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During the early 16th century Spanish explorers discovered and slowly began exploring Florida, including Tampa Bay.
In 1528 Panfilo de Narvaez landed in Pinellas, and 10 years later Hernando de Soto is thought to have explored the Tampa Bay Area.
The peninsula, along with a small part of the mainland were incorporated into the new county. Petersburg on January 1, 1914 when Tony Jannus made the world's first scheduled commercial airline flight with the St. During this period municipalities issued a large number of bonds to keep pace with the needed infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
The travel time to Tampa was cut in half—from 43 to 19 miles (69 to 31 km)—by the opening of the Gandy Bridge in 1924, along the same route Jannus' airline used.
The modern site is protected and can be visited as part of the County's Philippe Park.
Around the same time, the United States Army began construction of Fort Harrison, named after William Henry Harrison, as a rest post for soldiers from nearby Fort Brooke during the Second Seminole War.
The new fort was located on a bluff overlooking Clear Water Harbor, which later became part of an early 20th-century residential development (now historic district) called Harbor Oaks.
Local economies came into severe difficulties, and by 1930, St. Only after World War II would significant growth return to the area. The area's women and girls participated in the war effort as well.
During the war, the area's tourist industry collapsed, but thousands of recruits came to the area when the U. Hundreds of girls from the area's most prominent families formed a group called the Bomb-a-Dears, holding dances, socializing with recruits, and selling war bonds.After trading hands multiple times between the British and the Spanish, Spain finally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821, and in 1823 the U. The very next year Odet Philippe became the first permanent, non-native resident of the peninsula when he established a homestead near the site of the Tocobaga village in Safety Harbor.