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About Tierra Verde
Tierra Verde is located at the tip of St Pete just south of the Pinellas Bayway on the way to Ft De Soto Park. Verde means green but that was before 1960 when Tierra Verde became a dredge project creating its current 667 acres of homes. Tierra Verde is an unincorporated portion of Pinellas County despite many attempts by the City of St. Pete to annex the exclusive waterfront island. There are 6 main islands that make up Tierra Verde which are Sands Pointe Tierra Verde, Monte Cristo, Entrada, Pinellas Bayway mainland, East Shore (think canopy of trees) and West Shore also known as the Indian Grounds/Gulfside. Tierra Verde was once comprised of 15 islands and were once sacred ground to local American Indian nations dating as far back as 1500. This beautiful island was the setting for many conflicts between foreigners and the locals. If there are ghosts, Tierra Verde might have a few. Native Indians, privates, Spanish warriors and many others that perished on this very popular island. Once covered with mangroves, pines and bush, Tierra Verde now is home to over 3,000 locals. There is some colorful history that makes Tierra Verde one of Florida's most interesting places. One island resident with such color was Silas Dent. Silas was a dairy farmer and had goats and other live stock living on "his" island which was a rather bizarre site. Dr. Dent, a long-bearded fellow, lived on Cabbage Key where he died in 1952. There is a restaurant on St Pete Beach named after him with plenty of Silas memorabilia on the walls. Indians used the islands of Tierra Verde as a sacred burial ground. Artifacts could be found on the east side of Pinellas Bayway by simply searching for a few minutes. Once the Spanish explorers discovered Tierra Verde in 1521, it became a focal point for further exploration. The Indians were not very receptive and were supposedly were responsible for inflicting a fatal wound to Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon. Ponce De Leon returned to Cuba in 1521 where he susequently died. Buccaneers, including Jose Gaspar, Juan Gomez and Jean LaFittealso, sailed the waters of Tampa Bay and have buried some of their bounty somewhere on Tiarra Verde. The map showing the exact location is reported to be in a bottle floating somewhere between Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. In 1848, the US Army under the guidance of Robert E. Lee, recommended that Mullet Key be used to defend Florida as a coastal battery fitted with large cannons. The fort was never effective and never fired a shot at the enemy. The ruins remain on the Island of Egmont Key and at the now the County Park of Ft De Soto. Before developers Louis and Fred Berlanti arrived on the Tierra Verde scene in 1961, a ferry was the only way to get to Tierra Verde. A ferry ran between Pass-A-Grille and a dock which was on the west side on Monti Cristo Island at the end of Madonna Boulevard. In 1960, the State of Florida approved a road and bridge which were to be built connecting St. Pete and Tierra Verde. In the same approval, plans were finalized to allow dredging which created about 5,000 acres a new buildable land. It was on June 30, 1961 that Tierra Verde became official with the State of Florida as its Articles of Incorporation were filed. It was that year as well that Tierra Verde's original Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants were recorded in public records. In 1962 the bridge to Tierra Verde was completed. The world was soon to be put on notice that Tierra Verde was open for business as entertainer and businessman Guy Lombardo's opened the resort called Port O' Call located at the entrance to Monte Cristo Island. Entertainers such as Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Mel Tormé, and many other musicians and comedians would later perform at Port O Call. The island themed beautiful report was promoted by Lombardo across the country taking a bus tour and getting the word out. Their tour bus had a banner hung on its sides promoting Port O Call and the new found island of Tierra Verde. In an unfortunate turn of events, developers Fred and Louis Berlanti were killed as their plane blew up over Lake Okeechobee. This left a mystery as to whether the father and son were murdered to gain control over the island development. The St. Petersburg Times alluded to the what they described as a "covert" operation. The excitement over Port O Call faded with the loss of the Berlanti's as Guy Lombardo and his band returned for only one more season.