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North Pinellas History | A look back

Commissioner wants Disney in Pinellas

Circa 1930: Beachgoers use the Joyland water slide and pool that was on Clearwater Beach.

Special to the Times

Circa 1930: Beachgoers use the Joyland water slide and pool that was on Clearwater Beach.

Pinellas County may get a real, honest-to-goodness Disneyland of its own — not just a carbon copy.

County Commissioner R. Hosey Wick revealed that he would send a Clearwater businessman to California around Dec. 1 to discuss with Walt Disney the chances of bringing the real thing here.

Wick declined to name the man but said, "He is very close to Disney."

Such an attraction would be the second official Disneyland in the nation; the first is near Los Angeles.

Disney will be urged to consider the southeastern portion of the nation as a general area for location of the attraction, and "Florida's Pinellas County as the specific spot," Wick said.

Wick added he would ask the commission at its meeting Tuesday to appoint a committee to push the project.

Nov. 24, 1946

Gorillas escape, carnival owner jailed

CLEARWATER — Two gorillas escaped from their cages at the Royal Exposition carnival grounds on South Myrtle Avenue last night about 11 p.m. and were not subdued until one had been shot through the shoulder by a policeman. A riot call brought five other policemen and three deputies armed with machine guns to the scene.

The gorillas escaped when the door to their cage was opened by Dan Riley, the show's owner. Police said Riley was in a "thoroughly drunk" condition and might have committed the act by accident.

Once the animals were free on the grounds, however, Riley fought to get them back in the cage and suffered severely bitten hands. Patrolman Melvie Dyal shot one of the beasts through the shoulder, and the other ran back into its cage.

The riot squad arrived a few minutes later. They immediately moved to arrest Riley and did so but only after he threatened to let the gorillas out again.

He was charged with drunkenness and endangering human life.

Nov. 21, 1959

Dunedin bridge project starts

DUNEDIN — History was made here yesterday afternoon when ground was officially broken for the Dunedin Honeymoon Caladesi Isle Causeway.

The project, which has been discussed for years, is a lifelong dream for some residents of Dunedin.

Keynote speaker for the afternoon was Al Rogero of the State Road Department.

Rogero stressed the culmination of state and private capital in building the project. He said this was the "American way."

He told the residents it was a project of which they could be justifiably proud.

Nov. 31, 1931

Gulf, bay support fishing industry

CLEARWATER — Fishing as a commercial enterprise in Clearwater is an important item in the city's makeup and affords a large number of persons with permanent employment.

The effects of the fishing industry here are far reaching. Not only does the industry furnish a large payroll to residents, but it spends a large sum yearly for upkeep.

The waters around Clearwater and Dunedin provide innumerable and extensive feeding grounds for various kinds of fish.

The mullet, the most numerous of the commercial fish, alone amounts to many times the tonnage of all other kinds caught and shipped to markets.

The waters of the bay, rivers and gulf are the natural habitat of the mullet and in their spawning season they appear at times to be a solid mass moving through the water.

Nov. 24, 1946

Penalty for game fight is unclear

CLEARWATER — Clearwater residents wondered what action the state athletic association would take against the high school for the assault on referee Vince Grennell at the close of the Orlando-Clearwater game Friday night.

The riot marked the end for coach Jake Weger. According to principal W.B. Feagle, he had submitted his resignation prior to last night's game.

Clearwater fans on the north side of the field first showed resentment when Grennell banished halfback Marvin Moore and an Orlando player for fighting and penalized Clearwater 20 yards.

The fans became more incensed when Moore, returning to the sidelines, was shoved and kicked by coach Weger as he was sent to the clubhouse.

With the game still in progress, fans ran from both directions surrounding the coach. Police Chief Guy Holloway and several patrolmen closed in and escorted the coach to the clubhouse amid a chorus of boos.

A few minutes later the game ended, and fans swarmed referee Grennell. Several fans started hitting him and soon he was at the center of a fighting mob, the referee swinging in all directions.

Police closed in but were powerless, except to move the crowd toward the west side of the field. The referee was finally extracted from the mob and taken to the clubhouse where his bruises were treated.

After the game, coach Weger issued a short statement in which he apologized for what happened.

>>Looking back

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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.

Commissioner wants Disney in Pinellas 11/19/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 5:45pm]
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