Chronological Mileposts in the History of the Pinellas Peninsula

Prehistory – 1513 Indigenous cultures: Archaic through Mississippian
1513 – 1842 1513 – 1565 Age of the Conquistador (throughout La Florida)
1513 – 1763 First Spanish period (throughout La Florida)
1528 – 1549
Conquistors/missionaries visit Punta Pinal
(Panfilo de Narvaez through Dominican Fr. Luis Cancer de Barbastro) 
1500s – early 1700s Demise of indigenous native peoples (Tocobagas)
1763 – 1784 English period (sparse settlement in Tampa Bay region)
1784 – 1821 Second Spanish period (throughout La Florida)
late 1810s – 1842 Seminoles arrive and live in west central Florida
1820s – 1840s Early white settlers and sailors arrive (i.e., Odet Philippe)
1835 – 1842 Second Seminole War
1842 – 1860 Early organized settlement under Armed Occupation Act of 1842
mid 1850s
(settlers obtain clear titles to property, rather than occupying lands as squatters) 

Increased travel by boat to Key West, Cedar Keys, Tampa

1861 – 1877 Civil War and Reconstruction
1860s – early 1870s Abandonment of some farmsteads; population decline
1877 – 1888 Enhanced agriculture and slight population growth
mid 1870s Decline of cotton; early emphasis on citrus (still small-scale before the arrival of railroads); early “roads”
mid 1870s – mid 1880s Arrival of notable developers and their agents (i.e., Hamilton Disston, Anson Safford, John C. Williams)
1888 – 1901 Railroads usher in the “Bourbon Era” along the Pinellas Peninsula
1887 – 1888 Orange Belt connects region with Sanford and points north
1880s – 1900s Expansion of farms and citrus enterprises near railroads
1880s – 1910s Decline of early coastal communities bypassed by the railroad (Anona absorbed by Largo; Bay View overtaken by Clearwater; Anclote replaced by Tarpon Springs)
1898 Spanish-American War, and later construction of Fort De Soto and expansion of facilities of Egmont Key
1901 – 1918 First land boom and demands for “home rule”
1901 – 1911 Increased demands for separation from Hillsborough
1901 – 1950s Expansion of citrus culture across Pinellas
1910s Opening of additional railroad lines to Pinellas
1912 Political autonomy from Hillsborough County
1917 – 1918 Participation in World War I
1918 – 1926 Second land boom along the Pinellas Peninsula
early 1920s Improved transportation through “good roads movement”
early 1920s Last major hurricane to hit the Tampa Bay region directly
1924 Opening of Gandy Bridge
1926 – 1940 Economic retrenchment, increased agricultural productivity, and some growth
1926, 1928, 1935 Major hurricanes hit southern Florida
1934 Opening of Ben T. Davis (Courtney Campbell) Causeway
1941 – 1945 Mobilization and globalization during World War II
1945 – 1971 Golden age of roadside attractions, fun ‘n’ sun, and Progressive Pinellas
early 1950s – present Increased suburbanization; demographic explosion
1950s – 1960s Finger islands appear along the coast; dredging; Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay become “sick”; acres of mobile homes replace citrus groves
early 1950s – 1990s Cold War industries (Honeywell, GE, etc.)
early 1950s Early suburban shopping centers (Tyrone Gardens, Central Plaza)
1950s – 1960s Decline in agriculture, commercial aquaculture, and sponging
1950s – 1960s Increased popularity of roadside attractions (Sunken Gardens, Aquatarium, Tiki Gardens), motor courts and hotels, and other venues that gave the area a distinct character (opening of Fort DeSoto, dinners at the two Kapok Tree restaurants)
1954 Sunshine Skyway, beginnings of new US-19 move transportation arteries further from downtowns
1954 – 1964 Early challenges to segregation (sit-ins, expansion of segregated facilities such as Gibbs Junior College in defiance of Brown)
1964 – 1971 Legal challenges to segregation (from the initiation of the Bradley case to the 1971 federal implementation decree requiring busing to maintain integrated facilities)
1960s Arrival and expansion of Interstate highways in region
1960s Remodeling “God’s Waiting Room”
1971 – Present Built culture, a concrete county, and changes in the Florida “Dream”
1971 Disney opens, Tampa International Airport arrives
1970s – 1990s Decline of state societies, changes in tourism, snowbirds fly in different directions
1970s – present Condos consume the shoreline, cross-county congestion