Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Oldsmar centennial: Leaders hold tight to founder's vision

An agricultural agent and R. E. Olds (right) take stock of an Oldsmar sugar beet field in 1921.

Burgert Brothers Photography (1921)

An agricultural agent and R. E. Olds (right) take stock of an Oldsmar sugar beet field in 1921.

It was 1916 when Ransom Eli Olds, creator of the Oldsmobile, purchased 37,541 acres at the top of Tampa Bay for $400,000.

He laid out wide roads made of crushed shell like the spokes of a wheel, with Tampa Bay as the hub. He planned Oldsmar to be a "working man's" community with industries of tourism, manufacturing, farming and citrus. Olds advertised the development to folks up North as the "land of golden opportunities for health, wealth and happiness."

By 1920, 121 families were living in the Oldsmar area. The town had basic industries including utilities, mills, foundry and furniture. Stores sold groceries and hardware and general merchandise. There was an inn, a post office, a church, a school and a library.

Then in 1921, a hurricane with a 14-foot storm surge devastated the town. The town struggled and Olds left, suffering a financial loss of close to $3 million.

The Great Depression would take its toll and force most of the remaining populace to leave. It wasn't until decades later that Oldsmar experienced a revival.

Today the population is roughly 14,000.

City leaders are focused on rebuilding and revitalizing downtown. They've expressed interest in a Major League Baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays and commuter rail system on the current CSX railroad tracks.

Dan Saracki, Oldsmar 100 committee chairperson and City Council member, said the goal of the planning committee was the same as R.E. Olds had when he bought the land: "To bring people and families together."

"If he (Olds) saw Oldsmar today, he'd be one happy man."

Terri Bryce Reeves, Times correspondent

Oldsmar centennial: Leaders hold tight to founder's vision 04/27/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 3:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Equifax CEO Richard Smith steps down amid hacking scandal

    Personal Finance

    The chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will retire, effective Tuesday, according to a statement by the company.

    Richard Smith, chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will reportedly retire effective Tuesday.
[File photo: Joey Ivansco/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP]
  2. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption

    College

    NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors have announced charges of fraud and corruption in college basketball, including against four coaches.

    The coaches work at Arizona, pictured, Oklahoma State, Auburn University and the University of Southern California. [Getty Images]
  3. Bass Pro acquires Cabela's for $4 billion

    Retail

    Bass Pro Shops has acquired competitor Cabela's for a reported $4 billion. Bass Pro indicated it is seeking to appeal to all "outdoor enthusiasts" with the move, roping in hunting customers from Cabela's.

    Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's for $4 billion, Bass Pro announced Tuesday. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  4. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem

    Bucs

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  5. Tampa International named among least expensive airports

    News

    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]