Serving South Tampa
City Times: Published Fridays by the St. Petersburg Times

printer version

He left his mark on the city

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 15, 2002

Peter O. Knight had a hand in creating more than the Davis Islands airport.

Freeburg, Pa., native Peter O. Knight could have had a lot of things named after him. He finally scored with the municipal airport at the southern edge of Davis Islands, land he helped the city acquire in 1934.

Reknowned for his brilliant legal mind and forensic skills, he established himself as a force in Florida politics by serving as mayor of Fort Myers and helping incorporate the town by age 21. Knight moved to Tampa in 1891 after serving in the state Legislature.

A lawyer by trade, his list of clients would soon read like a Who's Who of Tampa power brokers: Exchange National Bank of Tampa (which he helped found), Tampa Livery and Sale Co., Tampa Gas Co., Ybor City Land and Investment Co., Consumers' Electric Light and Street Railway Co. (of which he also was vice president).

Knight helped organize the Tampa Suburban Co., which would later evolve into Tampa Electric Co., of which he was president from 1924 to 1946. The Tampa Gas Co.? He helped create that too. But Knight was most powerful as the attorney for the Seaboard Line, a conglomerate of rail lines that, with Knight's help, transformed much of the downtown's waterfront into a thriving port in the early 1900s.

He died in 1946 at age 80.

The middle initial that lends a faux Irish flair actually stands for Oliphant.

City Times: The rest of the stories
  • Oh, so hip
  • Colonnade waitress has luck on her side
  • No place for this billboard
  • Starting young at socializing
  • Another Starbucks? Rumor mill says its so
  • Restoring history
  • He left his mark on the city
  • 'Golden boy' was everyday hero to pals
  • Datebook
  • Get your skating right here
  • The roots of learning
  • Accessory Girl
  • Should historic neighborhood get hip?
  • Collectors' purchases play part in restoration
  • Home for elderly clears a hurdle
  • Coffee shop brewing at waterfront apartments
  • Festival to highlight islands life
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111

    The Weather
    current temp: 82 °
    real feel: 89 °
    Weather page