Cowboys and Cattle
The land on which Meadowlawn is located was once little more than bog, woods and weeds. Initially, it was used for cattle grazing by two local dairies, Hoods Dairy and Florida Milk Company. In the early 1900s, Elizabeth Hood and a man the locals called “Cowboy Moody” were constantly at odds over the cows from Hood’s Dairy. It was open range then and the cattle sometimes strayed. If Cowboy Moody could herd the strays to a compound on 4th Street, the city could charge a fee to the dairies for their release. Feisty Mrs. Hood, who could ride a horse as well as Cowboy Moody, would try to keep him from herding the cows away by taking her lead cow ( the one with the bell) and lead the cows back to safety.
Development and Lakes
During the Depression, the land was sold for back taxes. In 1947, Rube Wells, Manch Watson and Bill Arnold bought 640 acres. In the 1950s, they sold 40 acres to Johnny Haynsworth, who owned Florida Builders, with an option to purchase the remaining land. Florida Builders had Mills and Jones Construction Company build Grandway Shopping Center, now Rutland Plaza. Mr. Haynsworth gave Viking Lake and Meadowlawn Park to the City of St. Petersburg. He also donated property on 18th Street N, located directly behind George M. Lynch Elementary School, to be used as a baseball field, as long as the Little League uses and operates it.
The early developers of Meadowlawn were Florida Builders, Sunshine Builders, Hoyt Development, Mastry Builders and Buyer’s Investment Corporation. Since the land was low and prone to flooding, it had to be filled. This was accomplished by digging lakes and using the soil for landfill. There are six lakes in Meadowlawn: Lake Laguna (Meadowlawn Lake #1), Lynch Lake, Mastry Lake, Meadowlawn Lake #2, Meadowlawn Lake #3 and Viking Lake. Lake Laguna, Lynch Lake and Viking Lake are controlled by the tides.
Lynch Lake, Mastry Lake and Viking Lake are opened to shoreline fishing from Memorial Day to Labor Day, (www.stpete.org/parks/fishing.asp). The lakes feed into Turner Creek, a canal, that runs along 77th Avenue North and flows into Riviera Bay.
In the News! St. Petersburg Time Article from 2004
Click here for the very informative article written by St. Petersburg Times reporter, Scott Taylor Hartzell. It provides a good overview of the modern Meadowlawn and it’s historical perspective.
Where Did the Neighborhood Entry Signs Come From?
In 1995, the Meadowlawn Neighborhood Association received a grant from the City of St. Petersburg to erect two new “Meadowlawn” monuments at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. and 70th Ave. North. Neighborhood volunteers completed this project.
Where Did Our Logo Come From?
Meadowlawn’s logo is a sun rising over a meadow. It was designed by Genea and Kristine Dieter, two school age sisters, during a logo contest held by Meadowlawn Neighborhood Association.