Times like this — celebrating the town of Longboat Key’s 60th anniversary — inevitably inspire us to pull out the archives. What great fun it is to turn the pages of history and read about the way life used to be.
Back then, in 1955 and 1956, one of Longboat Key’s founding fathers published the weekly Longboat Look-out. It’s chockful of amusing stories and news items of a simpler time. But as you read, it doesn’t take long to realize the truth of that bromide: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Here’s a sampling, verbatim, from the Nov. 16, 1956, edition of the Longboat Look-out, two days after the town’s first anniversary ...
Recount in close election
One-hundred and eighty-seven ballots were cast Wednesday night in the first annual election of the Town of Longboat Key.
A recount was necessary in the contest for the office of Town Clerk. On the first count, Cecil Scholfield received 104 votes to 102 for Helen Holt. On the second count, the count was Scholfield 103, Holt 102 ...
The Council certified the count at 11:30 p.m. at a special meeting. Both counts and the meeting were open to the public.
Miss Holt informed the Look-out yesterday that she would demand another recount when the Council meets Monday night. Mayor LePagestate he felt a recount would be a healthy thing if any question is raised for the complete satisfaction of all concerned.
Chamber gives anniversary party
The Chamber gave a combination Town Anniversary Celebration and Election Party at the Art Center Auditorium immediately after the closing of the polls at the Fire House. There was dancing, refreshments and two orchestras. Mayor LePage and Town Counsel Glenn Berry were presented with hansome brass plaques. There a birthday cake with one candle for the Town of Longboat Key on its first birthday. About 250 residents attended.
Council discusses seawalls
At its regular meeting, the Town Council Building Inspector Jim Johnson asked for the second time that the Council consider amending the Zoning Ordinance to include Standard Building Code seawall specifications to enable him to pass on the construction of seawalls after he has issued permits for their construction.
Mayor LePage moved that the matter be referred to the Zoning Commission for the second time.
Mr. Whitney argued that shore conditions are so variable that a hard and fast rule would hinder progress without assuring proper seawalls.
Since I am an established resident of the Key, I am vitally interested in the progress and the facts about the place.
Your Lookout has been of great interest and value to me. However, there is one thing which is confusing. You publish the building permits weekly and there is sometimes a strange discrepancy in this report.
For instance, there was a permit last week which was incomplete as far as price was concerned.
Too, when real estate sales are reported, there is the same lack of information. I did not see the fiures on the Peppermint Stick, although all the accompanying list was complete with figures.
Is this a policy of the paper, or does the Clerk withhold these figures which are deemed to be none of our business?
Perhaps this lack of consistency has not been noticed by your staff. Just tell me the reason.
We called Luke Garaux who stated that he obtained three building permits for alterations and additions to his home and office in amounts of $6,000, $10,000 and $1,000.
Mr. Garaux also stated, “Anyone who wants to know anything about my building expenses can call Tom Culler at First Federal where I borrrowed the money to do the building. He is free to give them all the information they want.”
There is not room here for certain colorful expressions with which Mr. Garaux embroidered his statement.
— Virginia Ruppert
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What suggestions can you make for improving the island?
Mr. William Kyes — My first thought is that we should do something about making the boulevard look like a boulevard. First clean it up. The littered look is appalling.
Mrs. Frank Hope — I think scarcity of domestic help and the means of getting such help out here is of definite concern to many of us. While we hate the idea of a bus, a public conveyance would probably help.
Mr. Bert Burris — What is most important for the good of the island is not picking out small details, but if, through general discussion, we can develop an idea of what we want the island to look like in 10 years — a really long-range planned ideal.
If we can develop the natural simplicity, which is the charm of the Key, we will really have something.
Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Herringshaw — We feel that key is one of the finest places in which to live, chiefly because of the wonderful spirit of the people.
As we grow larger, we need to jealously guard that spirit of personal responsibility and unselfishness so characteristic of the Key.
• Regarding the recount in the town clerk’s election, Cecil Scholfield ended up defeating Helen Holt by one vote. Holt later became one of Longboat’s longest-serving clerks.
• In the Nov. 23, 1956, edition of the Look-out, Editor Guy Paschal reported the following about the popular “Inquiring Reporter” column: “We regret we are unable to print the Inquiring Reporter column this week. The copy prepared by Mrs. Ruppert was taken from our automobile along with $24 worth of two-cent stamps. We hope the persons who answered the question won’t mind answering again next week.”