In late 1970, the Honeywell Aero Division in Minneapolis, MN decided
to move a group of employees from MN to their facility in Pinellas
County, FL. I was one of that group. Those people all had a trip to
this area to find housing. At the time, Grovewood, was going through
the process of changing from a Temple orange grove to a 125 home
subdivision development. Millie and I had a visit to Grovewood with
one of the builders during our “looking” schedule. The “looks”
weren’t very great—mostly dirt street, about 1/5 of the lots had
houses, no street lights, no shade trees, a group of very tall
evergreen trees at the east end, and a lot of Temple orange trees.
The few residents here were mostly in the 30-50 year old age group
which fit us so well. We liked the prospect for a good future and
decided to talk to the builder about having a house built. The more
we looked and talked, the better Grovewood sounded as a future home
site. We contracted to have a home built and went back to
Minneapolis to get ready for the move. We moved in late August 1971,
but lived in a rental house until our home was completed in October.
There were a few other Honeywellers who had purchased homes in
Grovewood so we weren’t total strangers. We really thought that we
had made a good choice for our home location.
Some effort had started toward creating a neighborhood organization.
Bill Zinzow was one of the most active in that effort and was
elected as the first president. Several activities were set up to
help people become acquainted throughout the neighborhood. Some of
these events were a couple of street picnics per year (these still
continue), rotating dinner parties of 4 or 5 couples per “dinner”
home every couple of months, and some activities for the
neighborhood children. Sara Blizzard organized and started a girl’s
4H club. It soon became apparent the kids could quickly make the
change from snowballs to oranges for something to throw. The kids
also found out that throwing oranges caused more parental uproar
than throwing snowballs! Overall, having a lot of kids around helped
to make the neighborhood enjoyable. To me, it seems like a loss to
have so few in the neighborhood now, although sometime I’m content
with not having 10-20 kids playing basketball on my driveway in the
evening. At one time, we had 3 Clearwater high basketball squad
members living in Grovewood. They and their followers met many
evenings on our driveway.
We had many “volunteer get togethers” during the early years to
clean, plant, and maintain the west and north perimeters of
Grovewood and our entryway. We cleared the west side area along
Belcher and planted shrubs the entire length. The plantings took
place on one Saturday. It was a big job, but with lots of help, it
got done. The shrubbery required a lot of trimming—almost all by
residents. Eventually many of the shrubs became almost impossible to
maintain and were removed. The shrubs that were originally in the
west half of the entryway became a “great” place to discard cans,
bottles, and small boxes and other trash. It required at least a
weekly cleaning to look decent. The center island shrubs were
finally removed by the residents and grass was installed to make a
decent entryway possible.
That covers some of my memories of the “olden days” of Grovewood. I
miss having a lot of kids around the area and all the chit-chat and
help that I got from them.