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    Headlines through the years

    A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

    By JULIE CHURCH, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published May 5, 2002

    Civil defense practice pleases school officials

    CLEARWATER -- There weren't enough volunteer parent-drivers to evacuate all 850 pupils in Belleair Elementary School's test alert Wednesday, but several teachers leaped for the cars and won praise from civil defense officials in charge of the drill.

    All the children were evacuated by the 21st minute after a siren at 10 a.m. signaled the start of the drill.

    Only 113 of 140 parent-drivers showed up to pick up the children, but a school bus standing by and five teachers quickly loaded the leftover youngsters and joined the evacuation convoy.

    "They handled an emergency situation very nicely," said Arthur G. Marshall, Pinellas County deputy director of civil defense for schools.

    He said none of the nine schools which have now held drills has left any children stranded.

    Warned by teachers against letting "one voice" be heard, the children quickly filed from the school and formed lines in front to be evacuated.

    The alert began with a duck-and-cover drill. Children in class dived under desks and those on the playground fell prone, shielding their necks and faces.

    May 5, 1930

    Slot machine men are held

    CLEARWATER -- Justice of the Peace J.C. Moore decided that he did not intend to dismiss operators of slot machines again because of some trifling technicality, as had done in the past. As a result, five men who had the alleged illegal machines in their places of businesses were yesterday morning bound over to circuit court by the justice.

    The hearing of these slot machine operators had been continued from Monday afternoon, when attorneys for Charles Frank, proprietor of the Spot-to-Eat, attempted to impeach a witness because he made a misstatement concerning some of his personal history.

    Arrests of the men responsible for the use of the money-grabbing devices were made under a state law which makes operation of the machines a felony.

    The justice of the peace is receiving many compliments for his efforts at cooperation in the move to drive slot machines from this community.

    May 13, 1930

    Coal tar gives bay beautiful hues

    CLEARWATER -- Much has been said and written about the various hues assumed by the Mexican gulf, but Clearwater Harbor had all other waters beaten yesterday so far as colors were concerned.

    The limpid depths of the harbor south of the causeway exhibited all the colors of the rainbow. The surface was iridescent, in competition with the solar spectrum, resembling the marbling on the edges of old-time books.

    Visitors and townspeople crossing the causeway marveled at the sight, wondering if the work of art was a new stunt adopted by the chamber of commerce to spread the fame of the wonderful body of water.

    Research revealed that the surprising effect was the result of the ingenuity of City Manager Riddle, who conceived the idea that it would be a great scheme to spray the city dock, decking, piles and landing stages with a heavy coating of coal tar. He believed that this would prevent decay, protect the timber from the elements and perhaps discourage the deadly toredo worm from climbing up and chewing the pier into sawdust.

    Naturally, a considerable portion of the byproduct of the gas works was sprinkled on the water under the pier, and the way it was spread was something marvelous. The tidal flow carried the rainbow colors down past the seawall, along the shore in front of the Harbor Oaks mansions, clear to the Belleview-Biltmore hotel.

    -- Julie Church compiles the history column. She can be reached at (727) 445-4229 or

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