Long before condominiums appeared on the Florida coastline, itinerant fishing parties visited the barrier islands along the Pinellas peninsula. Fewer than 200 people lived in present-day Pinellas County in September 1848, when a destructive hurricane carved Johns Pass. Developers first focused their efforts along the inlet with a settlement known as Mitchell Beach in the early 1910s, but it had only limited success since no bridges connected the island to the mainland. The first bridge opened along Welch Causeway in 1926, and electricity came to the island a few years later. Small, scattered settlements took shape along Johns Pass and near 150th Avenue before World War II, but widespread development did not begin until the incorporation of Madeira Beach in 1947. By the 1950s, subdivisions sprouted up along islands dredged from Boca Ciega Bay. Today, condominiums have replaced most beach cottages.
About the Author
A native and lifelong resident of Pinellas County, James Anthony Schnur grew up in Redington Beach and has witnessed the changes along Madeira Beach’s shoreline firsthand since the mid-1960s. A former president of the Pinellas County Historical Society, Schnur served as that organization’s historian for the 2012 Pinellas County Centennial and has taught college courses in history since 1996.
Table of Contents
1 The Shoreline, the "Sand Man," and Mosquitoes: l800s-1945 9
2 Famous Fishing at Johns Pass: 1946-2013 31
3 Building a Town and a Sense of Community: 1946-1960 47
4 A Dredged Dreamscape: 1961-1980 67
5 "Condo Mania" and an Ever-Changing Coastline: 1981-2000 111
6 A Perfect Sunset: 2001-2013 121