Timeline of Pinellas County, Florida history

Timeline of Pinellas County, Florida history.

900 - 1842

  • 1835 Odet Phillippe homesteads at or near former site of Tocobaga village in present day Safety Harbor. .
  • 1841 Fort Harrison opens on Clear Water Harbor as rest and recreation post for soldiers from Fort Brooke. .

1843 - 1906

  • 1843 Antonio Maximo Hernandez settles on what is now Maximo point in St. Petersburg. .
  • 1848 Egmont Key lighthouse is built only to be destroyed later that year by the Great Gale, which flooded much of Pinellas. .
  • 1855 Public school opens on land donated by John Taylor on site of present Clearwater High School. .
  • 1859 Clear Water Harbor (later Clearwater, Florida) becomes first community on Pinellas. The first post office in Pinellas established there. .
  • 1861 - 1865 American Civil War.
  • 1868 Anna Germain and John Donaldson are the first African-Americans to settle in lower Pinellas. . Road opens from Yellow Bluff (Ozona, Florida) to Tampa. .
  • 1869 Organized hunting parties strive to eradicate black bears and Florida panthers that threaten Pinellas cattle industry. .
  • 1876 “Pinellas Village” obtains first post office in what is now St. Petersburg. .
  • 1884 Disston City (future Gulfport) plat filed. .
  • 1885 Pinellas's healthsome climate extolled at American Medical Society convention in New Orleans. .
  • 1886 First house on Passe-a-Grille Island built. .
  • 1887 Tarpon Springs became the first incorporated city on the peninsula. The Orange Belt Railroad arrives bringing growth to Pinellas. .
  • 1888 St. Petersburg, Florida platted, named in honor of St. Petersburg, Russia the hometown of Orange Belt Railroad owner Peter Demens. Railroad reaches St. Petersburg. .
  • 1890 Tampa Bay Ice Company begins operations, greatly aiding the local fishing industry. .
  • 1892 St. Petersburg incorporates. .
  • 1893 St. Petersburg’s first bank organized. .
  • 1894 Hillsborough Times moves from Clearwater to St. Petersburg and is renamed The St. Petersburg Times. .
  • 1895 St. Petersburg prohibits cows with bells from wandering within town limits. . Henry B. Plant buys Orange Belt Railroad. .
  • 1897 Henry Plant opens Belleview Biltmore. . St. Petersburg Electric Light and Power Company, the future Florida Power Corporation, is chartered. .
  • 1898 Construction begins on Fort DeSoto. St. Petersburg High School is founded. .
  • 1900 First land-based hotel built on St. Petersburg’s gulf beaches. .
  • 1905 St. Petersburg Reading Room and Library Association founded. . Town of Largo incorporated, becoming the first municipality in Pinellas County to adopt a Council-Manager government. .
  • 1906 Fort Dade constructed on Egmont Key. (Egmont)

1907 - 1945

  • 1907 Pinellas "Declaration of Independence" marks major milestone on the road to creating Pinellas County. .
  • 1910 Gulfport, Florida incorporated. .
  • 1911 St. Petersburg’s first high school is built. .
  • 1912 Pinellas County officially separates from Hillsborough County. .
  • 1913 Pinellas Park incorporated. .
  • 1914 Aviation history was made in St. Petersburg as Tony Jannus made the world's first scheduled airline flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa. .
  • 1916 Morton F. Plant, son of Henry B. Plant, gives $100,000 toward creation of Clearwater’s first hospital, which still bears his name. . Oldsmar, Florida incorporated. .
  • 1917 No fence law illegalizes cattle roaming free. .
  • 1918 Cattle stampede in St. Petersburg. .
  • 1921 Real estate boom period begins Pinellas. Severe hurricane causes significant destruc­tion throughout Pinellas County. Creates Hurricane Pass between what are now Caladesi and Honeymoon islands. . Fort's Dade and DeSoto deactivated. .
  • 1923 County passes bond issue to build roads and bridges. .
  • 1924 The Gandy Bridge opens, halving the distance between St. Petersburg and Tampa. The bridge was the longest automobile toll bridge in the world. .
  • 1925 Palm Harbor named. . St. Petersburg Kennel Club begins greyhound racing at what will become Derby Lane. . Northern watchdog groups warn of impending collapse of Florida real estate market. .
  • 1926. Real estate boom ends, severely stressing local economy. . Bee Line Ferry begins service between Pinellas and Manatee Counties. .
  • 1927 American Legion Hospital for Crippled Children is founded. .
  • 1928 County Commission deputizes Impounding Masters to keep cattle inside county pasture. . R. E. Olds sells holdings in Oldsmar and buys Fort Harrison Hotel. .
  • 1929 The Great Depression begins.
  • 1930 City of St. Petersburg defaults on its bonds. .
  • 1934 The Davis (Courtney Campbell) Causeway connects Clearwater more directly with Tampa.
  • 1938 Treasure Island incorporated. .
  • 1941 World War II begins; population growth in Pinellas slows dramatically. .
  • 1942 Military begins sending personnel to Pinellas for training..
  • 1943 St. Pete Beach incorporated. .
  • 1945 World War II ended; Pinellas enters a period of rapid growth and development. . Redington Beach incorporated. .

1946 - present

  • 1960 The Howard Frankland Bridge provides third link across Tampa Bay. .
  • 1963 Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line railroads merge to become the Seaboard Coastline Railroad. .
  • 1964 Pinellas becomes the first county in Florida to adopt Commission- Administrator form of government. .
  • 1965 St. Petersburg Fine Arts Museum opens. .
  • 1967 American Legion Hospital for Crippled Children is renamed All Children’s Hospital. .
  • 1968 St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra merges with Tampa Philharmonic to become Florida Gulf Coast Orchestra .
  • 1969 Boca Ciega Bay becomes Florida's first aquatic preserve. C Bette Winbrish (?) becomes first African_American elected to the St. Petersburg City Council. .
  • 1970 The Central Pinellas Transit Authority provides public transportation to areas north of St. Peters­burg. .
  • 1971 A second span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is opened. .
  • 1972 Judge James Sanderlin becomes the first African-American elected to county-wide office. .
  • 1973 Community services and facilities are outpaced by a tremendous surge of new growth and development during the early 1970's. .
  • 1974 Comprehensive Land Use Plan is the first formal countywide attempt to manage growth in Pinellas County. . 200 acres of Egmont Key set aside as national wildlife refuge. .
  • 1975 Church of Scientology purchases Fort Harrison Hotel. .
  • 1976 The Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) replaces the Pinellas County Transportation Authority as a countywide trans­portation planning organization. .
  • 1977 Pinellas County's Heritage Park opens an exhibit of historically signifi­cant Pinellas County structures. . Corrine Freeman becomes St. Petersburg's first woman mayor. .
  • 1978 Egmont Key named to the national register of Historic Places. .
  • 1980 Portions of the southbound span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge collapse after being hit by the freighter SS Summit Venture. . County voters approve Home Rule Charter. .
  • 1982 Salvador Dali Museum opens in St. Petersburg. .
  • 1983 Pinellas County opens its new Resource Recovery Plant. .
  • 1984 Amtrak discontinues passenger train service in Pinellas. . Countywide bus service is implemented in Pinellas County with the absorption of the St. Petersburg Municipal Transit System into the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. . Florida Gulf Coast orchestra becomes The Florida Orchestra. .
  • 1985 Severe drought results in watering restrictions. . A four-cent local option gas tax is passed by the Board of County Commissioners. Hurricane Elena threatens Florida. .
  • 1993 "No Name Storm" causes $500 million dollars in damage. .
  • 1998 Devil Rays open in Thunder Dome, renamed Tropicana Field. Calvin Harris becomes first African American County Commissioner. .
  • 2000 Charter amendment adopted to end annexation wars among municipalities and county. (Annexation).
  • 2004 Four hurricanes narrowly miss Pinellas County, causing minor damage. (TBNHG).
  • 2006 Litigation dance between Largo and Pinellas County continues. (Deal) Court rules Pinellas County acted wrongly in limiting the annexation authority of municipalities. (Lindberg)


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