This week in history
From the pages of the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent.
100 years ago | 1909
July 14: The Independent encouraged readers to take a dip in the bay at 4:30 a.m., "just when the sun is peeping over the edge of the water." Rewards included "renewed vigor" and the ability to withstand the wilting Florida heat later in the day.
July 17: Last night "someone left the door of an alligator pen at Carpenter's" open, allowing a number of gators to escape. "Some invaded the McPherson-Dent bakery nearby and caused a little disturbance." A woman was about "to step on the wooden approach to Lewis corner when suddenly she gathered her skirts about her and jumped back" as a 2-foot gator poked its head out. "Albert Whitted, who was nearby at the time, captured the reptile and put him back in his pen. Nearly all the alligators were recaptured."
75 years ago | 1934
July 13: Friday the 13th was better than the 12th for 10 boaters trapped overnight on a sandbar off Pinellas Point. The employees of Mather Furniture store were celebrating winning first place in a sales contest with a fishing trip. They ran aground during stormy weather and were re-floated by the morning high tide.
July 17: The postal department announced that "air mail service from Daytona through Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa to St. Petersburg" would resume by Aug. 12. The local contract went to National Airline System and called for one round-trip daily at 17 cents per airplane mile, down from the previous 45 cents.
50 years ago | 1959
July 17: Gasoline prices were climbing. Standard Oil had raised the cost of regular and premium by 2.4 cents, to 31.3 cents and 34.3 cents, respectively. Gulf, Texaco and Sinclair had gone up to 31.9 cents for regular and 34.9 for premium.
July 18: "A feature-perfect Bradenton lass," 18-year-old Nancy Purvis, was crowned Miss Florida. Miss Clearwater, Carolyn Jo Reichle, 18, was named Miss Congeniality at pageant, held in Sarasota. Purvis won a $1,000 college scholarship, a $500 modeling and personal appearance contract, and wardrobe. (In Atlantic City, Lynda Mead, Miss Mississippi, would be crowned Miss America 1960.)
25 years ago | 1984
July 12: "Owner Jeff Rosenberg introduced the Tampa Bay Thrillers as the newest edition to the Continental Basketball Association." Bill Musselman was named head coach and general manager. The Thrillers (a nod to the Michael Jackson song) played home games at the Bayfront Center, and one season at the University of Tampa. They won two CBA championships — then moved, just before the 1987 playoffs, to Rapid City, S.D. — where they won a third.
July 15: The Philadelphia Stars handed the Arizona Wranglers a 23-3 loss in the U.S. Football League Championship Game at Tampa Stadium before "52,600 bored fans." Arizona coach George Allen later said "we couldn't get the big play."
On sale now
To order Tampa Bay Through the Times, a history of the bay area with more than 500 photos and images of historical front pages from the St. Petersburg Times, go to www.tampabay.com/store.