About Clearwater

Clearwater, Florida is a progressive city that is committed to enhancing residents' lives while preserving a heritage that is rich in culture and exquisite in landscape. Here you'll find everything you could expect from a tropical paradise and much more.

Clearwater History

Literally translated "Clear Water" from the Native American "Pocotopaug", the area was named for its abundant fresh springs along the shore. Settled by colonists in the mid-1830s, it was not until the 1890s that Clearwater gained a reputation as a resort community.

1870 - John - David - Malcom - William, Thomas - James - Daniel McMullen.jpg When this area was home to only the Native Americans, clear springs gurgled from the banks into the bay. The springs, long since gone, were located along the high bluffs upon which Downtown Clearwater are now situated. Early settlers called it Clear Water Harbor, by which it was known until 1895 when Clearwater became one word. Harbor was dropped in 1906.

Florida became a territory in 1822. During the Seminole Indian Wars of 1835, the government built the original Fort Harrison as a recuperation center for soldiers, and not as a defensive fort. It was located on the bluffs where Harbor Oaks neighborhood is located now. The fort was abandoned in 1841, and is commemorated by a plaque on Druid Road.

The Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 gave 160 acres to any head of family or single man over 18 who would bear arms and cultivate the land. The "father of Clearwater," James Stevens, and Samuel Stevenson were among the first settlers. After a visit in 1841, James Parramore McMullen and his six brothers settled in the Clearwater area. They and their descendants held many important governmental positions throughout the early years.

Black and White Aerial Photo Clearwater Beach

Clearwater grew steadily throughout the early part of the century. Tourists and settlers were drawn to the area because of the climate.

  • 1914: Morton F. Plant, the son of well-known Henry Plant, donated and raised money for the first hospital
  • May 27, 1915: The city of Clearwater was incorporated.
  • 1916: The first library was built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie.
  • 1916: The city built the first wooden bridge to Clearwater Beach, opening it up for development.
  • 1921: The Capitol Theatre opened in Downtown Clearwater.
  • 1940: The Philadelphia Phillies professional baseball team began spring training.

The population continued to steadily climb. After World War II, a number of soldiers who had trained here returned to live. From 1950, with 15,000 residents, the population continued to grow until it reached the number of citizens that we have today.

Clearwater Today

Mural on building with icons of historical figures in Clearwater Today, fun and sun lovers still come from around the world, and although Clearwater is a great get-away location, it's an even better place to live. Our community is friendly and socially responsive, and our city government is economically active and environmentally conscious. The city provides residents with programs and resources they need and the amenities they desire. 

Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and is located on the highest coastal bluff in Florida. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Clearwater is approximately 115,975 residents, according to the demographic profile.

What's Nearby

Two major airports are conveniently nearby: Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport. In addition, Clearwater is also home to the Clearwater Coast Guard Air Station and is the 13th Coast Guard City in the United States. The downtown area is the gateway to the beautiful Clearwater beaches and the Coast Guard Station on Sand Key. Public transportation is available in the form of the Jolley Trolley (and the Jolley Trolley Tracker Mobile App), Clearwater Ferry, and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA).