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North Pinellas History | A look back

Pinellas history: A look back

1898: Guests enjoy recreational golf outside the original structure of the Hotel Belleview. By 1939, it was called the Belleview-Biltmore and there was talk of a sale.

Courtesy of Barry Ullmann

1898: Guests enjoy recreational golf outside the original structure of the Hotel Belleview. By 1939, it was called the Belleview-Biltmore and there was talk of a sale.

Three more soldiers from the Pinellas County area are among men freed from German prisons, now in Allied hands, and one of them has already returned home.

The former Nazi prisoners are Sgt. A.W. Truesdale and Corp. C.C. Hofahl Jr., both of this city (St. Petersburg), and Sgt. George E. Klimis, Tarpon Springs, who got home late last week. Truesdale and Kofahl both expect to be returned in a short time.

Truesdale, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Truesdale, was liberated from Stalag Luft 4, according to information received by his parents through the Red Cross.

Captured by the Germans when his B17 bomber was brought down over enemy territory, March 6, 1944, Truesdale was interned at Stalag Luft 6 until moved to Stalag 4 last fall. He flew as a gunner on the Flying Fortress and has been awarded the Air medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters. The medals were presented to his father, Feb. 16, at Drew Field.

Overseas since early fall of 1943, the sergeant had more than half his quota of missions completed when shot down. His brother, Sgt. Ralph W. Truesdale, B17 gunner, arrived in the states last June after being missing in action over Italy for five months.

Kofahl, who was captured by the Germans in the December break-through, was liberated from Stalag 2-D, his wife said. She received a British ex-prisoner of war card that said her husband was well and safe in British hands. The card was dated April 28, and the corporal, in addition to checking the printed messages, wrote that he would write a letter as soon as possible.

His wife and seven month old daughter, Jeanne, make their home with Mrs. Kofahl's mother, Mrs. Dorothy Guion.

Klimis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Klimis, went overseas in 1943 and spent several months in England for treatment of wounds before being returned to action and captured by the Germans in France. He arrived home last week.

May 9, 1939

Famous hotel may be sold at auction

CLEARWATER — Possible sale of the 43-year-old Belleview-Biltmore hotel by auction this summer was predicted yesterday by M.A. McMullen, attorney for Frank W. Regan, former manager who holds $125,000 in receiver's certificates against the hotel.

McMullen said he could see no other way to pay off these certificates than by selling the hotel on the auction block.

It was announced that Regan would not manage the hotel next winter. He is leaving today for New York City to take over the management of the Park Lane Hotel on Park Avenue.

Several weeks ago, attorneys for bondholders who bought the hotel at a foreclosure sale on the steps of the courthouse conferred with McMullen, McMullen & Pogue, attorneys for Regan. But no definite agreement was reached as to operation of the hotel next winter.

It may be possible that the bondholders may sell the big hotel or may continue to operate it under orders of federal court, as it has been for several years. Bonds outstanding against the Belleview total approximately $1 million, Attorney McMullen pointed out. It has been estimated that $250,000 will be required to make improvements before the opening next winter.

May 12, 1945

Junior high school principal approved

DUNEDIN — The county school board has approved the appointment of Charles Belcher, son of County Commissioner W.H. Belcher and Mrs. Belcher, as principal of Dunedin Junior High School. G.V. Fuguitt, head of the county school system, praised the future principal highly. Belcher has been a mathematics instructor at Clearwater Junior High School since 1939.

Pinellas History is compiled by Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell. You can reach her at

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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

Pinellas history: A look back 05/10/08 [Last modified: Saturday, May 10, 2008 1:09pm]
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