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Historical Society seeking artifacts, permanent home
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Bob Dowling holds a plaque from 1929 that was attached to the John’s Pass bridge.
TREASURE ISLAND – Organizers of a new historical society in Treasure Island hope the second time around is the charm.

Following the demise of the first Treasure Island Historical Society, which formed in 1989, another group, headed by president Donna White, hopes to be more successful.

The new group, which goes officially by the name Original Treasure Island Historical Society, has inherited many of the artifacts of the former group. It received incorporation from the state as a 501-c-3 organization two months ago but has a long way to go, White said.

The new group seeks artifacts from the city’s history to go with the collection it already has in a storage unit on 22nd Avenue. It also needs a permanent home at some point to display the many items.

“We’ve got 31 huge tubs and other items in storage that we’re trying to catalog,” said White. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Almost every weekend, members of the society take a few of the tubs and meet at White’s home to archive and organize the many artifacts.

“We’re hoping somebody will loan us a storefront to give us a location to work out of,” said White. “That way we won’t have to haul things in and out of storage each weekend.”

The group’s long-term goals include a permanent site to showcase the items and it already has one option available.

White said the society has first right of refusal to purchase one of the units at the Sea Horse Cottages at Gulf Boulevard and 104th Avenue, across the street from the Publix store under construction.

However, the group would still need a site to locate the building.

In the meantime, the society is accepting donations from residents.

In addition to tubs full of old newspaper articles and public records, the group has some larger items, like the four chairs from the former Penguin Restaurant that once stood on Sunset Beach where the current pavilion is located and a plaque that was attached to the original Treasure Island bridge.

“We’ll take anything,” said White.

“We don’t care if it’s a token from the bridge,” said historical society member Susan Walsh.

In addition to White, officers in the society are Carol Melkin, vice president; and Carol Coward, treasurer. There is no current secretary. Members of the board of directors are Lois Nelson, John Burke, Jeff Jensen, Butch Ellsworth and Larry Hoffman.

Persons interested in joining the group can do so for $25 a year.

Residents with artifacts to donate should send them to White at 8401 W. Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, FL 33706.

For additional information, call 727-360-3477.
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