Dunedin, Florida

Dunedin reflects the rich American and Scottish heritage of it founding fathers. This charming village-like city has the distinction of being one of the oldest towns south of Cedar Key. Early in its history, thanks to a dock built to accommodate schooners and sloops, and the ingenuity of pioneers from as near as Georgia and as far as Scotland, Dunedin became one of Florida's chief seaport and trading centers. At one time Dunedin had the largest fleet of sailing vessels in Florida. The first land deed was recorded in 1852 by Richard L. Garrison, only seven years after Florida became a state. In the mid-1870's, two Scotsmen from Edinburgh, John Ogilvie Douglas and James Somerville, opened a general store on Dunedin's waterfront. Directly east of them, George L. Jones of Marietta, Georgia, had a similar store. In 1878, the two Scots succeeded in having the first Post Office installed in their store, officially naming the town with the name they had chosen, Dunedin, which is Gaelic for their home town of Edinburgh.

The town became incorporated in 1899, with only 113 people in the incorporated area. Dunedin became a city in 1925. In 1900, Dunedin's Main Street, then called Oak Street, extended only from Douglas Avenue to the Waterfront. Today over one hundred businesses thrive in one of the most popular downtowns in Florida. The first newspaper, The West Hillsborough Times, came off the press in 1884. (West Hillsborough later became Pinellas County) It was printed in Dunedin and then sold to A.C. Turner of Clearwater. In 1892 it was sold and renamed the St. Petersburg Times. The original hand feed press is on display at the University of Florida. Noteworthy events in the new century included the formal organization of the Dunedin Yacht Club in 1903. By 1910, Dunedin's population reached 256 and in 1912 proponents for a separate county for Pinellas was successful and West Hillsborough became Pinellas County. By 1920, Dunedin's population reached 642 and the great Florida land and building boom was about to begin. A disastrous hurricane hit in October, 1921, finishing the separation of Hog Island into two parts, forming the present Hurricane Pass, and Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands. In early 1920 the real estate boom got underway. Biggest of the developments was Dunedin Isles, involving hundreds of acres in the Cedar Creek and Curlew Creek watersheds. The Dunedin Country Club and eighteen hole golf course was constructed during that period.

The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1926. The amphibious tractor, the Alligator, was assembled in Dunedin and used during World War II, playing a decisive role in the Pacific phase of the war. Frozen orange juice concentrate and the 'Pram' sailboat racer both originated here. In 1938, Clinton M. Washburn bought what is now Honeymoon Island. Contests were held in many cities to choose couples to send on honeymoons in about twenty thatched roof cabins during the summer seasons of 1940 and 1941. The honeymoon venture came to an abrupt end with the attack of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. In 1945 the Professional Golfers Association made Dunedin its headquarters, where it remained for eighteen years. During this period many of the country's famous golfers played the course, and all but three of the present streets in the Fairway Estates neighborhood were named for them. In 1950 Dunedin's population was only 3,202. Today the population exceeds 37,000. And in 1999, the City marked its centennial celebration. Dunedin's rich history has prepared it well for its bright future.

John Ogilvie Douglas is the son of John David Wilbur Douglas, born in the Tower of London, 1809, and grandson of Major James Douglas, 3rd Royal Veteran Battalion, b1751.

 

 

 

This page was last updated on 29 June 2015

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