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Historic High Rise Provides a Window to Clearwater's History

10-23-2020 08:23 AM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization

The Coachman Building in downtown Clearwater.

The Coachman Building in downtown Clearwater.

CLEARWATER,FL: The Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization invites the community to learn more about the history of Clearwater by visiting the outdoor display on Clearwater’s timeline at the Coachman Building.

Located at 503 Cleveland Street, the Coachman Building was built in 1917. At the time, it was the tallest building in Pinellas County. S.S. Coachman, one of the founding fathers of Clearwater, ran his grocery from the first floor. The upper floors provided modern office space for some of Clearwater's first dentists, accountants and chiropractors.

Now home to a seminary for Scientology staff members, the windows of the building are a display of Clearwater’s history, starting with the 1500’s and working through boomtime and depression to also highlight the musical heritage of Clearwater.

Containing 74 photos and 12 artifacts from eras past, this exhibit shows Clearwater’s tremendous growth over the years. As some of the images dated from the 1880s, restoration work on the photos themselves was one of the first actions undertaken.

"It took more than 100 hours of work to restore the photos. Scratches were removed, tears repaired and details returned to faded images," said Lisa Mansell, the Community Affairs Director for the Church of Scientology. Among the photos restored is an image of Clearwater’s early volunteer fire department.

Research was also done to include appropriate artifacts to the displays. These include 1920's dinnerware from the Fort Harrison, 1920's golf clubs made by MacGregor Yardsmore and a 1924 Gamewell Fire Alarm Call Box.

“The Fort Harrison silver tea pot and coffee pot were found several years ago by a couple in Jupiter, who then shipped them to us here,” continued Mansell. “The International Silver Company – who made these pieces in the 1920’s produced silverware for many major hotels. Their designs have also been collected by museums throughout the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.”

Internationally, the Church has been active in historic restoration for three decades, locally including the restoration of the Coachman Building, the renovation of the Clearwater Building and the full restoration of the Fort Harrison.

“We wanted to celebrate Clearwater,” said Ms. Mansell. “There is a lot of history here, which is generally not known. The window displays are a popular stop for people coming to downtown and are available for all to view.”

The Clearwater Building is now the Scientology Information Center and is open to guests daily from 10am to 7pm. For more information please call 727-467-6966.

Lisa Mansell
Public Affairs Office
503 Cleveland Street
Clearwater, FL 33755


Flag (the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization) is a religious retreat located in Clearwater, Florida. It serves as the spiritual headquarters for Scientologists planetwide. Flag is the largest Church of Scientology in the world. Flag represents the hub of the greater Scientology worldwide community as a dynamic, multilingual organization. The title “Flag” follows from the fact that from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, the highest ecclesiastical organizations were located at sea aboard a flotilla of ships. The 330-foot motor vessel Apollo served as L. Ron Hubbard’s home. Accordingly, it was then the most senior Scientology Church. It was known as the “Flagship” of the flotilla and called “Flag” for short. In 1975, the Flag Service Organization established itself in Clearwater, at the historic twelve-story city landmark Fort Harrison Hotel. Flag serves an international parishioner base of Scientologists from more than 70 countries. To learn more about Scientology, please go to

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