ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — The iconic Don CeSar hotel celebrated the 95th anniversary of its opening on Monday.

The Don CeSar, also known as St. Pete Beach’s “Pink Palace,” was built in 1928 by real estate businessman Thomas Rowe as a tribute to a past love and a place for the rich to relax in leisure.

“Come across the bridge, you see The Don CeSar, the Gulf of Mexico, it kind of gives you a thrill,” said Chuck Bottke, a St. Pete Beach resident.

Back in its heyday, the hotel had some high-profile clients, including Clarence Darrow, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Babe Ruth.

However, after Thomas Rowe’s death in 1940, and during the onset of World War II, the hotel was repurposed as a military hospital.

After the war, the hospital became the VA headquarters. It was decommissioned in 1969 after years of disrepair.

“My father was in serving in World War II,” said Roz Bottke, another resident in St. Pete Beach. “My mother actually had her tonsils out when it was a hospital here.”

Fortunately, the Don CeSar was saved from demolition when a group of citizens pushed for it to be restored.

“There’s a lot of history there, you could feel it,” said Marie Shapiro, visiting from Boston.

In 1972, William Bowman took ownership of the building and restored it to its old glory at the cost of $3.5 million. By 1973, the hotel reopened as a fully functional resort.

Since then, the hotel has played host to film and television crews and bands.

And throughout it all, some say the ghost of Thomas Rowe still wanders the halls of the resort to this day.