Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Pinellas will celebrate its centennial this weekend at Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo

LARGO — The three occupants of Pinewood Cultural Park — Heritage Village, the Florida Gulf Coast Center for Fishing and the Florida Botanical Gardens — are joining forces to celebrate Pinellas County's 100th birthday this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, several descendants of the county's pioneer families will share their memories on the porches of the historical homes at Heritage Village, the county's open-air history park.

At the Botanical Gardens, horticulturists will open their help desk to talk with visitors about gardening in Florida's unique climate.

And at the Center for Fishing, which opened in April, the staff will show off the new digs by holding a pancake breakfast and an afternoon fish fry. The public will be invited to check out the center's main gallery, where vintage fishing equipment will be displayed, including a bamboo outrigger (circa 1952), nautical charts (circa 1938) and an Army Corps compass (circa 1930).

At Heritage Village, one of the featured guests will be Joan Bates, whose grandfather, S.S. Coachman, served as chairman of the first Pinellas County Commission. Along with other Coachman descendants, she will appear both Saturday and Sunday at the McMullen-Coachman Log Cabin, the oldest structure at Heritage Village.

The cabin, built around 1852 by Capt. James Parramore McMullen, was purchased by S.S. Coachman in 1901. Before it was moved to Heritage Village, the cabin sat on 240 acres of orange groves near where Old Coachman Road is today.

"When I was very little, a family who worked on the grove lived in it for a while, and when they left, my dad, who was an amateur photographer, used it for his photography, as a darkroom,'' Bates recalled.

Bates will share stories about Pinellas history, including one about how Clearwater became the county seat.

The story goes that after the residents of the Pinellas peninsula seceded from Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg planned on being the county seat. But because Clearwater was centrally located, the St. Petersburg folks agreed to allow Clearwater to become the temporary county seat until a proper courthouse could be built.

So north county residents, including S.S. Coachman and his brother, E. Horace Coachman, got to work building a courthouse on the site of what is now Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church in downtown Clearwater.

When St. Petersburg residents heard what was going on, they tried to serve S.S. Coachman, who supplied the lumber, with an injunction to stop the work. Coachman made sure the injunction couldn't be served.

"S.S. heard about (the injunction), and he got into a boat. The stories differ about where he hid, but it is true, he went out on a boat to hide,'' Bates said.

After that episode, the Clearwater contingent rushed to complete the courthouse.

"My grandmother used to tell the story about how she kept the sandwiches and coffee going around the clock so the men could keep working on it,'' Bates said.

The county seat remains in Clearwater today.

Other special guests at Heritage Village will include Terry Fortner, co-author of the Cadadesi Cookbook: Recipes From a Florida Lifetime and granddaughter of Myrtle Scharrer Betz, who lived 40 years of her life on Caladesi Island.

Other Florida authors who will attend include Michael Sanders, author of Florida's Historic Places Illustrated, and Wayne Ayers, Jim Schnur and Vincent Luisi, who have written books on Pinellas County for the Images of America series.

 
Comments
Middleton High student arrested after making threats about shooting, officials say

Middleton High student arrested after making threats about shooting, officials say

TAMPA — A Middleton High School student has been arrested after making a threat about a shooting at the school, according to the school district.The student, who had been suspended, returned to the school and when he was asked to leave, "he made thre...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Parkland students going to Tallahassee to push for gun law changes

Parkland students going to Tallahassee to push for gun law changes

PARKLAND — A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing 400 miles to Florida’s capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. The students plan to hold a rally...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

TAMARAC — The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County in Florida packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields."Last night I tol...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina man with a felony conviction for indecent liberties with a child was one-half of the poster couple for a new "Trump Dating" website.News outlets reported Monday that visitors to the dating site geared toward suppor...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

Yes, we have some bananas: Port Tampa Bay welcomes first shipment in 21 years

TAMPA — More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse.It was the fir...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pasco Briefs for Feb. 23

COUNTYWIDETrail to close for repairs, resurfacingPart of the Suncoast Trail, between State Road 52 and State Road 54, will be closed Feb. 27 through March 9 for repairs and resurfacing. The project is part of Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natura...
Updated: 1 hour ago
U.S. men’s hockey team rides goalie, college kids to Olympic quarterfinals

U.S. men’s hockey team rides goalie, college kids to Olympic quarterfinals

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Tony Granato knew going into the Olympics that Ryan Zapolski would be his goaltender and that the college kids on the Team USA roster would be counted on to supply offense. It’s worked just like Granato and the l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

The name of the Rays’ new blog, "The Ray Tank’’, inadvertently took on new meaning for fans following the departures of Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson this past weekend.Rick Stroud has the latest from Port Charlotte in his latest podcast, as Kevin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, found safe after leaving Bradenton home

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, found safe after leaving Bradenton home

BRADENTON — Jalyssa Shannon, the sister of 13-year-old Riverview murder victim Janessa Shannon, was found safe Monday evening after leaving her mother’s Bradenton home Sunday, authorities said.Jalyssa was found about 7 p.m., according to the Manatee ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Associated PressThe privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation’s third-largest drugstore chain. Albertsons Companies is offering either a share ...
Updated: 2 hours ago