This week in history
From the pages of the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent.
100 years ago | 1909
May 28: The news came by telegram: "Pinellas County bill defeated (in the state Senate) by vote of twenty-three to three. (S. D.) Harris." It meant two more years of being part of Hillsborough.
May 30: Since Memorial (or Decoration) Day fell on a Sunday, ceremonies were held May 31. Residents dropped off flowers to decorate the mostly Civil War soldiers' graves at the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall. In 1934, there were services in Williams Park and a parade. By 1984, events had moved to Bay Pines National Cemetery, where U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young spoke at the dedication of the Avenue of Flags and reopening of the cemetery to burials, beginning in July.
75 years ago | 1934
May 24: Peninsular Telephone was ordered to reduce local rates, ranging from $1.50 per month on one-party business lines to 36 cents on four-party residential lines. (Yes, several homes could share the same line. Each had its own ring pattern; later, only the designated phone rang. Privacy, and patience, were issues.)
May 26: The home of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. McCloud on 19th Ave. N was struck by lightning. The bolt "slightly shocked" the occupants while ripping the western gable and shingles off the frame house. It burned out the wiring, knocked the plaster off second-story walls and split the attic door in two. Fire Chief J. T. McNulty said it was the worst case he had seen. (McNulty was chief from 1912 to 1936.)
50 years ago | 1959
May 25: Construction had begun at the 70-acre Winston Plaza shopping center. Gateway Mall, Pinellas' first enclosed air-conditioned mall, opened there in 1968. At its peak, Gateway offered 50 to 60 stores, a dinner theater, movie theater and cafeteria. Leveled in the late '90s, it was reborn as Gateway Market Center with free-standing stores, including Target.
25 years ago | 1984
May 25: Neighbors heard Karen Gregory's "blood-curdling" scream early Wednesday morning (May 23) "but nobody called" Gulfport police. They found the 36-year-old graphic artist's body May 24. She had been stabbed and raped. There were no suspects. (In 1986, Times reporter Thomas French wrote "A Cry in the Night" about Gregory. A neighbor, George Lewis, was convicted of first-degree murder in June 1987 and sentenced to life. A 10-part series in 1988 revisited the murder and trial. Lewis maintains his innocence.)
May 29: It outlasted Bennigan's, too: "The 'in' crowd is eating off the floors of the Vinoy." The tables and floors of the new Harvey's Fourth Street Grill were made from wood salvaged from the old hotel. Dan Harvey rescued items from the Suwannee Hotel, St. Petersburg Beach's Sunshine School, the Tropicana Hotel and Disston Junior High School (the red bar rails). "I wanted to make it Florida, instead of Bennigan's."
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