First visited by the Spanish in 1539, the northwest corner of Tampa Bay became known as Safety Harbor because pirates didn’t venture there. That body of water and a city on its western shore still bear the name. Fierce Tocobaga Indians fought the Spaniards and murdered Franciscan missionaries, but they disappeared in the 17th century, victims of European diseases and raids by the Creek and Cherokee tribes who enslaved and absorbed the survivors.
Odet Philippe, claimed to be a Count, a soldier, a physician, and a friend of Napoleon. For certain he was a New World entrepreneur born in Lyons France about 1787. After leaving France, he moved to Haiti, then Charleston and then Key West before homesteading near this spot where he introduced grapefruit farming to Florida about 1826. The first European settler in Pinellas County, He died in 1869.
Philippe Park sits on the site of the Count’s homestead and plantation. I shot the photo from there, on the western shores of Safety Harbor. You can see part of Oldsmar, Florida across the water. Also near the site of this photo is a Tocobaga Indian Mound. The temple mound is a National Historic Landmark.