• The History of Safety Harbor


  • You will find history alive throughout Safety Harbor. The world famous Safety Harbor Resort & Spa is a landmark in the community with its historical Espiritu Santo Springs. Since the turn of the century, tourists have been traveling to this area to be rejuvenated by the spring waters. By ferry from Tampa or stagecoach from Clearwater, it was a full days adventure to visit the area. Now visitors fly in from around the world to experience the resort lifestyle.

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    Panfilo de Narvaez

    Narváez was appointed Adelantado of Florida by Charles V. He sailed from Sanlúcar de Barrameda on June 17, 1527, with a fleet of five ships and 600 men. The expedition arrived on the west coast of Florida in April 1528, weakened by storms and desertions. He landed with 300 men near the Rio de las Palmas—at what is currently known as the Jungle Prada Site in St. Petersburg.

    Hernando De Soto

    Hernando de Soto (c.1496/1497—1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, and the first documented to have crossed the Mississippi River. A vast undertaking, de Soto’s North American expedition ranged throughout the southeastern United States searching for gold, silver, and a passage to China. De Soto died in 1542 on the banks of the Mississippi River in Arkansas or Louisiana.

    Tocobagan Indians

    Tocobaga (also Tocopaca) was the name of a chiefdom, its chief and its principal town during the 16th century in the area of Tampa Bay. The town is believed to have been at the Safety Harbor Site. The name Tocobaga is also often applied to all of the people who lived around Tampa Bay during the first Spanish colonial period (1513-1763), but Spanish accounts name other chiefdoms around Tampa Bay.

    Odet Philippe

    Odet Philippe was the first permanent, non-native settler on the Pinellas County peninsula, acquiring 160 acres of land in 1842 in what is today Safety Harbor. He was a successful businessman who introduced cigar making and citrus to the Tampa Bay region. His descendents, including the McMullen and Booth families (for whom McMullen-Booth Road is named), are among the county’s most well-known pioneer clans. Philippe was buried in Philippe Park – his former plantation – in 1869 but the exact location of the gravesite is unknown.

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    "The Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce is it’s own little gem hidden in a treasure of the Safety Harbor Community. From the staff to the members, they have all been so generous, kind, helpful and supportive. They’ve helped me to grow my business from its beginning ten years ago and have been the first to offer guidance through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thank you!!!!!"

    ~Alice Lange
    Massage and Skin Care Solutions


    "We joined Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce when we opened Whistle Stop Grill & Bar 20 years ago!  They have been a wonderful source of promoting and supporting our business. The staff at the Chamber are warm and welcoming and encourage visitors to enjoy all Safety Harbor has to offer.  Thank you, Safety Harbor Chamber,."

    ~Dawn Pendola/ Whistle Stop Grill & Bar


    "Grow Financial has been around since 1955 when we opened as MacDill Federal Credit Union for military personnel. In an effort to expand our membership the decision was made to change our name in 2007 to Grow Financial Federal Credit Union. The Gulf to Bay store opened in December 2014 and one of the best decisions we made was to join The Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce, which has helped to increase traffic at this location. Thank you Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce."

    - Cynthia Whiting-Burton, Market Manager