NewsPinellas County


Oldsmar Historical Society preserves city's past

Oldsmar Historical Society
Posted at 4:54 AM, Sep 17, 2021

OLDSMAR, Fla. — If you want a look at what Oldsmar used to be, make a stop at the Oldsmar Historical Society.

A small portion of an old bank in Downtown Oldsmar is home to a lot of the city's past.

Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of the Oldsmobile, came to the area in the early 1900s.

"I think at the peak, it had 200 residents. Olds wanted it to be a community for retirement, for farming, for citrus growers and tourism. And that's what he designed his building on," said Maryanne Kruse, a volunteer at the Historical Society.

"As you can see, in the old map up there, he designed it like a Washington, D.C. in a fan-shaped design where most of the roads lead toward Oldsmar Bay, towards the water. In 1913 is when he came down here and looked at property. And in 1916, he bought 37,541 acres for $400,000. So I don't think we can get a deal like that today."

Olds had big plans for the small town, even if he didn't call it home.

"He tried to recruit people to come down to Oldsmar to get away from the winters. He himself did not live in Oldsmar, he lived in Bellair, but he had recruited a lot of people to run his farming company, his tractor company. So he had probably about 200 residents at the biggest population at the time," said Kruse.

A trip through the museum is worth your time. It's small but the memories are very well preserved.

"We have artifacts of the Oldsmobile, we have artifacts of Oldsmar, pictures when it was very vacant," Kruse said. "We have a tribute to the veterans of Oldsmar. We have a tribute to various citizens of Oldsmar who helped build this community. We have the Women's Club exhibit."

Admission to the museum is free. They're open two days a week.

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