Table of Contents

Bones

Campbell Family Tree

Citrus

City Display Timeline

Ceiling Clouds

Fred the Cat

Ink Drawings

Indian Display

Jessie’s Tools

Publix Tiles

Marjorie Campbell and Jesse Johnson

Map Cabinet

Meares/ Leach/ Brumby

Railroad Oakhurst-Seminole

Seminole Elementary School

VFD - Fire Department

World War II Memorial

Bones


Seminole Historical Society Boca Ciega Millennium Park Bones Exhibit

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Talking Points and Background

  • The Millennium Park Dig was quite significant  because the animals lived here, died here and were discovered here.

  • A 16 year old Seminole High school student, Sierra Sarti-Sweeney, was on a nature photography walk in 2007 when she stumbled across a shiny black rock about the size of a football. She took the rock home to show her  brother, Sean, a geology student at USF. After some initial research, it was discovered that the rock was the tooth of a Columbian mammoth. The family contacted paleontology experts, who confirmed the identification of the tooth.  The county closed the park, and an 11-month dig began. These bones and fossils are products of the dig. County park employees began working at the site, along with experts from Tampa Museum of Science and Industry, USF, and St. Petersburg College. The University of Florida also was involved. The Tampa Bay Fossil Club worked with Seminole High students, teaching them how to make plaster jackets for fragile bones. Work at the dig became a community effort. Sierra, the finder of the tooth, called the find “One of the proudest moments of my life,” and continues her interest in fossils to this day (2018).


  • The mammoth at our museum lived during the late Pleistocene Epoch (Ice Age) about 11,700 years ago.  During the late Pleistocene Epoch, there are signs that the Paleo Indians existed alongside of the mammoths.

  • A mammoth height was about 14 to 15 feet. Our museum ceiling is 15’ high.

  • A mammoth weight was around 8 - 10 tons, or 16,000 to 20,000 lbs.

  • The mammoth jaw in the cabinet is that of a 50-year old male.

  • The single tooth in the cabinet is 16” long.

  • Mammoths were vegetarian and consumed 700 lbs. of tough grasses and other types of vegetation daily.

  • Mammoths had only 4 teeth: two upper and two lower. These teeth were replaced 6 times in their lifetime. At age 43, they would have their sixth set that would last the rest of their lives.  When the molar ridges wore down and the mammoth could no longer grind its food, it died of starvation.

  • A mammoth’s life span was 60 to 80 years.

  • Mammoths migrated from Asia and Europe 1.5 million years ago.

  • Other bones in the display are from  giant tortoises, giant armadillos, horses,  white-tailed deer, llamas, and giant bison.

It is most unusual  that all of these different animal bones were found near each other. This site was much different while these animals were alive. Scientists believe that Pinellas county was 100 miles from the ocean. There are many theories as to how all of these different animal bones came to be found together. One theory is that the animals  got stuck in the muck of a riverbed. The animals died and the river washed all the bones together.




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Campbell Family Tree


Talking Points and Background

Benjamin Campbell (b.1843-d.1902), married Margaret Ann Taylor in 1868 in Brooksville FL. They moved  to Seminole in 1873. Ben and Maggie had 9 children, 27 grandchildren and a “ whole bunch” of great grandchildren.


  • Two interesting Campbells to highlight are John Archibald Campbell and F. Leon Campbell. Both were sons of Benjamin and Maggie Campbell, affectionately called Grandma Maggie by many.

  • Leon was responsible for the building of the log cabin near Seminole United Methodist church on 54th Ave. This was a  CCC as well as a WPA project that was constructed during the  presidency of FDR. Leon knew everyone in the area and wrote about many of the families in Seminole. He wrote about what they did, about their children, and where they lived.

  • The Campbell Stand contains many interesting stories of the families of the 9 children of Benjamin and Campbell and Margaret. They were all written by Leon Campbell.



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Citrus

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Talking Points and Background

  • Pickers used ladders and citrus bags to pick the ripe fruit.

  • There were 8 major growers in the Pinellas area.

  • In the 1940’s Pinellas county was #1 in the country for growing and producing grapefruit.

  • There is still an orange grove store on the West side of Indian Rocks bridge, Yellow Banks Orange Groves.

The citrus display is composed of sample products, a ladder ( donated by Roland Martens) used  by the pickers to get to the citrus, a citrus bag used by workers to gather the fruit, as well as crates used to ship the fruit. There were  8 major growers in the Pinellas area. All of them had stores on Seminole Blvd. The last store to close was Orange Blossom Groves.





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City Display Timeline


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Talking Points and Background

  • The city timeline gives you an idea of the important events in the city history.

  • The surrounding cities of St. Petersburg and Largo were closing in on Seminole. These cities were planning to annex the Seminole community.

  • In November of 1970, two city leaders, Dennis DeLoach and William Dunlop, met to finalize state requirements to become a city. They also elected a city council and mayor. The city council is listed on the plaque. The first mayor was Russell Stewart.

  • The following Tuesday a state judge swore in the new city government.


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Ceiling Clouds

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Talking Points and Background

  • The clouds represent the orange industry, the water tower, and the Seminole schools.


  • Bauder Elementary opened in the fall of 1971. While the school was being built, students were housed in the former Largo Senior High building Board where Seminole Junior HIgh students had classes a few years before while they were awaiting the completion of their school. Today, the Pinellas County School Board building stands on this site.

  • Seminole Middle School opened in the fall of 1968 as Seminole Jr. High. The first class had only 7th grade. The following year, 8th grade was added, and the year after that, the school added 9th grade. It remained a jr. high until the 1973-1974 school year, when Pinellas County went to a middle school model (grades 6-8), and high school became grades 9-12. Many high schools in the county, including Seminole HIgh, went on double session to alleviate overcrowding. It was several years before all the high schools returned to single session.


  • Seminole High School opened in fall of 1961. The first graduating class was the class of 1962. The school mascot, Wally Warhawk, was based on a caricature of the first principal, Stanley Moore, done by Ed Barclay. Mr. Moore had a rather large proboscis that was memorialized in the picture by  Ed Barclay, an artist for the St. Petersburg Times.


  • Seminole Elementary opened in 1915. Additional information can be found on the Seminole Elementary display.


  • Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School opened in 1962 as the Seminole Vocational Education Center. The school has undergone many name changes over the years.


  • Orange Grove Elementary opened in fall of 1960, and was on double session with Madeira Beach Elementary until it was ready to open in January of 1960.


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Fred the Cat


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Talking Points and Background

  • In 1983 an underfed, skinny cat showed up at City Hall in Seminole City Park. The staff at city hall adopted him,  naming him Fred.

  • They fed him and had  all his shots updated with a veterinarian. Fred loved people and would wait every morning at the door of City Hall .

  • He would go in and sleep on the carpet floors.

  • A funny story is  that he often lined up his trophies of mice at the front door. He was showing off his hunting ability to prove his worth.

  • Fred received an official city funeral when he died in 2006. There is a marble grave just outside the front door of the museum dedicated to his memory.




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Ink Drawings


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Talking Points and Background

  • These were done by Mr. Dennis McBride as a result of his research of the Seminole area.  They represent various structures and buildings which are found in the Seminole community. This includes Jesse Johnson’s home (1937),  the first elementary school (1905), Marvin Chapel, the Leach Home, Bay Pines Hospital, the Water Tower and Jasmine Groves. The structures that are still standing include the Forsyth House, the Wing Homestead, Seminole Hunting Lodge, and Jesse Johnson’s home.




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Indian Display


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Donated Native American cultural artifacts  July 5, 2015.

Most of the cultural artifacts donated have been assembled by tribal groups from the northern plains Indians (Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, etc.) and some from the Southwest.  It’s hard to find artifacts from native groups who lived in the city of Seminole area since no Indians have inhabited this area consistently since the Tocobaga in the early 1500’s.  And all Tocobaga artifacts are found in village ruins and middens which are unearthed through archaeological excavations and these reside in Museums, not in private hands. Much of these prehistoric artifacts are lost due to rot and decay; only isolated objects of stone, bone and ceramics survive the Florida environment. Thus, based on my (Roger Block) thirty years of research in Native America and working with many tribal groups, I am confident in stating that there is a general consistency in fundamental spiritualism and traditions across all Native groups from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northern Plains and from the eastern forests to the Pacific coast.  All Native groups honored the Spirit World and their natural environment in similar ways and made cultural artifacts to serve their earthly needs with local materials and materials obtained in trade networks across our entire nation. Thus, what the Plains Indian made to honor the Spirit World or to conduct ceremonies were very similar to what Eastern and even Gulf Coast Tribes made and used. The purpose in all cases was the same and the implementation varied with local materials and elements of trade that were available. Thus, look at these cultural artifacts as typical representations of what Native America used in their everyday lives, even the Tocobagas.  But Tocobaga artifacts can only be found in buried ruins and middens and those that remain in those contexts are only isolated, durable pieces of the ancient artifacts and thus lost mostly to history.

  • A display of Indian artifacts including a genuine Seminole Indian jacket. The individual labeled items were donated by Dr. Roger Block. The display also has articles about the Seminole Historical Museum, the Seminole Pow-wow and the Seminole Library.

  • Native American culture across all of America was similar and consistent for all tribes as demonstrated by the cultural artifacts displayed here.

  • Rattles and pipes were used to contact the spirit world through prayer.

  • Two ceremonial arrows honor the hunting tools critical for survival of this hunter-gatherer society.

  • The ‘friendship lock” provided a spiritual link between you and your closest friends and family.

  • Ceramic pots were used for food storage and preparation.

  • Decorative necklaces were fabricated from natural stone, bone, and metal collected through vast trade networks and local sources.







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Jessie’s Tools


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Talking Points


  • Located under the Publix tiles on the west wall, Jesse Johnson and his wife Margaret, who is the source of all of Jesse’s land.  They were one of the original families in the Seminole area. These 60 acres were a gift for pasture and a vegetable garden, which Jesse later donated to the city where the Mall is today. Cows were raised in a large pasture where the Seminole Mall Apartments and Nursery where Freedom Square is located.

  • Mr. Jesse Johnson was instrumental in creating the city of Seminole. He helped build the first bank, Bank of Seminole. He also established the Seminole Nursery and the first grocery store and post office.

  • He also supplied the logs to build the first scouting headquarters. He was awarded the scouting's highest honor for community service, the Silver Beaver.

  • Jesse also supplied the logs to build the first Civic Center where the 22 families met and held church services. The Civic Center later became headquarters for a local scout troop.

  • Jessie Johnson owned the land where the present Career academy is located. He also dug out the small pond located in Seminole Park.





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Publix Tiles


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Talking Points

  • The enlarged mural is of the tiles is a representation of the tile mural located on the exterior of the Publix in the original Seminole Mall. Sue Etter a board member and talented computer person created a high resolution photograph which was turned into a wall mural.


  • The mural was dedicated to the hard working families who originally settled in the Seminole community. There is also a tractor which was placed there to honor Jesse Johnson. Riding and working with the tractor was one of his favorite jobs.


  • In front of the mural are farm tools used by area farmers including Buck Saw, Log rollers, Scythe. There are also yokes to harness mules for pulling and working the farm.


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Marjorie Campbell and Jesse Johnson


Talking Points

  • Marjorie Campbell was the daughter of John A. Campbell Sr. (He was the second child of Benjamin and Maggie) and Clara Blanch Meares.


  • Jesse Johnson had graduated from University of Florida in Horticulture in 1929.

  • Jesse came from Largo to court Marjorie. He came by way of a hand operated pumping railroad trolley car.

  • They were married in  Jesse loved the earth, he owned a nursery, the first bank, postoffice, Boy scout building and the old Seminole Mall built in 1965. All of the above were built on his land.

  • They were the first Mr. and Mrs. Seminole, Jesse and Margaret.





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Map Cabinet

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Talking Points

  • This solid oak map cabinet houses pictures and maps of the Seminole area. There are maps dated  1910 and as early as 1872. The cabinet built in Germany was a donation by Dr. Ed Lurie.








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Meares/ Leach/ Brumby


Talking Points and Background

  • Brothers Albert and Stuart Meares came from Wales, settling in the Seminole area in 1872.

  • They purchased the very land you are standing on in 1872 for $1.25 an acre. Albert opened the first post office in the area and called it St. John’s Mainland.

  • Albert married Adela Krewson. There is a drawing of the house they lived in, and where all 10 of their children were born. Vance Meares ( son of Albert and Adela Meares) built by Maurice Meares, the home that you see on the wall,  pictured above the counter near the entrance of the museum.

  • The Meares brothers had a sister in England named Bell. Their children wrote to her describing the oak trees and the unusual Spanish moss. Bell suggested calling the area Oakhurst. This is the name of one of our subdivisions in the Seminole area.

  • Vance Meares had a successful fruit shipping business utilizing the railroad which is now the Pinellas Trail. The home stood near the spring-fed lake which you see just outside the museum.

  • The Meares home was located in Seminole Park.  It had fallen into disrepair and was known by the children in the area as the “haunted house”. City purchased the property in 1974 for $200,000.  The house was taken down and the 10.8 acres was turned into the Seminole City Park as it is now.

  • In 1887 Robert Leach came to the Seminole area and purchased land. Robert created a successful business selling oranges and grapefruit. He married Katherine Brumby. The Brumby family business was handmade rockers and still does today. A genuine Brumby rocker was donated to the museum because of this connection to Seminole.

  • R.M. Brumby also had a shipping business. He used a boat to travel to Mobile, Alabama where he would barter for grain.  R.M. Brumby and James R. Brumby invented the Brumby rocking chair which is still built today in Marrietta, Ga.

  • Robert persuaded his brother Harry Leach to come to Seminole. He did and married

  • The Meares, Leaches and the Brumbys owned many acres of citrus land. They were a close knit family who shared “high tea” every day.





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Railroad Oakhurst-Seminole


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Talking Points and Background

  • This is a photo of the first train coming through Oakhurst-Seminole in 1914. The train is on the Tampa & Gulf Coast Railroad or TG&C R.R. The destination is St. Petersburg Florida.

  • The little engine was called the “Tug and Grunt” of the ACL line.  The photo was taken just a few yards from where you are standing. The train puffed out smoke and cinders. The tracks are now the Pinellas Trail which runs the entire length of Pinellas County.

  • The railroads were essential for the citrus growers. There was no other way to get to Tampa until the bridges were built in the 1920’s.

  • There was an Oakhurst RR Station just a few yards away from here on the West side of the tracks (see the 1925 map Dolph map which shows the station and Meares Lake). If you wanted to catch the train you had to flag the train down to stop it. Invoices for shipping grapefruit and oranges were found on the grounds of the Maurice Meares home here by children playing. The home was torn down in 1974.

  • There was an Oakhurst Railroad Station. There was also a station at Walsingham (Located at Walsingham and Ridge Road), Seminole Station (east of overpass on Seminole Blvd.),  and the Bay Pines Station (west of the Bay Pines VA Hospital). See photos of all three stations.

  • There were also other major railroads like the Atlantic Coastline Railroad or ACL. This line came from Sanford and Jacksonville to St. Petersburg in 1888.  These tracks go across Ulmerton and Bryan Dairy Roads. These lines merged to become the Coastal Airline Railroad, CAL, in 1967.

  • In the late 1930’s the streamliners made their appearance in Florida. The Silver Meteor traveling at 53 mph came from New York to St. Petersburg in 23 hours. This uniquely shaped diesel engine pulled stainless steel boxcars, sleeper’s diners, observation cars and coaches. The Silver Meteor brought many land speculators to Florida. They came right to the area of the museum.

  • The SAL also carried the Barnum and Bailey Circus through Seminole to St. Petersburg. See the photos of railroad stations, the SAL timetable and the 1925 Dolph Map showing the Oakhurst station and Meares Lake.





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Seminole Elementary School


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Talking Points and Background

  • Land for the first schools was donated by the Charles Thevenet family.  

  • The first school was built in the 1890’s. In 1933 the log cabin which served as a school was built by Leon Campbell.

  • Seminole Elementary School, the red brick structure on Park Boulevard west of Seminole Boulevard, was not the first Seminole school; there have been several others at various locations. The new school opened in the fall of 1915 with two teachers, Miss Emma Futch (also principal) and Miss Hazel Merchant.

  • In May of 2015, Seminole Elementary celebrated its 100th anniversary. The velvet curtain hung for many years in the original two room building. It is still utilized as a classroom in the school.



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  • Emma Futch was teaching in Leesburg when she applied for a teaching job in Pinellas County.  Here's the response she received by telegram from Education Superintendent Dixie Hollins (the one for whom Dixie Hollins High School is named). It is the original job offer for a salary of $196 per month.

  • She was offered and accepted the job, and became the first principal of Seminole Elementary School, beginning with its initial year, 1915,  Soon she was a bride. She married F. Leon Campbell, the widowed father of four young children who was also a member of one of the original 12 families of Seminole.  She was a treasured teacher and principal for many years. Ask around at the Centennial; you'll likely meet some of their descendants.Back in the day, school teachers were not required to have college degrees.  Somewhere about halfway through Emma's long career, the State ruled that teachers must have degrees.   Emma enrolled at University of Florida, which was men-only at the time. Emma proudly graduated - before UF even went coed!  She was very proud of that, and her family was proud of her.


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VFD - Fire Department


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Talking Points and Background

  • Seminole’s first fire department was a volunteer fire department (VFD) having only one truck. It was a brush fire truck which was always parked at  Mohn Funeral Home. Marty Mohn would receive the calls for a fire. She would then sound an alarm to notify the volunteers to report. Marty would announce at the beginning of every funeral  to ignore the siren if it went off during the service. It was just a call to the volunteers to report for duty.

  • A story which reflects the importance and relationship of the  VFD to the community is that of the SHS stadium lights. The local high school, Seminole High school, was brand new. There were no lights constructed as part of the football stadium. The players had to go to Largo to play any night games. They even had to wear Largo football uniforms. The  VFD decided to hold fundraisers to help pay for the stadium. They also built concession stands and bleachers. By way of spaghetti dinners, and barbeques, they made $8,000 and paid for lights installed.

  • It was suggested that a celebration parade was in order. This parade became an annual event called the “Seminole Pow Wow”.

  • The Seminole Fire Department was established after the city of Seminole was incorporated. Prior to that time, the community had a volunteer fire department.    

  • The Seminole Fire Department has grown from a community volunteer fire department into a professional, well trained group, still active in the community.




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World War II Memorial


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Talking Points and Background

  • This  memorial plaque was originally located in the Seminole United Methodist Church.

  • It is a listing of the men from the church and community who served in World War II from Seminole. In the Fall of 2015, during the church’s 125th anniversary,  the plaque was gifted to the Seminole Historical Society.

  • We are proud to have this plaque and memorial at our museum. It honors and pays tribute to those who served and fought in the war.