DUNEDIN — The steel brace that insurance agent Glenn Whitaker was forced to wear on his side after an operation probably saved his life when pistol slugs fired at close range bounced off it.
After 11 p.m. three days earlier, Whitaker, pistol in hand, stepped outside his home to find out why his bird dog had suddenly growled. Just as he stepped around the corner of his house, he ran into a man with a pistol.
Whitaker jumped aside and hit the ground as the man fired. Whitaker thought the man had missed, so he leaped up to chase him.
The man ran around one side of the house, Whitaker the other, trying to head him off. They met at the driveway and Whitaker fired several shots. The man fell three times, but Whitaker was still unsure if he'd actually hit him.
Whitaker, who thought robbery may have been the motive for the attack, found no blood on the ground the next morning, and any footprints the suspect may have left were obliterated by rain.
He did discover the bullet fired at him had struck the steel brace, which he had been wearing since undergoing an operation in Jacksonville about 12 weeks prior.
July 11, 1962
Hotel owner plans group integration
CLEARWATER — The president of the Jack Tar Hotel chain, which owned the Jack Tar Harrison in Clearwater, planned to integrate its facilities on a group basis.
The decision came after the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club, which had used the hotel during spring training, moved because black team members were refused accommodations.
Hotel officials said they still would not integrate on an individual basis.
Representatives of the Phillies agreed to return to the hotel.
July 28, 1946
Clearwater streets flooded by rainfall
CLEARWATER — Streets were flooded again with a torrential rainfall of more than 2.6 inches. It fell within a period of one hour, according to Peter Treola, fire chief and weather observer at the time. The rain brought that month's total to 9.35 inches, and the seven months' total to 34.22 inches.
July 11, 1962
Country club seeks additional members
DUNEDIN — The Dunedin Country Club, which had won a 30-year lease to operate the PGA National golf club here, launched plans to secure 300 members and start construction of a modern clubhouse involving a capital outlay of nearly $250,000. The annual membership fee for the new club was to be $420 for a man and wife.
July 27, 1946
Lake Butler mystery approaches resolution
EAST LAKE — Observers captivated by the mysterious rise and fall of Lake Butler should be about to get answers from geologists studying the phenomenon.
It has been thought that when the lake waters reached a certain stage, a plug is released, which lets the water leak out. Geologists are trying to find the opening.
In experiments, dyes and objects have been put into the main whirlpool in the center of the 90-foot-deep hole. They disappeared, leaving people perplexed. Belief had been expressed that there is a direct connection between the lake and Spring Bayou in Tarpon Springs, or that a giant siphon controls the waters of the lake, which are several feet above sea level.
Editor's note: Today Lake Butler is known as Lake Tarpon.
July 28, 1946
New owner has big plans for hotel
TARPON SPRINGS — Hotel Arcade in the Shaw Arcade building was leased to Mrs. Stella Francis, a hotel owner in Asheville, North Carolina, Fred Howard, real estate agent and business manager of the building, announced.
Francis said she planned to do extensive remodeling, providing the 40 rooms with all new furnishings. A part of the lobby was to be transformed into the city's only cocktail lounge, while tables and chairs were to be placed in front of the hotel to make a sidewalk cafe.
The name of the hotel was to be changed. Mrs. Francis was considering two possibilities: the "St. Francis," or "The Palms."
Howard told reporters that plans also were afoot to build a modern motion picture theater seating 1,000 in the back of the arcade.
Carl Floyd from Haines City purchased the Shaw Arcade from the Commercial Investment Company in Minneapolis for a price reported to be nearly $100,000. He was the owner of a chain of theaters in Florida and Georgia and owned the Royal Theatre in Tarpon Springs.
July 16, 1972
Police-resident ratio below average
LARGO — Due to a lack of need, according to officials, the ratio of police officers to residents in Largo was well below the national average. Officials, however, said no major changes were planned. Along with very little crimes, the town manager, Carl Ecklund, cited a shortage of funds for law enforcement.
The Pinellas History column is compiled from archives of the St. Petersburg Times.