Symbol of Largo High School pride to live on at Heritage Village

Largo High School alumni proudly donated a steel crest that had graced the front of Largo High School’s auditorium for 50 years to Heritage Village on July 24. Shown are, from left, Ken Bray; Jean Musgrave Beistle; Naomi Mucci, Heritage Village curator of collections; Shirley Venezia Allen; Monica Drake, Heritage Village Museum operations manager; Jack Johnson; Ted Signor and Lee Beistle.

LARGO — An 8 1/2-foot-tall steel crest that had graced the front of Largo High School’s auditorium for 50 years has found a new home at Heritage Village. 

On July 24, several members of the Class of 1964, who donated the crest to the school 55 years ago, witnessed the museum take ownership of the longtime symbol of Packer pride.  

“It may be some time before it will actually be on display, but it’s gratifying to know the crest is in good hands and will be preserved for future generations,” wrote Lee Beistle, who had taken possession of the crest, in an email.

The crest, which was taken down when the new Largo High School campus opened its doors in August 2016, had been salvaged by Largo Area Historical Society member Don Forehand when the renovation began in 2014. Members of the Class of 1964 had hoped to reinstall it on the new facility, but exposure to the elements meant the 8 1/2-foot-high and 5-foot-wide piece of metal was showing its age.

In 1964, Largo High School sweethearts Audrey Venezia and Ken Bray were voted by their peers to have the most school spirit after they helped …

LHS alumni Lee and Jean Beistle then began a search to find a permanent home for the old symbol, which was based on a student’s drawings of the original crest created by a principal in the 1930s.

Lee said the school campus was the first option, but officials couldn’t find an appropriate place to mount it. Next, the couple approached the city of Largo, but it wasn’t the right fit for the Historic Largo Feed Store and Museum.

Finally, they checked in with Naomi Mucci, Pinellas County’s Heritage Village curator of collections, to see if she was interested in adding it to the museum’s collection. 

After presenting the idea to the Collections Committee of the Pinellas County Historical Society earlier this year, it was decided the Packer icon would be added to the archives.