The many responses to Freedom magazine (published by the Church of Scientology) from local Clearwater residents show that our readers are interested in Clearwater and want to know more about it. Many residents expressed an interest in the colorful history of our city. Thus, Freedom magazine printed a multi-part series on the history of Clearwater, covering the discovery of what became known as Clear Water Harbor by early settlers through World War II. Because of the overwhelmingly popularity of that series, we are reprinting it in full on these web sites.
The land around Clearwater opened in 1842 to pioneers who took advantage of the Armed Occupation Act passed that year by the United States government. Under this act, 160 acres of land could be granted to any “head of family or single man over 18,” provided they would bear arms, live on the land for five years in a proper habitation and cultivate at least five acres of the property.
Fifty-two deeds were issued for homesteads on the Pinellas peninsula prior to the Civil War. Settling in, these homesteaders created self-sufficient farms which produced hogs, goats, sheep and poultry, and cultivated corn, cotton and sweet potatoes. Farmers could supply much of their own needs through these products and the abundant fish and game in the region.