The SPHS Archives


Izzy Welch

“The Archives Room features everything there is to know about the roots of St. Pete High.”

Students of St. Petersburg High School walk the halls, unaware of the treasured history within their reach. Underclassmen and upperclassmen alike walk to their classes without realizing the importance of the artifacts in their access. Within the walls of our school, unbeknownst to many of our students, is the Archives Room, a documentation of St. Pete High’s history. 9th grader Lauren McClung was “surprised to hear that we had an Archives Room that [she] didn’t know about.”

The Archives Room contains an abundance of artifacts that pertain to our school’s lengthy past. Whether you have an interest in music, journalism, band, or sports, you can acquire interesting facts about St. Pete High’s history in relation to the activities that you enjoy. The Archives Room is located in Room 1-201 on the second floor of the main building. Our historic school has worked on revamping the Archives Room by making it more educational and accessible to the student body. Norah Craig, an 11th-grade IB student, experienced the Archives Room and claims that “it was really cool to see all the generations that have gone through the school, the history that [she] didn’t know the school had.”

Along with the rest of the school, the Archives Room has undergone many renovations in the past couple of years. For instance, the Southern wall of the room is furnished by three sets of glass doors on glass walls leading out to a balcony that overlooks 5th Avenue North. Previously, this balcony had an AC unit and the breathtaking doors were concealed by cabinets. Now, the Archives Room is taking advantage of the architecture by highlighting its beauty. Prior to the extensive school-wide renovations over the past three years, our principal, Darlene Lebo explained how “there used to be a [wooden] storefront” that you walked through to access the main part of the room. This was taken down to create a more open and accessible floor plan. 

The history of the Archives Room dates back to its founding by Bob Pfeiffer, a 1933 alumnus. Bob Pfeiffer, also known as “Mr. Green Devil,” established the Archives Room to showcase the earliest years of the school’s history. He is also the inspiration for our current Devil mascot. The Archive Room is “decked out” with Pfeiffer paraphernalia– his portrait statue, his devil hand puppet, his class ring collection, and the “Green Devil” suit that he often wore to sports games, pep rallies, and parades. Bob Pfeiffer was very dedicated to the St. Pete High spirit and the local community.

The Archives Room features everything there is to know about the roots of St. Pete High. You can learn about the 1898 origin of the school and the 1926 founding of the current main building. According to Mrs. Lebo, “this year’s 9th-grade class will be the class of 2026, so they’ll be the centennial class graduating from this building.” There are framed photos along the wall of the old Mirror Lake building that St. Pete High originated in, prior to moving into the current location. Also, featured in an elegant glass box, is a model of the recent renovation that the school underwent.

Beside the entrance to the Archives Room are bookshelves full of yearbooks dating back to 1921 and notable copies of the Palmetto & Pine newspaper from 1912. Students can also view the St. Petersburg High School Athletic Wall of Fame, which features photos and names of outstanding athletes that have gone through our school. Alongside these artifacts, there is a myriad of other interesting things that you can learn about our school. 

The Archives Room has an impressive collection of history, however, the featured artifacts in the room do not begin to display the extent of the historic collection that the school is in possession of. A large amount of the artifacts are held at the St. Petersburg History Museum. The staff at the museum are working on improving the Archives Room by establishing a rotation for different artifacts and creating a professional exhibition. Alumni and current students can donate to the Archives Room by contacting the school secretary, Karen Roehm.

St. Petersburg High School history teacher and alumnus, Michael Beam, is very familiar with the history within the Archives Room. Mr. Beam’s parents worked at the school and he visited the Archives Room often because “history is important to [them]” and his dad liked to “teach [him] traditions and stories.” When he attended St. Pete High, he “knew more than the average student” about the Archives Room because of his family’s history with the school. Mr. Beam would recommend for students to visit the Archives Room as he did.

If you haven’t already paid a visit, it would be worth the trip. Some teachers have taken their students to the Archives Room to research their school’s history. Mrs. Hack, for instance, took her IB Theory of Knowledge classes to explore the archives. Student-athletes can also do their college signings aside the notorious Athletic Wall of Fame. If you are interested in touring the Archives Room, talk to your history or TOK teachers about scheduling a walk-through during class!