Historical Sketch of Pinellas County

Historical Sketch of Pinellas County


(First entry, p. 92)
Pinellas county occupies the Pinellas peninsula in west central Florida between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico(1) and includes a narrow chain of barrier-beach islands lying from half a mile to three or four miles off the western shore.(2) The Pinellas mainland is only about 34 miles long and 15 miles wide at its widest point. While the county has a land boundary of only 18 miles, it has a water front of approximately 128 miles. The level and undulating topography of the coastal plain predominates, although rolling or hilly country is found in the northern part of the county.(3) Recorded elevations range from 13 feet at Dunedin on the Gulf coast to 50 feet at Largo, an inland town.(4)
No stream of any importance flows through the county, although the mouth of the Anclote River, a tidewater stream which rises in Pasco county, lies just south of the northern boundary. The best natural drainage is found in the western part of the county, where the "piney woods" or high hammock lands are sufficiently well drained to permit citrus fruit growing and other forms of agriculture. Poorly drained areas lie between Largo and St. Petersburg and extend from Lake Butler southeast to the Hillsborough county line.(5)
The subtropical climate is one of relatively stable temperature, the mean annual temperature being approximately 70 degrees, Fahrenheit, with a winter mean of about 60 degrees and a summer mean of close to 80 degrees. The winter climate is mild and balmy, although killing frosts are not unusual in January and February. The mean annual rainfall is over 50 inches.(6)
The Pinellas peninsula and neighboring keys supported a relatively dense Indian population during the pre-Columbian and early Spanish periods, as evidenced by numerous mounds and shell heaps.(7) Although earlier writers assumed that the Indians around Tampa Bay were Calusa, Swanton has concluded that the tribes in this vicinity belonged to the Timucua group.(8) The archaeological remains on the peninsula have not
1. Grove B. Jones and T. M. Morrison, "Soil Survey of Pinellas County Florida," in Fla. St. Geol. Survey, Annual Report, 1915, p. 295.
2. Roland M. Harper, "Geography of Central Florida," in Fla. St. Geol. Survey, Annual Report, 1921, p. 84.
3. Jones and Morrison, loc. cit., pp. 295-296.
4. E. H. Sellards and Herman Gunter, "The Artesian Water Supply of Eastern and Southern Florida," in Fla. St. Geol. Survey, Annual Report, 1913, p. 250.
5. Jones and Morrison, loc. cit., pp. 296, 306.
6. Ibid., pp. 298, 330.
7. See S. T. Walker, "Preliminary Explorations among the Indian Mounds in Southern Florida," Board of Regents, Smithsonian Institution, Annual Report, 1879, pp. 392-413.
8. Final Report of the United States De Soto Expedition Commission, H. Doc. No. 71, 76 Cong., 1 Sess., Washington, 1939, p. 121; John R.  Swanton, "Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors", Bu. Am. Ethn., Bulletin 73, Washington, 1922, p. 331.


State Library of Florida, WPA - Historical Records Survey, County Histories


Brief history of Pinellas County, Florida collected by the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey.

Note to Researchers: Though the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, it should be noted that these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.