Located in Pinellas County, Florida, Belleair is a busy, growing community that has undergone marked changes through the years. Part and parcel of its history is railroad magnate Henry B. Plant’s construction of a showpiece hotel south of Clearwater back in the 1890s. The Belleview Hotel’s grand opening took place in January 1897. Its location on a peninsula west of Tampa Bay became Pinellas County in 1912. Around that time, Pinellas County officially separated from Hillsborough County.
Cycling events became among the prominent events at Belleair. Golfers, on the other hand, gravitated to the golf course that had evolved the original nine-hole to two, 18-hole courses. In 1920, John McEntee Bowman, international sportsman and owner of the Biltmore chain of hotels, purchased the hotel from the Plant Investment Company. read more…
Cycling events became among the prominent events at Belleair. Golfers, on the other hand, gravitated to the golf course that had evolved the original nine-hole to two, 18-hole courses. In 1920, John McEntee Bowman, international sportsman and owner of the Biltmore chain of hotels, purchased the hotel from the Plant Investment Company.
The hotel name became Belleview Biltmore Hotel. A casino was later on added, to the delight of snowbirds and hotel guests, and it operated until the mid-1940s. Belleview Biltmore Hotel gained strong reputation as the venerable Florida tourist stop on the state’s gulf coast. The Belleview Biltmore became an Army Air Corps training post during World War II. Many years later, the hotel experienced decline.
The Belleair neighborhood grew and gradually wended its way to the south. It resisted annexation moves by the City of Clearwater. The Town of Belleair was incorporated in 1925. Town planner John Nolen was hired to lay out the streets constituting most of Belleair today.
Land purchases and a massive cleanup to restore the town left Belleair with a population of 300 pioneer souls. In 1944, a noted patron of the arts Mrs. GeorgineShillard-Smith, noted patron of the arts, donated seven acres of land. It led to the creation of the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center. It relocated its facility in 1999 to the middle of Pinellas County – at the center of the botanical gardens.
By the time the town experienced rebirth in the 1950s, the population increased to 2,200. Young, postwar professionals and civic leaders lost no time creating strong recreation programs, expanding the water system and improving the Town Hall building. In later years, condominiums were constructed. Thereafter, the town’s population swelled to approximately 4,000.
Today, Belleair’s beautiful system of parks and paths also attract people who desire a nice dwelling place and quality way of life. Given its close proximity to downtown Clearwater, lovely sugar-sand beaches, entertainment & shopping establishments,sports venues, and medical facilities, Bellair has beckoned many people. Sprawling country-style homes in the vicinity with splendid architectural features and stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Clearwater Pass to the Gulf of Mexico have been built and remodeled.
While there is no more Belleview Biltmore hotel to stay at, the historic charm is retained by Belleair’s must-see attractions that include the golf courses.Belleair is also noted for its devotion to green spaces. Hence, dwellers can play a game of football, walk along a natural intercoastal bluff, or embark on an adventure through a hidden jungle. It is an ideal place for people who like experiencing things off the beaten path, and communing with nature.
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