Friday, October 2, 2009

Shuffleboard in Florida

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “This Place Matter’s Contest” photo contest has chosen finalists, and one is from Florida. Christine Page’s image of the Shuffleboard Club in St. Pete is one of 12 photos chosen from over 2,000 entries, including several of my own (see recent posts.) Voting lasts until October 9, click here to register to vote for your favorite (I'm partial to Miller's Grocery.)

Here's some good info on the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club: "It's not only the world's largest shuffleboard club – we're talking more than 60 courts – it's also one of the most historic. This is where the game came of age in the first half of the 20th century: At one time, the club boasted as many as 5,000 members. Now, the facility, like the sport itself, has lost some of its luster, but it still hosts a busy slate of tournaments. Best of all, it encourages everyday folks to participate. It costs all of a buck to play (equipment provided) and club members are often around to offer a pointer or two. Summer hours vary, so it pays to check ahead to see if the club is open." - Palm Beach Post, June 3, 2007

Shuffleboard is a large part of Florida’s popular culture, as the image of snowbirds and seniors in black socks and sandals playing shuffleboard is an image that will be forever tied to our state. These images from the state archives seem to perpetuate that stereotype....

Tin Can Tourists were vacationers who came to Florida in campers in the early 20th century. Here you see shuffleboard at a typical Tin Can Tourist Camp.

More Tin Can Shuffleboard

Ever stylish shuffleboarders take the sport to a whole new glamorous level.

It's hard in this day and age to think of Shuffleboard as a spectator sport, but evidently it once was... this is St. Pete.

I'm thinking she didn't actually play in those heels...

More spectator Shuffle board in St. Pete. From the "nose bleed" seats.

Shuffleboard at Cypress Gardens...

In 1924, the Kissimmee All-States Tourist Club, or KAST Club, was organized to attract tourists to the to the Kissimmee area. This senior citizens club, helped create the nearby Monument of States. That influence is apparent on the entry to the KAST Club’s shuffleboard courts, as it is made up of some of the same stones that are used on the monument. Today this court, like the one in St. Pete, stands testament to a simpler time in Florida and both are very much places that matter today...


  1. Thanks for featuring our "This Place Matters" contest. The Shuffleboard Club is such a great photo. One correction -- voting ends @ noon on October 9th! So vote early and often -- but not late

  2. Great post! I wonder if there were ticket scalpers at those shuffleboard tournaments.

  3. Sorry, I seem to be in hyper comment mode... but I really dig these images and the story behind this place... past time to bring back the glam of shuffleboard. :~)

  4. Rick, thank you for the Shuffleboard Club shout out! I've never seen photos of the KAST club. I love the stone work. I may need to take a field trip. PS: the city is getting ready to restore our "nosebleed section"! We got a new grandstand roof last week.

  5. Christine, if you dig the stonework on the KAST club, you need to see the Monument of States next to it! And I need to take a field trip to see the Shuffleboard club in St. Pete up close! There is a wonderful shuffleboard club near me in Orlando, but I'm waiting for the right light to photograph it.

  6. I didn't realize that other Florida cities did the whole states marketing. We still have the Festival of States every year. I will definitely check out the Monument of States! If you come see the club, come on a Friday night. We have free shuffleboard from 7-11pm. It's a very popular event here.

  7. The KAST club is now threatened with demolition: