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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
Published August 14, 2005

Aug. 10, 1949: Safety Harbor all agog as gold hunt progresses

SAFETY HARBOR - Thrill seekers lured to this locality by the rumor of huge gold caches about to be uncovered are doomed to disappointment.

A deputized armed guard has been placed at the gate leading to the pasture where treasure hunters are digging feverishly for an old chest, which supposedly contains immense wealth.

An air of secrecy has settled over the camp where 14 men are gambling their time and sweat for a percentage of the reputed jackpot. And as the day nears when they will have dug deep enough to uncover the chest, a strict censorship on any news whatsoever has been clamped down.

As a matter of fact, the whole enterprise, headed by Merrill C. Faulk of Lakeland and William Graef of Safety Harbor, started in strict secrecy.

For six weeks, the 14 men in the syndicate gathered together their air hammers, hoist, pumping and other machinery and began to dig in a pasture owned by Will Booth, 2 miles north of this town. What helped keep their operations undercover was the publicity given other treasure seekers who contemplate digging in Philippe Park in the near future.

The treasure hunt actually got under way in 1942, when Faulk and Graef came into possession of an old map of the area where a Spanish mission once stood. Legend has it that the padres buried a chest containing either gold bullion, crosses or idols, which at today's valuation would represent a fabulous fortune.

Mine detectors and radar equipment were used at different times and always showed a deposit of metal at the same spot, at a depth of about 40 feet. But not until June of this year could the men get permission to excavate on the Booth property.

About a month ago, one of the men hit what he thought to be the chest with his pick. But the use of dynamite in the excavation served only to push the object farther down in the soft soil. No more explosives were used.

As the men get closer and closer to the object of their search, the treasure hunt is the No. 1 topic in these parts.

Excitement is rising to fever pitch, and everyone is awaiting the moment when news of a find will be released.

And the consensus seems to be that the gold seekers will hit the jackpot near the end of this week.

Aug. 12, 1949: Rare flamingos at Redington Beach

REDINGTON BEACH - Everybody comes to the gulf beaches in the summertime - even rare pink flamingos. According to Mrs. A.B. Archibald, the birds have been observed this week in the mangroves in Boca Ciega Bay north of Redington Beach. A beach resident for 13 years, Mrs. Archibald said it was the first time that she has ever seen flamingos in this vicinity.

Aug. 15, 1949: Humane Society wants Clearwater lots

CLEARWATER - Officials of the Clearwater Humane Society will petition the city commission tonight for a long-term lease on two city-owned lots, adjoining the site of the new farmers market, as the site of a $30,000 small-animal refuge.

Plans for the structure calling for the expenditure of $25,000 have been drawn by the society's architects. Work is scheduled to begin within a month.

The society organized six weeks ago. It is made up of prominent central Pinellas residents interested in the prevention of cruelty to animals and providing homes for dogs and cats picked up by impounding officers.

Aug. 12, 1949: Beach team winners at shuffleboard

SAFETY HARBOR - In the weekly tournament of the Elbow Benders Shuffleboard League at the Tavern on Tuesday night, a gallery of 50 rooters watched the Park Inn team of Clearwater Beach out-shuffle the Tavern team 5-0.

The winning team consisted of John Andrews, captain, B. Noose, B. Bernard and G. Eckelberger. The local shufflers, captained by Harold Legg, included N. Hart, B. Becker, D. Ables and B. Downs.

The Tavern girls team will stack up against the Big Ben team on Monday night, Aug. 15., at the Big Ben, Clearwater. The local group will include Grace Hart, Myrtice Legg, Ruth Scuddimore, Betty Thomas and Alice Berger.

[Last modified August 14, 2005, 01:14:08]

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