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Florida Guide > Florida History

Clearwater: A History.

Many of you will take a day trip to Clearwater during your time in the Orlando area and I thought I would give you a potted history of this lovely Gulf Coast city.

Until 1885, Clearwater was known as Clear Water Harbor; no doubt this was inspired by the springs that then tipped into the bay. After this they made Clear Water into one word and subsequently they dropped bay from its name.

Of course, like much of Florida this area was once occupied by the Native Americans who were drawn here for its many hunting, fishing and gathering opportunities. They were fairly bullish about repeelling the invaders but eventually lost the battle. However, an aborted scheme to establish missions in the general area, it was not til the 1800s that white people began to settle here.

In 1842, if you were over 18 and willing to both farm the land and bear arms you would be given 160 acres of land to develop for free.

Mostly the farmers grew cotton and vegetables and they were able to supplement their meagre diet with the abundant fish. The next significant date was 1888 when the rail road came to town. It is on record that only 18 families lived here at that time. Clearwater was made a city in 1915 and a library was built the following year. This was also the year that the wooden bridge to the beach was constructed. What a welcome sight that must have been to the population and the visitors alike.

During The Civil War, Fort Harrison was built; this was not for defence purposes but in order to re habilitate the soldiers.

In the 1900s, Clearwater became popular as a tourist destination; there was much building work done in the 1920s ahead of the depression of the 30s.

During World War 2, many soldiers came to Clearwater for their training and liked it so much that they settled here after the war. Indeed, by 1950 there were 15000 people living here. The current population is thought to be somewhat less than 110000 people but that will be established after thefothcoming census.

A good place to visit when you are in Clearwater is The Plumb House Museum which is situated in Martin Luther King Junior avenue. This will graphically take you through the rich history of Clearwater and the people who formed it.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 4 April 2010
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