programming.


Public education is provided by Pinellas County Schools. Gulfport has two public schools, Boca Ciega High School and Gulfport Elementary School. The closest middle school to Gulfport is Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School, located in St. Petersburg.

Gulfport Elementary was the first Montessori school in Pinellas County.

The Gulfport Public Library is located on Beach Boulevard, not far from the Gulfport Multi-Purpose Senior Center and the Catherine Hickman Theater.[17] It is a member of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, which facilitates inter-library borrowing of materials in the county.

Stetson University College of Law, founded in 1900, is located in Gulfport (having moved there in 1954 from its original location in DeLand). Its tower is one of the best-known images to locals and has become an iconic part of the skyline.

St. Petersburg College, a state college, has multiple campuses in the county and is available for those who aspire to a college degree. In addition, the city of St. Petersburg has a campus of the University of South Florida.


Beach in Gulfport
Gulfport's beach on Boca Ciega Bay, with 'Welcome to Gulfport' sign on the back of the Casino Ballroom; the Williams Pier is just outside the photograph on the right.

Gulfport has a free trolley bus that passengers can use to ride around the city and the surrounding area.[18]

The downtown area has a few art galleries as well as the Catherine A. Hickman Theater, a small performing arts center.[19][20][21][22][23] A celebration the first Friday and third Saturday of each month called Art Walk attracts locals and tourists. Many street performers, artists, and craftspeople show up to create a relaxed cultured atmosphere in the warm balmy evening breezes coming off the beach at the end of the street.

The Gulfport Community Players present several plays each year at the Hickman Theater. Also, the Catherine A. Hickman Theater of Gulfport is located on Beach Boulevard at 26th Avenue South and is a venue for live theatrical performances. The Gulfport Senior Center offers activities throughout the week for residents within and outside of the city limits.

The Gulfport Casino Ballroom, located on the waterfront, is one of the main event venues in the city. The Casino hosts Swing, Latin, Argentine Tango, and Ballroom Dance events five days a week with a large turnout from all across the Tampa area. The venue is available for rent to the public and is popular for weddings, company functions, and holiday parties. The ballroom features a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) authentic 1930s style dance floor.

In 2011 Gulfport was named a finalist by Rand McNally for one of the best food towns in the United States.[24]


The city owns a full-service marina adjacent to Clam Bayou Nature Park.[25]

Gulfport's Police Department includes a marine patrol which is responsible for the open waterway between Gulfport, St. Pete Beach, the Maximo neighborhood in St. Pete, and the Pinellas Bayway. They also patrol 5 miles (8.0 km) of coastline along the Boca Ciega Bay.[26]

There is a long municipal fishing pier, called Williams Pier, on Boca Ciega Bay. It's near the Casino Ballroom and not far from two Gulfport city parks, Veterans Park and the waterfront park and beach.



  1. ^ "Mayor – Samuel Henderson". City of Gulfport. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Gulfport city, Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Gulfport Historical Society. (1985). Our Story of Gulfport, Florida. Retrieved from pg. 14
  7. ^ Austin, Robert (1988). "Archaeological Testing at the Anders Site: A Weeden Island-Related Midden on Boca Ciega Bay, St. Petersburg, Florida". Florida Scientist. 51 (3/4): 172–181. JSTOR 24319907. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  8. ^ Gulfport Historical Society. (1985). pg 14
  9. ^ "Three Names Shape One". St. Petersburg Times. July 1, 2001. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  10. ^ Simonds, Willard B. (1983) "The Sea Breeze: The First Newspaper of the Lower Pinellas Peninsula," Tampa Bay History: Vol. 5 : Iss. 2 , Article 8. Available at:
  11. ^ Griffin, Steven (Winter 2008). "Workers of the Sunshine State Unite!: The Florida Socialist Party during the Progressive Era, 1900-1920". The Florida Historical Quarterly. 86 (3): 347. JSTOR 25594628. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  12. ^ Salustri, Cathy (January 15, 2015). "Once a 'sundown town,' Gulfport reaches out to its black residents". Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. SouthComm. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Beckhard Hits Negro Bathing Beach Project". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. May 17, 1937. p. 6 – via Text of [town councilman Bruno] Beckhard's statement follows: '... In the first place Gulfport has never receded from the position it took when most of the men were fishing and women and children were left alone, that no negroes would be allowed within the town limits after sundown. This is not a matter of statute, it is merely a condition that no St. Petersburg negro questions. ...'
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing, Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). CPH-2-11, Florida. U.S. Census Bureau. September 2012. p. 62. LCCN 2013481440. Retrieved January 6, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  16. ^ GTV640 Information Page City of Gulfport. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  17. ^ Gulfport Public Library Accessed 03 March 2015.
  18. ^ [1] St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2011-10-04/
  19. ^ Gulfport's Cultural Facilities Accessed 03 Mar 2015.
  20. ^ Gulfport boasts great dining off the beaten path The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  21. ^ Counting down Tampa Bay's best bars: No. 60 to No. 41 St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  22. ^ Gritty town cleans up its act, retains its charm The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  23. ^ Gulfport pub seeking patron-designed label for new beer Archived 2009-07-15 at the Wayback Machine Bay News 9. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  24. ^ "Gulfport is Rand McNally finalist for one of America's best food towns - St. Petersburg Times". Archived from the original on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  25. ^ Gulfport Municipal Marina City web page with aerial photograph of marina. Retrieved 03 Mar 2015.
  26. ^ "Marine Patrol". Gulfport Police Department. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  27. ^ "Gulfport, Florida" Florida Back Roads Travel

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