Clearwater, Florida

CLEARWATER, FLORIDAEARLY HISTORY

According to Wikipedia, one of the early tribes that resided in the area now known as Clearwater, Florida, was the Tocobaga peoples.

In the early history of the area now referred to as Clearwater, Florida, there were clear springs that led from the banks of Clearwater into the bay.  These springs no longer exist.  The banks were located upon the high bluffs where is now located city hall and downtown Clearwater.  The early settlers referred to Clearwater as Clearwater Harbor, ostensibly because of the clear quality of the waters.

The Spanish explorer named Hernando De Soto arrived at the Pinellas Peninsula in 1528.  It is not agreed by historians as to the exact location of De Soto’s arrival.  However, it is argued that he arrived at Clearwater Harbor.  Later, De Soto died in a storm while traversing Florida by foot with a group of soldiers.

In 1539, De Soto landed at Tampa Bay.  Later, Pedro Menendez came to Florida in 1567, to the Tampa region, seeking a path across Florida.  Menendez brought with him 10 missionaries to establish missions throughout the region.  One of the missions established by the Jesuits was created in Safety Harbor.  According to historians, the remaining missionaries died in battles with the Florida natives.  No settlers came to the region until the 1800s.

One of the first European settlers to the Clearwater area was Dr. Odet Philippe.  Philippe served under Napolean Bonaparte.  Philippe established the St Helena Plantation in what is now known as Safety Harbor.  His daughter married Richard Booth.

Florida became a territory in 1822.  The government constructed the original Fort Harrison as a recuperation center for soldiers.  The United States Army began construction of the Fort Harrison, during the Seminole Wars, according to Wikipedia.  Fort Harrison was abandoned in 1841.  The fort is commemorated by a plaque located on Druid Road in downtown Clearwater.

The Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 granted 160 acres of land to any single man or head of the family that would bear arms and occupies the land.  Among the early settlers to Clearwater were Samuel Stephenson and James Stevens.  Soon thereafter, James Parramore McMullen and six of his brothers settled in the Clearwater area.  McMullen is a prominent name in Clearwater and his the family for whom McMullen Booth Road is named.  Richard Booth was of the family from whom the Booth portion of McMullen Booth Road is derived.

Most early settlers farmed cotton and vegetables.  The Clearwater Bay was plentiful in terms of fish and other sustenance.

A road connecting Hillsborough County and Tampa was first built in 1849.

The first Clearwater area school was the Taylor School, which was built in the early 1850s.  The Taylor School was located in the proximity of Druid Road and Hercules Avenue.  Clearwater Harbor’s first school was built in 1883.

The first post office at Clearwater Harbor was built in 1859.  The first postmaster was David Turner.

During the Civil War, according to Wikipedia, Union gunboats allegedly would often raid the Clearwater communities supplies, as such location was largely unattended by able-bodied men to contest such actions.

The first railroad in Clearwater was built in 1888.  At the time, Clearwater Harbor only possessed 18 families.  Henry Plant later built a railroad through Pinellas County.  A plant also built numerous hotels, including the Belleview Biltmore, in 1897, to service the passengers on his trains.

Clearwater grew steadily and then rapidly in the early 1920s.  Both tourists and settlers found Clearwater attractive because of its climate.  There was a real estate boom in the early 1920s that continued until around 1927.  The Great Depression occurred soon thereafter, in 1929.

The City of Clearwater was officially incorporated on May 27, 1915.  Previously, Clearwater, Largo, and St Petersburg were part of Western Hillsborough County.  However, as the respective locales grew in size and population, there was growing demand for local rule.  Pinellas County was created on January 1, 1912.  Clearwater was designated the county seat.

Clearwater BeachAndrew Carnegie made a grant to Clearwater in 1916, enabling the city to build its first library.  In 1916, the city also built the first wooden bridge connecting the mainland and Clearwater Beach.  Morton F Plant, the son of Henry Plant was a large donator and participant in the raising of money for the first hospital in Clearwater in 1914.

Clearwater continued to grow.  In 1950, Clearwater contained 15,000 residents.

The Philadelphia Phillies began spring training in Clearwater, Florida in the 1940s.  Currently, the Philadelphia Phillies have a stadium in Clearwater which is located at the intersection of US 19 North and Drew Street.  The stadium was previously named Brighthouse Field.  However, in 2017, upon the sale of Brighthouse companies to Spectrum, the stadium is now called Spectrum Field.

Clearwater was an important training base during World War II.  Troops that received training in Clearwater were usually assigned to European and Pacific Campaigns.  The majority of the hotels in Clearwater were used to house such troops, including the Fort Harrison Hotel and the Biltmore Hotel.  At night in downtown Clearwater, there were frequent planned blackouts, designed to confuse enemy bombers.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON CLEARWATER

Clearwater is the name of a City called Clearwater, in the State of Florida.  Clearwater is located in Pinellas County, nd is one of the largest cities in Pinellas County, including the Cities of St Petersburg, Largo, and Tarpon Springs.  According to a census conducted in 2010, the City of Clearwater has a population of 107,685.  Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County.

The City of Clearwater has an estimated total area of 39 square miles, of which approximately 35% of which is water, with the remainder constituting land.  Clearwater, Florida has a generally humid, and hot, tropical climate.

The average income in the City of Clearwater per household is $36,000, according to the 2000 census.  The median income for a family was $46,000 according to the same census.

The median age of persons residing in Clearwater is 42 years according to the same 2000 census.  English is spoken by about 84% of residents of Clearwater.  Approximately 8% of Clearwater residents speak Spanish, followed by Greek at a little over 1%.  This is according to persons who speak such languages as their primary or first language.

CLEARWATER TODAY

The City of Clearwater has grown steadily over the many years.  As of the 2010 Census, Clearwater had a population of 107,685.  Of the three major cities that comprise the region referred to as the Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan region, Clearwater is the smallest.

Coachman Park is located close to the center of downtown Clearwater and fronts the intercoastal between the mainland that is Clearwater and the Clearwater Beach region, which is a constellation of islands close to the mainland.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a popular attraction for those visiting Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.  The popularity of the movie, “The Dolphin Tale” has undoubtedly attracted numerous persons to the Clearwater Aquarium.  Winter and Hope, the dolphins, are among the more popular marine animals residing at the Aquarium.

The Clearwater Aquarium in 2017, in conjunction with State and other governmental grants, built a large parking garage next to the Aquarium.  The construction of the garage was the source of some opposition from local residents, including those living in the vicinity of the Clearwater Aquarium.

Clearwater, Florida is one of the two more prominent locations for the Church of Scientology.  According to Wikipedia, Clearwater is the worldwide spiritual headquarters for Scientology.  In 1975, Scientology relocated its international religious headquarters to Clearwater.  Prior to the opening of the Flag Building in 2013, the Church of Scientology restored, renovated, or built 1.2 million square feet of property in Clearwater.

The Church of Scientology currently owns 22 buildings in downtown Clearwater.  According to one report, more than 2,300 Church staff members work in Clearwater and thousands of more followers of Scientology reside in Clearwater.

Among the more prominent buildings owned by Scientology in downtown Clearwater is the Staff Building, which was completed in 2013.  The Staff building is connected by a suspended walkway, to the Fort Harrison Hotel.  The Fort Harrison is also owned by the Church of Scientology.  The Fort Harrison was once occupied by the Rolling Stones.  Allegedly, the Rolling Stones wrote the song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” while staying at the Fort Harrison Hotel.

Although downtown Clearwater fell into much malaise during especially the 1970s, the downtown has been steadily become more robust and active.  From the population relating to the functions and activities of the Church of Scientology, and more private business activity, and construction, downtown Clearwater has changed tremendously.

The infamous Capitol and Royalty Theatre in downtown Clearwater was recently renovated.  The Royal Theatre attracts many musical and other artists, of some renown, to its location.

Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the annual Jazz Festival.

Downtown Clearwater is about 2 miles from Clearwater Beach, and six miles from Dunedin, Florida.  The marina across from Coachman Park has numerous ferries, where travelers or tourists can take a boat ride from the mainland of Clearwater to numerous locations around Clearwater Beach, including the Clearwater Aquarium, the Beaches, and the dining district.

FAMOUS CLEARWATER RESIDENTS

Among the residents of Clearwater who may be considered famous or “known” persons, is Hulk Hogan, the wrestler, Kirstie Alley, the actress, Evel Knievel, the stuntman, Lynn Stewart, a co-founder of Hooters restaurants, and Jim Morrison, of the Doors.

Hulk Hogan as of 2017, still lives in Clearwater, according to the knowledge of this writer.  Jim Morrison was alleged to have taken a number of classes at St Petersburg Community College, but his ties to Clearwater are not strong.

Evel Knievel lived in Clearwater, Florida for many years and was one of the more visible celebrities to have resided in Clearwater.  Evel Knievel had a pickup truck which was painted according to the Knievel logo, of stars, with blue and red.  Evel Knievel also enjoyed riding his motorcycle.

The author had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Knievel outside the Suntrust Bank on East Bay in Largo, Florida.  In the opinion of the writer, in terms of the meeting, Mr. Knievel was a gracious and polite gentleman.  He was the real deal, Evel Knievel.

Perhaps, the most famous and accomplished resident of Clearwater, Florida was Jay Weller.  Jay Weller was a recognized bankruptcy attorney, who created a legal empire that spanned the State of Florida.  Mr. Weller was also the artistic center of a music group called Beggars At The Gate, which has earned acclaim throughout the world, for its musical and artistic creations.

CLEARWATER SUMMARY

Clearwater, Florida is generally a pleasant place to live.  Clearwater has many restaurants and attractions both for tourists and residents.  Clearwater Beach is probably one of the most visited beaches in the United States.  Clearwater Beach has been named the best beach in the United States on numerous occasions.  Fort De Soto beach, which is located closer to St Petersburg, is another popular beach, but remains more natural, with no looming condominiums or structures.

Clearwater beach is often the center of much commercial, resident, and tourist activity in the vicinity of Clearwater.  Clearwater Beach hosts a number of well-attended events including power boat racing, the annual sandcastle festival, and many other events.

Close to Clearwater, Florida is Dunedin.  Dunedin has a certain small town appeal, which ironically, makes it popular with many thousands of annual visitors.  Dunedin is known as a community with large offerings of artists, musicians, and artisans.

Clearwater is bordered to the South by Largo, Florida.  The area surrounding Clearwater has become so heavily populated that the entire County of Pinellas has merged into one large urban area.

This article is probably the largest single collection of information relating to Clearwater as such information exists on the internet in 2017.  The writer hopes that this article has been helpful in gaining some understanding of the area known as Clearwater, Florida in the year 2017.  Thank you for your consideration.