Scale Model of the Royal Palms Hotel
on display at the Pinellas Park Historical Museum
Beaux Arts Place in History (Cultural Currency)
Working Timeline for Beaux Arts
1911 The Royal Palms hotel was built by Tom's Uncle Howard at the end of the railroad line, where the Ringling Barnun & Bailey Circus used to come to perform. The circus was the biggest entertainment at the time. Grandfather Livingstone was the engineer who laid out the city streets of St. Petersburg. They built the sidewalks out of wood. (Family History)
1917 Thomas Bruce Reese was born in Jeannette, Pennsylvania July 19th. The family moved to St, Petersburg Florida when he was young, where Tom attended schoool, sold magazines, worked in the local bakery, and at the Post Office.
1935-1937 After graduating high school he attended St. Pete JC, where he studied art and academics. He was worked for the Evening Independent as an art critic.
1938-1940 Tom continued his studies at Stetson University and graduated with a BFA. He studied art and dance at Ted Shawn's winter studio, and worked with Barton Mumaw.
1941-1945 Tom served in the Navy during WWII as a postmaster. While stationed overseas, he took advantage of the art schools in the area.
1948 -1949 After the war ended Tom attended CCAC in Oakland California on the GI bill, where he received his MFA in 1949. While there he worked with dancers in Berkeley and at the Oakland YMCA. Shortly after graduating he was called back to the Navy for a stint in the Korean war at Alexandria, Virginia, where he taught remedial reading.
1950 Tom moved back to St. Petersburg, worked at the St. Pete Independent as an artist , and turned the Royal Palms into the Contemporary Arts School and Gallery, hosted his first art contest and opened the first art movie house in Florida.
1952 With the help of Bill Wasel, Tom cleaned out the parlor, changed the name to Beaux Arts Gallery and Coffeehouse, and invited the folk singers, songwriters, and poets, as well as artists of national reknown, to perform on the weekends. Fred Neil, Vince Martin, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and Woody Guthrie
1960-1962 Jim Morrison recited poetry at Beaux Arts and was filmed in the garden at Beaux Arts while attending St. Petersburg Jr. College.
1964-1965 David Philhour - Stand up comic. Saw Fred Neil and Vince Martin (knew him from the Miami Coffee House scene). Also Oz Bach, who later became the bass player for Spanky and Our Gang.
1966 Henry Paul performed his first performance, before forming the Outlaws, and later Blackhawk. Henry's first album, recorded in 1970, included Richard Leps on Violin.
1967-1970 My time there. I knew Danny Finley aka Panama Red and Barry Sims. Other people who were probably there during that time: Gamble Rogers, Phil Larson. Buddy Klein, Rick Norcross, J.W. Fonte, Don Couch, Stanley Powell, G.E. Sassani, Barry Sims, Jack Kelly. Hitch Roney, John Eldridge from H.B Plant High School turned me onto it.
1968 I met Jordan Lederer, Hugh Van SkyHawk, and Celeste
1969 Buddy Helms met Danny and other Bethlehem Asylum musicians
Robert Christian Gandhi
1970 A lot of people moved to Miami. I moved to NY. Baldwin and Leps wer discovered on the sidewalk in NY by Vanguard Records.
1971 William Hubbell
1973 William Moriaty went with him sister Merry Moor Winnett and Sonny Lamp
July 1980's Fire gutted the main building.
July 1992 Paul Watkins in July 1992 events were held outside in the garden
Old building still in Pinellas Park. Jenny Neal moved it to her horse barn for a while.
July 1994 Final Sunday Show in Pinellas Park
1996 New Beaux Arts opens in St. Petersburg
1998 Tom's 83rd birthday party
1999 Veronika Jackson, Angela Sterling Forest, Donna Klein