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Headlines through the years

By Times Staff
Published October 2, 2005

Pioneer commemorates founding of Anona area

Oct. 3, 1950 CLEARWATER - In 1859, three pioneering Pinellas families sailed from Key West to establish what is now the Anona community on the coast of Pinellas County. Yesterday, Jefferson T. Lowe, 94, a youngster on that historic voyage, planted a sugar apple tree to commemorate the landing in colorful ceremonies at the Anona community church.

The event was the annual Anona cemetery beautification at one of the oldest burial plots in the county. Descendants of the founding fathers helped "Uncle Jeff," as he is known, place a sapling apple tree in the earth.

Uncle Jeff Lowe was a member of the first Board of County Commissioners and served as postmaster for the Anona post office from the time it was established until it was discontinued in 1919.

"Back in the 1880s," said County Attorney John Blocker, "Uncle Jeff was running a general store and there was need for a post office. He went to Cedar Key to make final arrangements and when the question of what to name the post office arose, a forebear of Charles A. Wilcox suggested "Anona' because of the sugar apples native to the section."

Uncle Jeff Lowe came to what later became known as "Lowe's Landing" with his father, Capt. John T. Lowe, his mother, Mrs. Laura Dorothy Meares Lowe, his grandmother, Mrs. Miriam Lowe, and the Richard Meares and Gus Archer families aboard Capt. Lowe's schooner.

Hunting a likely spot on which to settle, the group selected a point that is virtually the dead center of the Pinellas Gulf coast. They found excellent water and fertile soil, and settled in to form the genealogical backbone of the Anona community.

Though partially crippled by a hip injury, Uncle Jeff was the life of the tree-planting party and partook generously of the feast of smoked and fried mullet, traditional grits, hush puppies and other home-cooked delicacies prepared by the womenfolk.

Area rejects fire protection

Oct. 2, 1974 CLEARWATER - Voters in the last pocket of Pinellas County with no fire protection Tuesday rejected a proposal that would have brought them into the county's fire protection plan.

By 34-11 margin, the voters in an unincorporated area near Oldsmar said no to the plan, which would have imposed a new tax of 1.75 mills in return for protection from the Oldsmar Volunteer Fire Department.

County officials estimate that up to 500 people live in the area - where residents rejected a similar proposal by the improbable vote of 2-1 during last December's fire referendum.

A city ordinance now prohibits the Oldsmar fire department from going outside the city limits.

Laura Street extension dropped

Sept. 29, 1950 CLEARWATER - City commissioners at a luncheon conference yesterday decided to abandon the projected extension of Laura Street across the waterfront Coachman Park to the mainland approach to Memorial causeway, thereby setting the stage for the full development of the recreation area, pursuant to the recommendations of a nationally known park planner.

The decision will not be announced officially until the commission meets next Monday. But the action will come as a victory for park boosters, who had been battling the proposed street extension project on the grounds that it would ruin the city's $100,000 investment in the park property.

In addition to the general development of Coachman Park, said Commissioner Leland Drew, the board's action at the luncheon conference also means the activation of the long-sought band shell project.

"Now that the street extension has been shelved," said Drew, "we can go ahead with the band shell. The park planner recommends that it be built on the slope of the hill, which would act as a natural sounding board. Benches for spectators would be ranged in front of the platform."

As for the general park development program, the plan calls for construction of a network of gravel walks and mass plantings of native Florida flowers and shrubs.

"When the job is finished," said Drew, "Coachman Park will be one of the most beautiful along the gulf coast."

[Last modified October 2, 2005, 01:57:16]

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