Courtesy: City of Safety Harbor

County Historic Preservation Board to Host Summit in Safety Harbor

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Take a walk downtown and you’re bound to notice taller buildings and fewer trees than there were just a couple of years ago. But there are still old buildings and homes that give our city the charm that makes it so unique.

There are homes throughout the downtown corridor that were here 100 years ago. But many homeowners don’t know the full histories of these structures.  There are also homes with historical markers out front. What does one do to learn more about their home or business building and its story?

New construction began when Safety Harbor was first occupied by non-native peoples. We’ve had neighborhoods pop up where orange groves once covered the land. We’ve had buildings burn to the ground, buildings torn down, and we’ve seen old buildings refurbished and given a new purpose.  Take, for example, the Safety Harbor Senior Living building on the north corner of Philippe Parkway and Main St. It was constructed during the Florida boom years—the 1920s. Newspapers described it as being one of the most modern buildings in Pinellas County. It had hot and cold running water in each room, telephones, and, uncommon for that time, an elevator.

For several decades, there was a building across the street from it nicknamed the Silver Dome building, for the dome on its roof. It was built so poorly, though, that by the 1980s it had been condemned and torn down. There were buildings where the library stands today, including apartments and a movie theater. They’re all gone now.

Laura moved to this city in 2008 and immediately realized she had found Paradise! In an effort to meet creative people who also enjoyed writing, she founded Safety Harbor Writers & Poets in 2010. She has since facilitated open mic nights, classes, conferences and more. She is co-author of A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida, and editor-in-chief of ODET, a Florida-based literary journal named for Odet Philippe, who she believes, was the first known storyteller to call this town home. Currently serving as the secretary for the Whispering Souls African American Cemetery, and as a museum board member, she plans to share local history, biographies, and more through her Safety Harbor Sun contributions. She can be reached by email at safetyharborhistory@gmail.com.