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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 June 9, 2002

    May 29, 1925

    White-robed men gather near Safety Harbor bridge

    CLEARWATER -- Motorists coming from Tampa on Wednesday evening reported seeing a big meeting of white-robed figures grouped around a bonfire near the western end of the Safety Harbor bridge, across the railroad at a little place called Bridgeport.

    One of the motorists reported driving toward the gathering, thinking there had been a train wreck. When he got near enough to discover what he thought were the lights of passenger coaches were actually the reflections of automobile windshields, he was halted by a man in a white robe who asked for the password.

    The involuntary interloper replied that his password was "turn around," which he did without delay.

    June 19, 1938

    New wharf plan proposed in bayou

    TARPON SPRINGS -- City commissioner Abe Tarapani has proposed that two catwalk piers be built in Spring Bayou to provide slips for wharfage of visiting yachts and local boats. The present T-shaped city wharf only provides dock space for three boats, he said.

    Because of the small accommodation, the city restricted its use for only taking on or discharging passengers some time ago. Visiting boats have frequently been unable to find dock space in the bayou.

    Tarapani's plan is to build two of the slips from lumber the city has on hand. If the plan works, additional slips will be constructed later.

    May 18, 1945

    Merchants delay decision on parking

    CLEARWATER -- Final action on the proposed change in Cleveland Street parking from angle to parallel was deferred last night by the Clearwater Merchants Association after a special committee reported the City Commission plans to establish parking lots near the downtown shopping district.

    Committee members indicated that city officials plan to open these parking areas within the near future. In addition, members discussed the menace of jaywalking pedestrians and the need to readjust the timing of downtown traffic signal lights.

    Several merchants complained that the city's traffic lights are timed too long as compared to other cities.

    Members suggested beginning a six-week educational campaign to train pedestrians in crossing intersections only on green lights. The campaigns would be followed by rigid enforcement of jaywalking ordinances, including court summons and nominal fines to persistent offenders.

    The association's special traffic committee will discuss the issue with Clearwater police Chief John Swift.

    May 21, 1945

    Rat spooks newsroom crew

    An oversized rat, measuring 8 inches from tip to tail, strolled into the Evening Independent's Clearwater bureau Saturday. He hopped on a settee and sat gazing fixedly at the manager until the amazed individual finished off the visitor with a broom.

    What made the incident even more unusual was the fact that the rat showed no concern whatsoever when a lady caller, who first noticed the rodent, let out a huge shriek.

    Local rat exterminators ascribe the rat's strange behavior to the effect of a gas used to clean out downtown buildings. The gas, they said, robs the rodents of fear, but presages a lingering death.

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

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