By Robert Fisk

Well, folks, I don’t recommend a two stint visit to the hospital in two months to lose 32 pounds, however, I’m back to work on the history of St. Cloud – and very glad to be out of the hospital.

The December 6th, 1920 issue of the St. Cloud Tribune carried the information on the enlargement of the power house: “CARLOAD OF MACHINERY FOR THE CITY PLANT ARRIVES.

“Yesterday the last carload of machinery for the new power unit being installed at the city power plant arrived and work will go forward at a rapid pace until the new unit is ready for service, January 1 being the date that the completion is anticipated.

“The big engines arrived some time ago, but due to some delay at the electrical engineering works in finishing that part of the unit, the engine could not be installed.  Fairbanks-Morse Co. sold the city the new unit necessary to meet the (line is not readable) with added power for water service, and had contemplated having the machinery in operation in November. At the last minute it was discovered that the electrical part of the work could not be completed until a survey of the present equipment which is in work in unison with the new, must be made, details of the present equipment not being in the hands of the electric company. Local engineers made the necessary drawing of the present switchboard and forwarded them to the company with the result that the remainder of the outfit is here and ready to install.”

And in that same issue we find the state tightening up on the real estate law: “REAL ESTATE LAW TO BE STRICT IN FUTURE.

“Information has been received that efforts are to be made to strictly enforce the new Florida real estate law, which refers to qualifications and character of real estate agents and prohibiting curb stone real estate dealers doing business in the state.  The new law requires the applicant for a state license to give two character references and also makes it compulsory for anyone dealing in or trying to sell real property to have a permanent place of business where a real estate office is conducted.”

The new tourist house is finally dedicated as reported in the December 6th addition of the Cloud Tribune: “NEW TOURIST CLUB HOUSE FORMALLY OPENED LAST MONDAY WHEN BUSINESS HOUSES CLOSED FOR THE BIG OCCASION.

“Monday marked another gain day in the history of St. Cloud.  The whole city turned out in the afternoon for the fantastic parade headed by the Old Maid Band (St. Cloud band in costume) and followed a long line of paraders to the city park, where the formal opening of the new tourist club house occurred.”

“For several months diligent workers on the Chamber of Commerce committee, assisted by the citizens in general, have been busy erecting a spacious club house for use of the tourists in the city park, and the building having reached such a state of completion on Monday the formal opening was held with appropriate exercises.”

“The parade formed on Pennsylvania Avenue and on Eleventh Street, the two divisions joining at Eleventh Street and Pennsylvania and included beside the old maid band many of the local patriotic and civic organizations, chief among which were the members of the G. A. R. Post, which after forming at their hall at Massachusetts Avenue and Eleventh Street marched to Pennsylvania, where they joined the rest of the parade.

The band played a number of selections in route and at the park, and the comedians and clowns in this aggregation gave merriment to the assemblance.”

“The Ex-mayor, S. W. Porter, who has been in charge of the committees’ activities for the Chamber of Commerce (line not readable) introduced Mayor L. M. Parker, who in his usual pleasing manner extended a hearty welcome to the tourists in our midst on behalf of the city and the Chamber of Commerce, and told what the committees had been trying to accomplish for the entertainment of the visitor in our midst. He related how glad he was that he had found such a pleasant place to make his home and expressed the opinion that others by the thousands that would come in the future would find St. Cloud as satisfactory as he himself had done.”

“Following Mr. Parker, A. W. Hall, president of the St. Cloud Tourist Club made an excellent talk on how grateful he was for the reception given the tourist arriving in St. Cloud and the slogan ‘The Friendly City’ was one that fitted St. Cloud perfectly. He said that folks were made to feel that they were at home, everybody spoke and greeted you cordially and that was the reason why so many people called St. Cloud “The Wonder City.”

“Rev. W. Frank Kenney, one of the pioneers of the city, then related all the trials and tribulations of the early citizens and pioneers in trying to make a real city, and showed that after all the drawbacks encountered the city was going ahead rapidly every day.  Rev. Win. Landis, pastor of the Methodist Church and vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, told of the tourist club committee’s work in erecting the club house and providing a playground for the guests in the city park, relating how with a start with a blank sheet of paper the club house and playground was almost complete through the generosity of citizens and tourist but stated that some money was still needed to carry out the plans of the committee. President Parker read a list of donations made to date and asked for additions to the funds, with the result shown in the list below.”

“While the additions to the funds were being made the band played ‘Yes We Have No Bananas,’ but when the total of the contributions was made it was found that the large gathering was willing to see that the fund had some bananas and the plans of the committee were carried out in full…”

This tourist club served the citizens and winter residents for a great many years, until 2002.  I remember that the flooring was tongue and groove (oak, I believe) and toward the end of it’s life the flooring had to be replaced because it was no longer tongue and groove from all of the dancing over its lifetime.  It was used for the tourists, it was used for elections, it was used for blood donations and it was used for many queens’ balls, too. For those who do not remember, it was between Ohio and Indiana between Seventh and Eighth Streets. Termites and old age got the best of it and now there is a smaller brick building there.  It is worth remembering, in this day, that it was financed and built by the Chamber of Commerce, donated labor and materials – not the city.

In the December 30th 1922; “REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE we find the following:

“…Mr. Lewis O’Bryan come before the board and asked if there was any way the board could assist the city of Kissimmee in completing the gap on road from Kissimmee to St. Cloud, the city having exhausted its funds and the road being uncompleted where upon the board assured Mr. O’Bryan that they would render any assistance that might be possible for them.  Mr. O’Bryan then asked the board if the city should change the eastern boundary of the city limits leaving the unfinished part of the road in the county would they hard surface it, and then Commissioner John Partin made a motion that should the city limits be changed as suggested by Co. O’Bryan that the county would hard surface that part then in the county, which motion was seconded by Commissioner John H. Baisden and carried.”

“Mr. Leo H. Wilson, reported to the board that he went to Bartow as a representative of the board of Commissioners of Osceola County, in the meeting called to ask for change in the present system of handling the state convicts. Mr. Wilson stated that the matter of completion of the gap in St. Cloud-Melbourne road was called to the attention of the state road officials, and they replied that the State had about exhausted the $10.000.00 donated by the state department and that Osceola county had pledged $15,000 which amount had not been spent. The Attorney for the board then stated to the board that Osceola County made an agreement to pay $15,000 provided the State Road Department would complete the road according to State Plans and specifications…”

“…Commissioner A. F. Bass reported a request of Consolidate Land Co. for road from Holopaw to Dixie Highway and Mr. G. W. Ashton was instructed to make an investigation and report a suitable route to the Board at their next meeting…”