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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 Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 5, 2003

    Dec. 14, 1901: So far, railroad depot is not as advertised

    LARGO -- We reported last week that the Plant Railroad System people were going to build a nice depot here.

    We did not intend to lie, and had not learned to believe nothing we hear and only half we see; nor can we yet realize that the scab of a shed that is built where the new depot was to stand, is the same new depot we have heard so much about.

    But that is just like the Plant System. Not long since one of the Plant officials said, "What would Largo be without the Plant System?"

    Well, no telling! Because without the Plant System some other railroad would occupy the ground and would be a benefit instead of a curse. I verily believe if the Plant people owned the earth they would put a wire fence around it and enjoin the moon from passing over it. Just to think of the revenue Largo contributes to their coffers: 45,000 boxes of fruit shipped last season, and probably more the present. And now the long delayed promises of more freight accommodations culminate in a third-rate woodshed.

    In other citrus news, oranges from Largo and Clearwater netted the growers only $1 a box, but we learn through that most all the growers in St. Petersburg and vicinity sold on the trees for $1.25. Some will get even more than this. I am really glad that some of our people put a price on their fruit and not only put it there but will hold out for it, too. I say "Hurrah for you!" and hope that it may help our people to get a better price next year by holding out to the end.

    * * *

    Dec. 4, 1924: Largo to open grapefruit cannery

    LARGO -- Largo is to have a grapefruit canning factory in operation by the first of next year if the plans of the former owners of the plant which ran last year in Clearwater materialize.

    Canned grapefruit has steadily increased in popularity and the selling end of the business offers no difficulties.

    F. Burkhart, H.E. Watson and W.E. Watson stated that they had all their plans made to start the Largo plant. During the summer, Burkhart made a sales trip and secured orders for delivery from the plant in Clearwater. As this was sold last summer a new location had to be secured and the Largo factory filled their requirements.

    The factory at Largo has had several owners and has been in existence for some years, under varied managements. There never has been any difficulty in securing the fruit or the help to operate the factory, so that success seems assured if a high quality is maintained for the finished product.

    * * *

    Dec. 17, 1962: Freeze effects have no set pattern

    CLEARWATER -- "Every hard freeze affects citrus differently," Clearwater Growers Association manager Ed Beeland said yesterday. "What happened after the 1957-58 freeze will not necessarily be true this year."

    Beeland emphasized that the full extent of the cold weather's damage to this year's crop cannot yet be determined.

    "Our pickers will work as hard as they can, pick as much as they can, salvaging as much citrus for concentrates and juices as possible," he said.

    Fruit pickers are now working dawn-to-dusk, 7 days a week. Indications are that the pickers will make a better-than-average wage for an indefinite period, but that the picking season will be shorter than usual.

    More of the crop will be salvaged if the weather stays cool than if it turns warm.

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

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