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North Pinellas History | A look back

1960: Hurricane Donna forces thousands to flee from coast

Sept. 11, 1960 — Thousands of Suncoast residents were evacuated from waterfront and low-lying areas yesterday as Hurricane Donna screamed up the western edge of Florida.

Hundreds of Suncoast National Guardsmen were called to duty to protect deserted homes and businesses in the evacuated areas.

It was an orderly and unhysterical exodus. Residents jammed motels and hotels. Police agencies, Red Cross and Civil Defense groups had prepared residents for the move, and when it came, it was no shock.

In Pinellas County, Sheriff Don Genung at 12:30 p.m. ordered the Gulf Beaches from Pass-a-Grille to Tarpon Springs to evacuate. Later in the afternoon, he ordered Gulfport and its Clam Bayou area to evacuate.

Hurricane Donna was expected to belt the Tampa Bay area with hurricane winds of 75 to 100 mph, heavy rains and a 6- to 7-foot tide.

But the huge tropical storm's decision to swing north after moving onto the mainland at Fort Myers Saturday was the best news the upper Suncoast could have, said Robert Ferry, head of the U.S. Weather Bureau at Tampa.

Sept. 2, 1929

Berry growers to plant 100 acres

CLEARWATER — About 100 acres of strawberries were to be planted in Pinellas County in the fall, said officials at a meeting of the Pinellas Berry and Truck Growers association Friday night.

Other business included a drive for membership to be made by the organization.

It was also decided by the association to have a program of entertainment for every future meeting.

Preston Harmon of St. Petersburg was appointed chairman of a publicity committee to be assisted by W. W. Baker of Clearwater.

Sept. 4, 1929

Three to race aloft to Pacific coast

CLEARWATER — Three P-51 fighter planes — without guns, bombs and armament — will be "scrambled" at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport today.

Pilots Ed Weiner and Mike Carol of Los Angeles and Dick Kestle from Atlanta are to be after the top money in the first Clearwater-to-Palm Springs, Calif., air race.

The starting gun was scheduled to go off at 10 a.m. for the 2,000-mile race.

It was a continuation of efforts by the Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, particularly President Gene Allen Robinson, to revive the old Bendix cross-country race that used to provide a thrilling opening event for the National Air Races in Cleveland.

Sept. 1, 1920

Tilley robbery mystery solved

CLEARWATER — The mysterious robbery of the Tilley jewelry store in Clearwater several weeks ago was solved. George White and Rhea Boyd of Clearwater confessed to the crime, according to Judge Evans.

The preliminary hearing was held and the two were placed under $5,000 bail.

According to the sheriff, White admitted entering the store while Boyd stood guard.

The jewels were turned over to Boyd, who took them to Jacksonville.

He was said to have stated that he knew where the jewels were and would get them when he got out of jail.

Sept. 3, 1920

Contract for schoolhouse awarded

OLDSMAR — The Pinellas County School Board awarded the contract for the $10,000 public school building in Oldsmar to Holbrook & Rowland of Oldsmar.

The Reolds Farms company donated an entire city block for the building and playgrounds.

Miss Alga E. Dagley was reappointed principal of the school for the coming year.

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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

1960: Hurricane Donna forces thousands to flee from coast 09/13/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:16pm]
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