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Sheriff stages big liquor raid north of Tarpon

Jan. 5, 1925

As his first official act in Pinellas County this morning, Sheriff Roy Booth led a raiding party to the mouth of the Anclote River, north of this city. In a shack said to be owned by a local man, they confiscated more than 3,000 quarts of intoxicating liquors.

After the raid, Sheriff Booth said that the haul in Tarpon Springs was the first of many that he will conduct throughout the county.

"I will start at the top of the county and work down to the southern tip in an effort to clean out all bootlegging activities," he said.

Sheriff Booth received first word of the liquor when Police Chief Green of Tarpon Springs sent a message that two aliens had been captured and that their schooner had contained a large cargo of liquor.

Gathering his men together, Sheriff Booth immediately set out for Tarpon Springs. Arriving in the Sponge City, he questioned the aliens in the city jail. The two men declared that the liquor was unloaded and placed in a small building on the south side of the Anclote River near the mouth.

Obtaining a search warrant, the officers went to the place directed by the aliens. A search through the shack resulted in the discovery of 200 burlap bags, each containing from six to eight bottles. In a cellar in the rear of the shack, several hundred more bags were discovered, making 444 bags in all. Besides this, 35 gallons of alcohol and two demijohns of liquor, including Bacardi in jugs, were also taken.

The shack's owner was taken into custody immediately after the raid and is now lodged in the Clearwater county jail. The date for his hearing has not been set.

According to Sheriff Booth, the shack has been known as the headquarters of the bootlegging business in the northern section of the county for five years. This was the first raid made on the place, he said.

Jan. 2, 1928

Kingfish again running strong

CLEARWATER _ Kingfish have begun to run again and some fine specimens have been brought to the headquarters of the Clearwater Fish company on the old bridge to the beach. Return of the fighting kings is good news to sportsmen anglers who are making Clearwater their winter home.

Nearby waters are apparently full of trout, for big catches are being brought to market. A number of winter visitors have been making their expenses catching trout with hook and line. One old lady, some 80 years young, is said to have made upwards of $50 weekly by simply pulling in sea trout that hung around the causeway bridge, anxious to be landed.

Jan. 2, 1924

Hotel put into shape to open for season

BELLEAIR _ An extraordinarily large crew of painters worked overtime at the Belleview hotel last night in an effort to finish the painting of the lobby and hallways. Carpet layers have been working day and night and their work is practically done. The new plumbing will be completed today.

Manager H.C. Brasfield of the Clearwater telephone exchange has had a large crew of men working night and day completing the new phone system and another force of six experts arrived last night from Tampa and went right to work to finish the wiring of the big new switchboard. It is expected that the final test of the telephone work at the hotel will be made on Sunday. The Belleview opens on Monday, Jan. 5, and all of this intricate wiring must be in commission before that time.

Louis Kearney, wire chief in the local office, has installed an instrument at the Belleview hotel which operates on a direct wire to New York. He asserts that conversation over this line is heard as clearly as though the talker were in Clearwater. Telephone operators employed by the hotel company received their first practical instruction in operation of the switchboard last night. Close to 600 phones have been installed.

The newsstand at the Belleview has been changed to a location between the telephone exchange and the entrance to the dining room. It has also been considerably enlarged and the new place will be much more convenient for guests.

During this week alone, about 250 employees of the hotel company have arrived from different parts of the north, which makes the present force number nearly 700, all working to get the great hotel in shape for the opening at the beginning of next week. The dining room was this morning seen to be in entire readiness for the reception of guests. This year will doubtless be the banner season of the hotel's history.

_ 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.