St. Petersburg, Florida: Webb's City (Gone)"World's Most Unusual Drug Store" was the claim emblazoned on the business which began as a small store in 1925-26 by James Earl "Doc" Webb (Inventor of the Checkout Express Lane). It eventually sucked up 75+ stores in downtown St. Pete. Company closed in 1979.
- 9th St. and 2nd Ave. South.
- Gone since 1979.
Visitor Tips and News About Webb's City
Although Webb's City is now gone, it's not forgotten. The actual mermaid show was dismantled and is in storage. The historical society has plans to bring it back.[Oh THAT Brian!, 02/01/2011]
About that Webb's City mermaid show: When I went there, it wasn't a live mermaid, but a cheesy statue in a fish suit. When you walked into the room, a nearby clerk was signaled, and she could see in the room and had a speaker piped in so she could say things like, "Hey, big boy in the blue shirt. Meet me at the cove!" The mermaid statue still exists and is in some cocktail lounge in St. Petersburg. Maybe the mermaids were live before my time, and as Webb's City met its demise from the chain stores, perhaps the mermaid statue was their version of outsourcing. They were always ahead of their time![Bill Wiley, 10/20/2006]
I've been living in Pineallas county all my life and remember the Muffler Man on top of Webb's City that now stands on top of Starkey Road Auto Parts, still holding his two tires in his arms.
Back a couple of years ago the building he stood on burned to the ground. I remember thinking at the time "What happened to the "Big Guy" (That's the name they gave him) in the fire. Well as you know he was repainted and put back on his lofty perch. They use him in commercials all the time here. One of the lines they use in the ads (with the owner standing at his feet) is "I'm still the Big Guy at Starkey Road Auto Parts".
About Webb's City: If it was still around today it would make a good roadside stop. Touted as "The World's Most Unusual Drug Store" it sure was. I remember as a small boy going there for ice cream and going up to another floor where they had live Mermaids that you could talk to. And animals that would do tricks for you if you would put a coin in the contraption. It was quite a neat place back then but all I think that is left of it is the Big Guy.[John W., 01/17/1999]