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May 31-June 6

This week in history

From the pages of the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent.

100 years ago | 1909

June 1: Salt Lake, "in its glory," was half a mile by a quarter mile. But during the past three dry seasons it had shrunk to 400 by 100 feet and a foot deep. Alligators and turtles had left. Dead mullet and bream covered its surface. Only garfish survived in the southern end, with its rock bottom. Salt Lake was becoming a bog "and will make fine muck land" for farming. It didn't dry up, however. Today it's called Lake Maggiore.

June 1: At the Hillsborough County School Commission meeting, Superintendent Buchholtz proposed cutting school terms and teacher salaries. Commissioners also appointed William Riggs Trowbridge, from the University of Chicago, as principal of St. Petersburg's schools.

75 years ago | 1934

June 1: It was a far cry from the 20 grads in 1909 as 246 St. Petersburg High seniors received diplomas at 8 p.m. South Side and Mirror Lake junior high graduates received diplomas May 31. St. Paul's Catholic high school held its first graduation June 3. Twenty-five years later, on June 5, 1959, more than 1,500 graduated from St. Pete, Boca Ciega and Northeast high schools, Tomlinson Vocational and St. Petersburg Junior College. Gibbs Junior College held its first graduation.

50 years ago | 1959

June 1: More than 1,600 people visited the "fabulous" Busch Gardens as it opened to the public. Admission was free to the landscaped gardens. The main attraction was a 400-specimen rare bird collection and bird show. Tours of the brewery were also available.

June 3: St. Petersburg Postmaster William H. Bowes and former Pinellas County Attorney C. Ray Smith were indicted on charges of "bribery, conspiracy to bribe and conspiracy to violate lottery laws." Tampans Frank Trafficante and Augustine "Primo" Lazzara, "known associates of gamblers," allegedly worked through the two to bribe a constable to allow a bolita gambling operation here. Douglas Rodenbaugh reported the incident during the 1958 campaign for county sheriff, which he lost. Trafficante was the brother of reputed Mafia boss Santo Trafficante Jr.

June 5: The Legislature adjourned without enacting a "last resort" school closing bill to thwart integration efforts.

25 years ago | 1984

June 5: "It wasn't even close." Pier Park, the proposed waterfront development that was a collection of stores, restaurants and educational and recreational facilities failed by a 2-to-1 majority.

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.

May 31-June 6 06/02/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 8:40pm]
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