Clearwater is an American city that is situated in Pinellas County, Florida. This city is located northwest of St. Petersburg and west of Tampa. It covers an area of thirty-seven square miles and has a population of over one hundred and eight thousand residents. Clearwater has been the home of many famous residents. Famous past and current residents of the city include Evel Knievel, Riley Cooper, Ricky Carmichael, Nicole Stott, Hulk Hogan, Jim Morrison, Lisa Marie Presley, Raquel Gibson, Aaron Gillespie, Beverly Mullins, Brooke Hogan and Ken Climo. The city is also home to several colleges and universities which include Clearwater Christian College, Pinellas Technical Education Center, St. Petersburg College and Everest University. Clearwater is also the worldwide headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
Clearwater can trace its history back to the nineteenth century, when Fort Harrison was constructed by the United States Army. This fort was situated on the bluffs overlooking Clearwater Harbor. The city grew rapidly after the passage of the Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842. This act offered one hundred and sixty acres of land to anyone who would cultivate the land and bear arms for the Federal government. During the Civil War, while many of the healthy men of the city were fighting for the Confederacy, Union gunships raided the city’s store houses. After the first passanger rail line into the city, it began to see an increase in commercial development. In 1891, Clearwater was incorporated as a city and James E. Crane became its first mayor. In 1897, a Victorian resort hotel known as the Belleview Biltmore was just outside the city, and Clearwater became a popular vacation destination. During World War II, the city became a training center for American troops. Every hotel in the city during this time was re-purposed as military barracks.
Today, Clearwater is once again a popular vacation destination. It has many festivals held on an annual basis which include the Imagine International Film Festival, Foster Grant Ironman World Championship, Fun N Sun Festival, Hispanic Heritage Festival, Clearwater Celebrates America and Clearwater Jazz Holiday. The city is also home to several popular attractions. One of the more popular attractions in the city include Ruth Eckerd Hall. Ruth Eckerd Hall is a seventy-three thousand square foot performing arts venue. It is the performance venue for the Florida Orchestra and was named after Ruth Eckerd, wife of Jack Eckerd. It has a twenty-one hundred seat auditorium that is done in the continental seating configuration, without a center aisle. It was founded in 1977, when the Kapok Tree Corporation donated thirty-eight acres of land to the City of Clearwater. Two years later, construction on it began. It cost over fourteen million dollars to construct and was opened in October of 1983. This performance hall receives over three hundred and fifty thousand patrons a year and contains performances which range from classical music to Broadway musicals.
Other popular attractions in the city of Clearwater include The Segway Adventure, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater Gliders Segway Adventures, Pier 60, Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, Clearwater Beach, Thriller Power Boat, Sand Key Park, Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Club, Sand Key Park, Beach Walk, Bright House Networks Field, Cove Cay Country Club, Calypso Queen, Clearwater Golf Park, Airco Golf Course, Murder She Wrote Dinner Theater, Kelly’s Beach Place, Sea Life Safari, Harborview Center, Sky Screamer Parasail, Dive Clearwater and Belleview Biltmore Golf Club. The city is also home to superb restaurants and hotels. Restaurants in Clearwater include Gondolier Italian Restaurant, Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Island Way Grill, O’Keefe’s Restaurant, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and Columbia Restaurant. Hotels in the city include Sandpearl Resort, Quality Hotel Clearwater Beach, Shephard’s Beach Resort, Chart House Hotel & Suites, Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort and Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites.