Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Tiki Gardens, Indian Rocks Beach/Indian Shores, FL (restaurant)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 144 replies

Name:Tiki Gardens
City:Indian Rocks Beach/Indian Shores

See http://www.exotic-tiki-gardens.com for a fairly
succinct history of Tiki Gardens.

I have just finished digitizing 5 packs of
Pana View slides of Tiki Gardens.

Here are some click-able thumbnails with descriptions.These are views of
some familiar (seen from unfamiliar vantage points) and some rarely seen Tiki Gardens landmarks.

The Tiki Gardens Sign on Gulf to Bay Blvd. The first thing you would have seen on your approach.

The Signal House Shops. This sign read "Tiki Gardens" on the opposite side.
The Signal House was home to several gift shops.

The interior of "The Great Hall" a pretty sizable gift shop with some quite cool items. Note the hanging ashtrays.

A very cool Witco looking Tiki on the counter by the register.

A very Shag Like Tiki on a shelf above the register.

This shot shows a rear view of the three A-frames of the shops. Behind the small palms, and just to the left of the "Trader Frank's" arrow sign sits Kahona. At the far middle left of the picture you can see a white item. Its rear of the muscle man/wahine cut out that you could have your picture taken with your head sticking out so it looks like you are the muscle man or wahine.

Kahona The Supreme Tiki God of Tiki Gardens seen in the daily torch lighting ceremony.

The Side of Trader Frank's Restaurant. It is possible that the woman on the walkway is Jo Byars, Trader Frank's wife.

The Interior of Trader Frank's.

The elusive Fishing God Tiki in all his glory. Depicted on one Tiki Gardens brochure as a drawing, and seen in small photos.

Menehune Island. Located in Tiki Lagoon, just below Lono the Water God. Note the Treasure Craft ceramic Tiki.

More added soon.

Heres a link to the remaing scrapbook pages from the old site. They were saved from earthlink destruction because they had a diiferent email account linked to them.


[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2007-01-06 15:33 ]

Aaaah, Scott, what a tease, what a tease! Blow them up, blow them up! I want to seeeeee. :)
That cool Tiki on the counter ist ein Vitco, of course.


Fantastic! Are you going to add these on your Tiki Gardens site?

On 2007-01-06 07:21, bigbrotiki wrote:
Aaaah, Scott, what a tease, what a tease! Blow them up, blow them up! I want to seeeeee. :)
That cool Tiki on the counter ist ein Vitco, of course.

The pics should work as thumbnails. Place your cursor over them and click.
Tell me if that doesn't work. If it doesn't, I'll add the pics in a larger form.

But heres a couple just for you. All big like.

"Long Ears" Up close and personal. Notice that this isn't the "Long Ears" seen on Tiki Gardens postcards That one has a stern straight mouth. This fellow has a rather contented smile.

Closer in on the Trader Frank's pic.

I call him "Bastard Suffering"

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2007-01-06 12:13 ]

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2007-01-06 12:15 ]

On 2007-01-06 07:38, MrBaliHai wrote:
Fantastic! Are you going to add these on your Tiki Gardens site?

At some point I plan yet another redesign of the site.
When I get to that point, I plan on using the new images.

If anyone needs and slides transferred, let me know.
I gots me a nifty little gizmo.

On 2007-01-06 12:06, TikiGardener wrote:
The pics should work as thumbnails. Place your cursor over them and click.

Errr...I knew that! :D

Aaah, beautiful indeed! I always loved that store name "Boutiki", are there any slides with that visible on a sign?

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-01-06 13:00 ]

On 2007-01-06 12:36, TikiGardener wrote:

On 2007-01-06 07:38, MrBaliHai wrote:
Fantastic! Are you going to add these on your Tiki Gardens site?

At some point I plan yet another redesign of the site.
When I get to that point, I plan on using the new images.

Let me know when your redesign is finished, and I'll gladly link to it on my front page.

On 2007-01-06 12:46, bigbrotiki wrote:
Errr...I knew that! :D

Aaah, beautiful indeed! I always loved that store name "Boutiki", are there any slides with that visible on a sign?

None that I see.

Perhaps some day one will surface. I'm glad that we finally get a look inside the
shop in the main A-frames. I dig the sunlights. Nice geometric pattern they form.

And the large images are only the 1 meg version.
Since the images are originally 5 megs, I photoshopped
them, and then converted them down. The originals while still
having decent colour, had red shifted quite a bit.

Praise technology for photoshop!!!

I can't wait to print some of these up and frame them.

Tiki Gardens Memorial Website.

Heres an example of how much of a red shift the
slides had to them.


On 2007-01-06 23:43, TikiGardener wrote:
Heres an example of how much of a red shift the
slides had to them.

I'd assume these slides weren't shot on Kodachrome film, since that seems to retain the most color stability over the years, while brands like Ektachrome and Fuji fade very quickly.

Weblog: Eye of the Goof

[ Edited by: MrBaliHai 2007-01-07 06:30 ]

The color restoration work is fabulous, Gardens...truly a labor of love. Wonderful.

Oro the Wind God Tiki.

The Tahiti Hut.

A good shot of The Monkey Village.

Lono and Tiki Lagoon.

The Sun Temple.

Fire Mountain.

The Fishing nets and Hukilau Shack.

A Tree Fern Tiki. Not the same one as pictured on postcards.

Long Ears. This is the one that was featured on postcards.

What eye candy! That Kon-Tiki temple one is fab, wish I would have had THAT one for page 119 in the BOT, you can see the sun god's famous logo mask in this one!


Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks again for sharing.

Yikes! That looked like a bloody battle...good they have a payment plan!

But since when is e-bay doing THIS?:

"As the internet evolves, eBay continues to strike a balance between preserving transparency and protecting our Community of members. eBay has decided to change how bid history information is displayed so bad guys cannot target bidders with fake offers using this information. In certain cases, some bidders will no longer be able to view Bidder User IDs on the Bid History page. Your User ID will be shown only to you and the seller of the item you're bidding on. Other members will see an anonymous name, such as Bidder 1, applied consistently to the Bid History page."

Bummer, now I can't see which friends are bidding, and which won!

I saw that ebay policy also... kinda weird.

But hey if the winner was from TC, I'd love a nice clear shot of that!

Here is an early brochure for the Tiki Gardens. I find it interesting after reading Tiki Gardner's website that this is from The Signal House. When did they change to just Tiki Gardens?

The signal House was originally the shop Trader Frank and Jo byars had. A fire burnt it to the ground. But what remained largely unscathed was a small polynesian garden that Trader Frank had planted. They decided to rebuild the Signal House shops bigger and better, and to massively expand Trader Frank's "Tiki" Gardens.

But the main shop was still called The Signal House. Along with the Basket House, Boutiki, The Oriental House, The Tahiti Hut, etc etc...

Nice Flyer by the way! Might I use it for the site if I can ever get around to redesigining all the pages earthlink lost?


to see all that remains now just click this 360 degree link.


Hey Tiki Gardner- no problem. Let me know if you want larger images...


Yahoo maps of the site as it is now. You can see the one remaing inlet (lagoon). And lots of parking lot.


The following is a little excerpt of why I've maintained some form of Memorial to Tiki Gardens for the last 7 years. I recieved an email from someone who had spent a memorable visit to Tiki Gardens many years ago...

"I was absolutley thrilled to see this website here and it definatley brought back alot of memories for me.Thank you for making this time possible,you,ll never know how much it meant to actually relive those times through these pictures on this site,it amost like its still there.Thank you soo much again...."


Well, long ago when I was first compiling the memorial, there was a referance in a quote by Trader Frank to a sign describing the legend of the Tiki Gods. I never thought I'd get an image og that sign... But...

A little photoshopped, but there we go.

Great sign! There you have it! It's all due to those white men with big boners!


...wait, did I misread something?


Heres my rework of a pin I have from Tiki Gardens...

I use it now for my myspace "thanks for the add" image.

I wanted to post the link to the Florida State Photo archive. They have some awesome vintage photos of Tiki Gardens as well as other roadside attractions.

Sputnik Housewares....Jetset Furnishings from the Atomic Age!

[ Edited by: sputnikmoss 2009-01-12 12:01 ]

On 2009-01-12 12:00, sputnikmoss wrote:
I wanted to post the link to the Florida State Photo archive. They have some awesome vintage photos of Tiki Gardens as well as other roadside attractions.

What a great site! I was born and raised on the panhandle and I just cruised the search for some memories, and i found this photo of the Billy Bowlegs festival in 1969 that took place in my hometown, Fort Walton...

Hey, I thought that Crazy Al was younger than me?

not my auction......but did anyone else get one of these on ebay?? they are supposedly vintage dead stock....there are a few left.


[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2009-01-13 16:51 ]

[ Edited by: tipsy mcstagger 2009-01-14 05:19 ]

On 2009-01-13 16:49, Tipsy McStagger wrote:
not my auction......but did anyone else get one of these on ebay??


Thanks for the tip, I snagged one.


A little Tiki Gardens goodness from my postcard collection. The first six are individual cards. Enjoy!
Trader Frank's

Interior shot.

The gardens

The Parakeet Bell Tower.

The Garden Chapel.

Tiki Lagoon.

These next five are all from a card folder.

"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2009-01-26 18:21 ]

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2009-01-26 18:22 ]

Thought I would put a larger image up for Trader Frank's


I started playing on the google timeline - man does it suck up the hours!

I found this great article on Tiki Gardens from the St. Petersburg Times, March 1, 1964.

I tried to sharpen it and put it together so that it was easier to read, and improved the photo a little, but then I realized that TC must limit picture size, because I can't get the article big enough to read here. So, since I can't sleep tonight, here's the text:

1963 Fire Destroyed 14-Year Attraction

Signal House, Tiki Gardens Near Completion in Polynesian Style

Indian Rocks Beach South Shore - The Signal House, for 14 years an attraction here, before a fire last May, has been rebuilt by owners Frank and Jo Byars.

Now operating with 16,000 square feet of floor space, compared to the 11,000 at the time of the fire, the gift shop has been changed into a series of tropical buildings built around the old Tiki Gardens.

The main building faces Gulf Boulevard and is crowned with three high pitched roofs, in south pacific architecture. The main entrance leads into the International Shop, which combines a lobby type area and the offices. Mahogany paneled, with glass front and rear walls, the area is centered with an unusual lighting fixture of three chandeliers which drop 30 feet from the pitched ceiling.

Off the main lobby is the Polynesian Shop. On the other side of the lobby is the oriental Shop, entered through a gold and black Moon Gate. To the rear is the Basket and Furniture Mart, which contains one of Florida's largest selection of baskets. Just completed, to the rear of the Mart and now circling the garden, is the Florida House which contains souvenirs and novelties.

Still to be built around the shopping mall is Trader Frank's Snack Bar, where light meals will be served, and the Lotus House, which will offer oriental party foods and gourmet items.

The Tahiti Hut, on the far side of the mall, features Polynesian merchandise that is "way out and wild" according to Byars. Also built since the fire are large warehouses to store merchandise as it arrives from all parts of the world.

Nearing completion now is the entirely new attraction, Tiki Gardens, situated on almost four acres on the bay adjacent to the Signal House. Mrs. Byars, who has created the designs for the buildings and gardens, says the new Tiki Gardens will be a Polynesian Paradise in Florida. They include tropical plantings of shrubs and trees, birds, monkeys, a fire mountain, islands, and a waterfall.

Photo caption: They Rebuilt Tiki Gardens - Frank and Jo Byars opened their new Tiki Gardens at the Signal House in Indian Rocks Beach yesterday for a sneak preview before the formal opening March 15. A fire last May nearly destroyed the attraction.


[ Edited by: Mo-Eye 2009-04-22 04:04 ]

[ Edited by: Mo-Eye 2009-04-22 04:16 ]

[ Edited by: Mo-Eye 2009-04-22 04:44 ]

Great work, much appreciated. I noticed that that search engine is very St Petersburg Times-heavy. Is that because they just used the terms Tiki and Polynesian more than anyone back then?

Found places (and ads for them) on that engine that I had never heard about, like the Outrigger Inn, and Guy Lombardo's Port of Call ...(!?)


I think its a little bit of both.

There are dozens of great articles about this place, and a few other good ones, that I'll post as time allows. I did notice that their OCR program doesn't work that great, and when you just search the word "tiki" it will bring back a lot of other 3 and 4 letter words that start with "t". Still, a lot of little gems to discover there.


Here is another article with some good info from the St. Petersburg Times, Aug. 25 1963.

Byars Family Builds New Tiki Gardens

Indian Rocks Beach South Shore - Tiki Gardens are now under construction by Jo and Frank Byars, owners of the Signal House which was devastated by fire last spring.

The new gardens, which will be offered to the public on a paid admission basis, are now under development adjacent to the old Signal House and will reflect the Polynesian Atmosphere ans way of life in gardens filled with exotic plants and flowers from all over the world.

Included in the gardens will be a man made lake, four wild life islands connected by oriental bridges and flowered walkways; cascading waterfalls; and an 18 foot volcanic mountain to complete the south Sea atmosphere.

Landscape architect Robert Lewis Malkin of St. Petersburg has designed the gardens' topographical development and plant placement. Working with Malkin and Mrs. Byars is Virgil Meares, co-owner of Indian Rocks Nurseries, who is now gathering the tropical plants which will make Tiki Gardens an Unusual Showplace.

The present Tiki Gardens with its Tiki gods designed by Gordon Keith Originals of Columbus Ohio, will be the focal point of the new main Signal House building, six specialty shops and a tropic restaurant - "Trader Frank's."

Patterened after the world renowned International Market Place in Honolulu, the gift shops, restaurant and the new gardens are scheduled for opening near the first of December. The first of the garden shops, the Tahiti Hut, is already open to the public.

The entire development will cover a total of seven acres overlooking the bay and Gulf of Mexico.

The article included a photo of construction, but the scan is so bad on google that it's not worth trying to save here. Also, only shows the Byars and the Malkin with a dirt background - no tiki images!


Now, here is something really interesting -

The guy who designed the tikis - Gordon Keith Originals - is still in business. They have a website and everything.


I just sent them an email....


ahhhhh, i remember going to tiki gardens when i was much younger. my aunt lived about 1 block away from it.


I found this booklet a couple weeks back and figured I would share a little.
It is a booklet called "Trader Frank's Exotic Menu Recipe's".
It was available at Tiki Gardens and was drawn, published and printed by Jo Miller Byars (Mrs.Trader Frank) and has a copyright of 1967.

Here's a picture of the cover:

Cool cover!

Inside the book:

Here's the preface page:

Nice picture on the contents page of the outside of Trader Frank's:

The following picture is at the beginning of the beverage pages:

Each page is decorated with little drawings that Mrs. Trader Franks did for the book. Kind of neat and a little personal touch that makes this booklet kind of cool.

I won't go through the whole booklet as that is pretty much it for photos. The rest of the pages have all the recipe's for drinks, desserts, lunches, dinners, salads, how to prepare dinner and Hawaiian words to remember. anybody needs something, let me know.

Here is a close up of my favorite shot in the book as it shows the inside of the restaurant and has the man himself, Trader Frank, sitting at a table!

I love this shot!! Check out the table fully loaded! You can clearly see coconut mugs with glasses in them and also the famous peanut styled PMP mugs! These same two mugs are drawn on the cover in the first photo as well. Also, note the large Tiki, glass float and plenty of bamboo and tapa cloth.

Mahalo, TabooDan

Thanks for scanning all that, Dan, a Tiki Folk art classic!


No problem Bigbro!!

I didn't see too many actual collectibles on here (besides paper) from Tiki Gardens so here's a couple I have seen around.

Moai Tiki Mug by Daga:

The "Lono" Tiki Logo and name on the reverse:

I always liked this style of Moai mug. They were used at quite a few different places.

Next one is a pretty touristy souvenir type of mug with the logo:

I lost my pictures of the Trader Franks shot glass so maybe someone can post it here. They are pretty common. It would be cool to see what else is out there besides the unbelievable amount of different postcards. I know there's more out there!


..i lost the auction for 2 tiki gardens coconut mugs recently on ebay.....they were very cool....never saw them before


Hey Tipsy, Yeehhhh........that's right! Forgot about those! They were very cool and I too had not seen them before.
That's why I saved the picture:

They look like they may have been Daga coconut mugs but hard to say.
Close up:

I think $106.00 took them which really isn't too bad for both of them. The auctions have been all over the place recently on Ebay so it's hard to say what they would sell for individually but they are probably a guaranteed sale to go over $50 each everytime they are offered.

I also saw one of these cool coasters, probably from Trader Franks, offered not too long ago:

I hadn't seen these before either so it's good to see some items other than the postcards. Not that the postcards aren't pretty cool themselves just more commonly seen.


Another great glass from Tiki Gardens.

And the place mat



I have one of the Tiki Gardens coconut mugs just like the above post. I found it in a junk shop in Alton Il, back in 2001. I paid the royal sum of $2.00 for it. Unfortunately, I have never seen another. That is how it is around here, if you find it you'll probably get a good deal for it. The finding it is the hard part.

So you're from St. Louis, eh? Good, we need local Tiki agents to dig up photos of the Trader Vic's A-frame exterior with those giant Tikis! And current pictures of the entrance of whatever restaurant is in there -- IF the building is till standing.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 144 replies