Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Indian Rocks Beach marries history with holiday

BY PIPER CASTILLO

Times Staff Writer

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — In one morning, Billy Bie could walk out the back door of his house, do a cannonball into the Intracoastal Waterway, climb up the ladder, get back on land and go horseback riding.

"We rode the horses on the beach,’’ "said Bie, 83.

Bie and his five siblings grew up in a boathouse at 81 Gulf Blvd. In 1938, Billy, the youngest, was 4. Ellen, the oldest, was 15. Their father, Norman, a businessman and World War I veteran, realized there was money to be made selling beachfront real estate, and he decided to move with his wife, Rita, and kids from Tampa to Indian Rocks Beach. He bought the boathouse for $300.

"We were only the 11th family to move to the island,’’ he said.

On Saturday, Billy and his wife, Shera, will open up the family home as part of the Indian Rocks Beach Homeowners Association Holiday Home Tour. The program also includes several beachfront homes and cottages.

Billy and Shera, who were childhood neighbors and just one grade apart at Anona Elementary, plan on sharing their family memories throughout the evening.

"And we will be making sure people know where to walk. We don’t want anyone going for a swim,’’ joked Billy Bie.

The boathouse was built in 1912 by Harry Ulmer (think Ulmerton Road) for his boat, the Miss Largo, in 1912. Local lore has it that the structure was also used by liquor running boats during prohibition.

"That’s what we have heard but we know nothing about that,’’ Bie said.

When Norman Bie bought it in 1938, the first level was a simple wooden catwalk with three boat wells. However, he enclosed much of that level to create his real estate office as well as close off another area for a bedroom. The original second level was one large enclosed room with an open porch. For three years it served as one large living area for the family until Norman was able to build partitions to create a separate living and dining room.

"My mother-in-law cut and hung sheets to give each person their own space,’’ said Shera Bie. "Eventually they got the floor on top though.’’

The tour will also include a cottage owned by Mary Rose Holmes, a founding member of the Plein Aire Cottage Artists. About 20 years ago, Holmes along with Helen Tilston and Violetta Chandler began meeting to paint scenes surrounding the area’s beach cottages, many built in the early 20th century.

"We started off thinking the cottages were going to be torn down due to condo development, and we did not want them forgotten,’’ said Holmes. "We just kept painting and painting, and we would also do things like go to commission meetings, not for politics, but to talk about variances and not allowing the cottage land to be permitted for condo use. We did not want to see them disappear. Now, here we are, and so many cottages still exist.’’

For their advocacy, the women have been recognized by several historical groups, including the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, and currently Lynn Marvin Dingfelder, a Tampa journalist, is working on a documentary of their story (part of the proceeds for the tour will go towards the documentary, according to a news release).

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

     
   
Comments
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando County Animal Services searching for pet owners after Brooksville seizure

Hernando County Animal Services searching for pet owners after Brooksville seizure

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Animal Services is looking for the owners of dogs and cats that were seized from a Brooksville home last week.Animal Services, along with the Sheriff’s Office, removed 60 dogs and 23 cats from Carol Allard, 71, after...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

A sign asking customers at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Baltimore to report employees who were heard not speaking English has set off a controversy.The sign, according tothe Baltimore Sun, would offer coupons to customers who reported workers at a dough...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Safety Harbor fire chief departs: ‘Take pride in the job’

Safety Harbor fire chief departs: ‘Take pride in the job’

SAFETY HARBOR — When Fire Chief Joe Accetta started working at the Safety Harbor Fire Department, Fire Station 53 was a double wide in the middle of a field now home to Mease Countryside Hospital.Now almost four decades of challenges and promotions l...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies search for suspects in rapper XXXTentacion slaying

Deputies search for suspects in rapper XXXTentacion slaying

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — Deputies were searching for suspects Tuesday after troubled rapper-singer XXXTentacion was fatally shot in the driver’s seat of a luxury electric sports car. The 20-year-old rising star, who pronounced his stage name "Ex Ex Ex...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Brooksville man convicted of murder awaits possible death sentence

Brooksville man convicted of murder awaits possible death sentence

BROOKVILLE — Although he was convicted last week on first-degree murder charges, George Mason III will wait nearly two months to find out whether he will face death for the crimes.The fate of the 47-year-old Brooksville man — found guilty by a jury o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Largo High defensive back Solomon Brown had plenty of college options with offers from 20 Division I-A schools. Still, the three-star recruit did not need to go through a prolonged process to figure out where he wanted to go.Two weeks ago, Brown comm...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fixing giant Pasco County sinkhole won’t mean a larger neighborhood lake

Fixing giant Pasco County sinkhole won’t mean a larger neighborhood lake

NEW PORT RICHEY – Pasco County is pulling the plug on the idea of connecting a giant sinkhole to a nearby lake in Land O’Lakes.Tuesday morning, commissioners, with little comment, agreed to abandon extending Lake Saxon within the Lake Padgett Estate...
Updated: 2 hours ago