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. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.