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Confiscated liquor damages plumbing

Published Aug. 24, 2005

Dec. 26, 1924

Regardless of published statements to the contrary, no liquor of any kind was poured out on the courthouse lawn Wednesday. The lawn around the county temple of justice is far too valuable to be ruined in any such manner. The caretaker has been busy for years in perfecting this masterpiece, and the reader may wager his bottom dollar that J.N. Brown would not permit such desecration as the pouring of moonshine upon this lawn.

So Deputy Sheriff Jack Strickland, accompanied by Sheriff Roy Booth and Karl B. O'Quinn, the coming clerk of the circuit court, ascended the stairs to that mysterious room immediately in the rear of the circuit courtroom. They opened the Yale lock on the door and a padlock on a steel cell. Seizing the big glass jugs, demijohns and containers of all sorts, these men willfully poured all the moonshine, synthetic gin, red liquor and other essences of trouble down a drainpipe from the second floor of the courthouse to the sewer.

O'Quinn noticed that some of the synthetic gin boiled and bubbled as it struck the porcelain fittings. Some of the moonshine seemed to be acting as a mordant, deeply etching the iron and causing great accumulation of displaced molecules.

Holding up a bottle of this 'shine, the officials noticed that a foreign substance had collected in the bottom of each bottle. This was found to be caustic potash, and it at once cleansed the pipes and left the inside shining like silver.

It was too late to save the plumbing. Nobody realized that the liquor was so strong, or at least a portion of the 200 quarts might have been saved for use as a metal polish.

Jan. 1, 1925

Clearwater to Tarpon road opened

CLEARWATER _ A report from the county engineer states that road No. 1, from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs, is open to traffic today.

Completion of this highway was promised by the first of the year, and the contractors seem to have been as good as their word.

Those using the road yesterday found but a short detour around a block-laying force, and every effort was being made to finish the gap by New Year's day.

Interest in the road to Tarpon Springs is heightened by the fact that many motorists from Clearwater and the southern end of the county wish to attend the Greek Cross Day celebration, which will occur Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next, Jan. 5, 6 and 7. The most interesting feature of the ceremonies is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 6., when the act of diving for the cross will be staged on Spring Bayou. This is called the blessing of the waters and is a climax to the Epiphany as observed by members of the Greek church.

Jan. 2, 1928

Greek Cross Day celebration in Tarpon

TARPON SPRINGS _ Next Sunday will be Greek Cross Day at the sponge fishing center of Pinellas County.

Because this is the only spot in America where the Epiphany celebration is held, thousands of Greeks and people of Greek descent will come from all corners and nooks of the land to be present.

Tarpon Springs is preparing for a large crowd of visitors, who will journey there for a ceremony that St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has conducted for 22 years.

The services at St. Nicholas Church will take up the greater part of the morning Sunday, and it will be about noon before the procession is formed that will go to the bayou for that spectacular part of the celebration.

There, dozens of motor boats and other craft will anchor so that their occupants may better observe the unique ceremonials that follow.

After the blessing of the water, the white dove will be released, and as the bird is released, the archbishop will cast the golden cross into the waters. Instantly, divers will plunge into the waters in spirited search for recovery of the cross.

Theresa Blackwell compiles the history column. She can be reached at (727) 771-4305 or

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.