Gresh Wood Parade
Earl Gresh was a man of many careers: a bandleader, WSUN radio's first announcer, a boat builder, a fisherman, an editor. But, in the Great Depression of the 1930's, it was his talent for woodworking that pulled him through.
In 1931, working out of a small shop behind his house at 232 12th Avenue Northeast in Saint Petersburg, Earl began making a living fashioning wooden buttons, lures, purses, and tackleboxes and selling them to locals and tourists alike. His products caught on, enabling him to move to a larger gift shop at 2221 Fourth Street North in 1937.
It was here that, in 1940, he built his Wood Parade, a museum of wood featuring samples of woods from around the world. A large cypress tree stump formed the centerpiece of his museum, but his crowning work was the sixteen half-size marquetry murals that depicted the life of Christ. (These were later moved to Memorial Park Mausoleum at 49th Street and 54th Avenue North).
With the Sunshine Skyway diverting cars to 34th Street and reduced tourist traffic, the Wood Parade closed in 1959.
In his later years Earl devoted himself to fishing, founding the St. Petersburg Rod and Gun Club. He died in 1977 at the age of 81.
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Photo courtesy Florida State Archives Photographic Collection.
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