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North Pinellas History | A look back

June 17, 1929: Speeding fire truck causes stir at beach

Some excitement was caused about sunset last night by the rapid driving of a chemical truck from the fire station over the causeway to Clearwater Beach. Rumors were at once afloat that a pulmotor had been sent for, and it was feared that a drowning had taken place at the beach.

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People showed that they were still nervous over the happening of the Sunday before when a bridge collapsed.

Inquiry at the fire station, however, developed the fact that a call had been sent in because of a grass fire at the northern end of Clearwater Key. The firemen were not obliged to exert themselves to any great extent because a heavy rain began to fall while the chemical truck was on the causeway.

Police Chief McMullen, head of the department in the next section of the municipal building, declared that there had been practically nothing doing at the police station, and yesterday was described as a quiet Sabbath.

June 13, 1925

Seven people escape Belleair house fire

CLEARWATER — Seven persons barely escaped with their lives when a dwelling on S Fort Harrison Avenue in the Belleair section burned to the ground at an early hour this morning.

Clarence Hammerly, bookkeeper for Jeffords and Smoyer, was returning to the city in his car at 2 o'clock. When near the post office at Belleair, he noticed a fire up the street and expected to find firefighters on the scene. Driving up to the house, which was then all ablaze in the rear, Hammerly aroused the people inside and they all made their escape.

That they had not much time to lose was shown by the fact that the only thing saved was a chair taken from the front porch when the last fleeing person made his exit.

The house was destroyed in record time. It was occupied by two families who had three children between them. They were all sound asleep as the structure was burning down over their heads. Had the fire not been discovered in time, there certainly would have been a holocaust.

June 20, 1925

Man jailed, charged with operating still

CLEARWATER — Theodore Porter was placed in the county jail Friday afternoon, charged with manufacture of liquor in a bayhead south of St. Petersburg. A 50-gallon copper still captured with Porter was also brought along as evidence.

Bringing in this still removes one of the mysteries of the southern end of Pinellas County. Officials have reported time after time for some months that there was a still down in the territory between Big Bayou and Salt Lake.

They had seen a man up a tree with a gun, guarding something, but had never been able to locate the moonshine outfit.

Friday afternoon, Deputies O.J. Strickland, Oliver Howell, Henry Belcher, Victor Bradford and Fred Welles went after the still. They found an old man named Scroggins, Porter's father-in-law, sitting under a tree in a watermelon patch, apparently on watch.

Strickland engaged Scroggins in conversation and finally brought up the subject of moonshining. Scroggins declared that he had made good liquor in Georgia and Alabama, "but there wasn't no good water around this country to make proper whiskey with."

While the old expert was telling how good 'shine should be made, Porter appeared and thoughtlessly divulged the location of the still, which is now to be seen in the yard of the county jail.

>>Looking back

Headlines through 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.

June 17, 1929: Speeding fire truck causes stir at beach 06/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 6:23pm]
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