Present-day Clearwater was originally the home of the Timucuan, Calusa and Apalachee tribes. Around 1835, the U.S. Army began construction of Fort Harrison as an outpost during the Seminole wars. The fort was located on a bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor in an area known today as Harbor Oaks. University of South Florida archeologists excavated the site in 1977 after Alfred C. Wyllie discovered an underground ammunition bunker while digging a swimming pool on his estate.
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The area's population grew in 1842, after the Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 offered 160 acres to anyone who would bear arms and cultivate the land. Early settlers included the Stevens, Stevenson and McMullen families, who claimed and farmed large tracts of land. Prior to 1906, the area was known as Clear Water Harbor. The name "Clear Water" is thought to have come from a fresh water spring flowing from near where the City Hall building is located today. There were many other freshwater springs that dotted the bayfront, many in the bay itself, which were the reason the crystal clear water found there.
Originally part of Hillsborough County, the first road joining Clearwater and Tampa was built in 1849, which dramatically reduced the prior day-long commute between the cities. The first US Post Office for Pinellas County was built on the site of the present Turner Steet Dock Park, circa 1859.
During the civil war, Union gunboats repeatedly raided the city's supplies as most of the able-bodied men were away fighting for the Confederate States of America army. The city began booming in late 19th century, prompted by Henry B. Plant building the first passenger railroad line into the city 1888. Clearwater was incorporated as a town in 1891 and James E. Crane became the town's first mayor . The town's reputation as a tourist destination grew in popularity when Plant built the Belleview Biltmore in 1897.
By the early 1900's, Clearwater's population had grown to around 400 - ballooning to nearly 1,000 in the winter. Clearwater was reincorporated, this time as a city, on May 27, 1915, and made the county seat for Pinellas County, which broke from Hillsborough County in 1912. Also in 1915, a bridge was built across Clearwater Harbor, joining the city with modern-day Clearwater Beach. Remnants of the original bridge still remain as boating hazards in the harbor's shallows.
During World War II, Clearwater became a major training base for U.S. troops destined for Europe and the Pacific. Virtually every hotel in the area, including the historic Belleview Biltmore and Fort Harrison Hotel, became luxury barracks for new recruits. Vehicle traffic regularly stopped for companies of soldiers marching through downtown, and nighttime blackouts to confuse potential enemy bombers were common practice. The remote and isolated Dan's Island, now Sand Key, was used as a target for US Army Air Corps fighter-bombers for straffing and bombing practice.
The city of Clearwater is currently experiencing growth both in business and residential subdivisions and communities. See School links for Elementary school, Middle School, High School, Colleges, and Universties.
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Forecast for Clearwater, FL- Tampa Bay Homes and Tampa Real Estate
1. Midlife Junction
Somewhere between the child-rearing years and retirement lies the Midlife Junction. Few households still have children. Most of the labor force is still employed, but approaching retirement. Almost a third are already drawing retirement income. Most still own their homes, but many have moved into multi-unit apartment buildings. The housing market is a mix of single-family homes and low-density apartments, somewhere between urban and rural. The residents of Midlife Junction have a median age of 40 years and a median household income of $42,900.
2. Old and Newcomers
Old and Newcomers are neighborhoods in transition, populated by renters, either starting up or retiring. Many householders are in their twenties or over the age of 75. The median age, 36 years, simply splits the difference. Spread throughout metropolitan areas of the US, these neighborhoods have more single-person and shared households than families. Many have moved recently. Mid- or high-rise apartment buildings constructed in the 1970s dominate the housing market.
3. Aspiring Young Families
Aspiring Young Families are attracted to the large, growing metropolitan areas in the South and West, with the highest shares in California, Florida and Texas. These are mainly young, start-up families, married couples or single parents, with children. Although young, with a median age of 30 years, almost half have already purchased start-up homes, with a high percent of townhouses. Half are renters, living in newer multi-unit buildings.
Source: ESRI Business Information Solutions
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