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Nelson Poynter Memorial Library -- Catalogs; Florida -- Archival resources; Archives -- Florida -- Catalogs; Gandy, George, 1851-1946; Real estate developers -- Florida -- St. Petersburg; St. Petersburg (Fla.) -- History; Abstracts of title -- Florida -- Pinellas County; Local and Regional History Provenance; Abstracts of title -- Florida -- Hillsborough County


On 15 November 2004, Guy Greene donated an abstract of title prepared by St. Petersburg’s West Coast Title Company. The contents include typewritten copies of deeds, contracts, mortgages, liens, judgments, and other such items compiled from the public records of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties through 12 July 1957. (Prior to 1912, Pinellas was part of Hillsborough County.) Early records include real estate agreements transferring land from the State of Florida to Hamilton Disston, a Philadelphia capitalist who acquired four million acres of Florida land in the early 1880s for $1,000,000. A substantial portion of the Pinellas Peninsula was included in this transaction. Many of the documents pertain to a lawsuit involving Jacob S. Disston—Hamilton’s brother—and the St. Petersburg Investment Company. George S. Gandy (1851-1946), once an “office boy” for Hamilton Disston and later a building contractor in Philadelphia, arrived in St. Petersburg in 1903. He came at the urging of F. A. Davis, a Philadelphia publisher who came to St. Petersburg to establish a streetcar railway and electric plant. Davis had also served as president of the St. Petersburg Investment Company. Gandy quickly diversified his interests in the small but growing city of St. Petersburg. His La Plaza theatre, once located at Fifth Street and Central Avenue, opened as a public venue in 1913. In November 1924, “Dad” Gandy’s namesake bridge connected St. Petersburg and Tampa at the height of the Florida land boom. Greene, a retired educator, owned this abstract of title, a document originally prepared for George N. Bickner.



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