Clearwater was an area that was only known by the Native Americans. During this era, clear springs burbled into the neighboring bay from the banks. The springs, which are non-existent today, were situated along the bluffs upon which downtown Clearwater and City Hall are now located. Early settlers in the region referred to the area as Clear Water Harbor, until 1895, when the two names were joined to one. Later, in 1906, ‘Harbor’ was dropped, and Clearwater became the region’s official name.
In 1822, Florida became a single territory. In 1835, during the Wars of the Seminole Indians, the government established the initial ‘Fort Harrison’ as an area where soldiers could recuperate, rather than a defense fort. This fort was situated on the high bluffs where Harbor Oaks is today found. In 1841, the fort got abandoned. Today, there is a plaque on Clearwater’s Druid Road in commemoration of the fort.
A majority of the settlers in the region farmed cotton and vegetables. Fish were in bulk. In1846, a vicious storm and hurricane hit the area hard. The ‘Clear Water Times’, the area’s first ever newspaper was launched by C S Reynolds, a reverend in the area. In 1888, the narrow-gauge railway first got to the region. By this time, the Clearwater community was made up of approximately 18 families. Henry Plant, a local area developer, then constructed the region’s first standard gauge railway. In a bid to boost his passenger business, Henry built an array of grand hotels and resorts, including the famous Belleview Biltmore.
In May 1915, the city of Clearwater got incorporated. One year later, the first library in the area was built, following a huge grant from Andrew Carnegie. That same year, a wooden bridge to Clearwater’s beach was erected. All through the early 19th century, Clearwater recorded steady growth. Early developments and great climate were some of the biggest draws of tourists and other settlers to the area. Towards the onset of the 20th century (1920s), Florida’s real estate boom commenced. By the time it was getting to 1925, it has already gotten to its peak.
The region’s population continued to take an upward surge. After the Second World War came to an end, majority of the soldiers who had trained in Clearwater returned to reside in the region. By the time it was getting to the 1940s, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team started its spring training here. From the 1950s, the population rose from 15,000 residents and continued to grow steadily until the number that Clearwater has today.