Oldsmar, Florida

Coordinates: 28°2′3″N 82°39′54″W / 28.03417°N 82.66500°W / 28.03417; -82.66500
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Oldsmar, Florida
City of Oldsmar
Aerial view of Oldsmar from the east
Aerial view of Oldsmar from the east
Top of the Bay
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 28°2′3″N 82°39′54″W / 28.03417°N 82.66500°W / 28.03417; -82.66500
Country United States
State Florida
County Pinellas
 • TypeCommission-Manager
 • MayorDan Saracki
 • Vice MayorAndrew Knapp
 • CommissionersJarrod Buchman,
Katie Gannon and
Steve Graber
 • City ClerkKristin Garcia
 • City ManagerFelicia Donnelly
 • Total10.10 sq mi (26.15 km2)
 • Land8.95 sq mi (23.17 km2)
 • Water1.15 sq mi (2.98 km2)
7 ft (2 m)
 • Total14,898
 • Density1,665.33/sq mi (642.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area codes656, 813
FIPS code12-51350[2]
GNIS feature ID0288131[3]

Oldsmar is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. As of the 2020 census, the city had a population of 14,898. The Oldsmar name dates to April 12, 1916, when automobile pioneer Ransom E. Olds purchased 37,541 acres (151.92 km2) of land north of Tampa Bay to establish a planned community.


Oldsmar is located at 28°02′31″N 82°40′35″W / 28.042061°N 82.676350°W / 28.042061; -82.676350.[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25.0 km2), of which 8.7 square miles (22.5 km2) is land and 0.97 square miles (2.5 km2) (9.83%) is water.[5]


A number of archeological digs in the Oldsmar area revealed small campsites as well as permanent villages that date from the Archaic period (c. 8000 to 1000 BC).[6][7]

In 1916, Ransom E. Olds purchased 37,541 acres (151.92 km2) on the northern tip of Tampa Bay in order to design a planned community. The property appealed to Olds because of its proximity to several other towns (including Tampa and Tarpon Springs) as well as being located on the Tampa and Gulf Coast division of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.[8] The town went through a number of name changes. Initially, it was called R. E. Olds-on-the-Bay and then changed to Oldsmar. In 1927 the name was again changed, this time to Tampa Shores. And finally, in 1937, it went back to its old name of Oldsmar.[9]

Shortly after purchasing the property, Olds formed the Reo Farms Company (renamed Reolds Farms Company) in order to administer to the creation of his new town. Architects and city planners were hired to create drafts and laborers were hired for construction. The town possessed the staples of any small town, such as churches, schools, and a bank, as well as a railroad depot, sawmill, and dock facilities on the 10 miles of waterfront that faced Old Tampa Bay. Outside of town, tracts of land were parcelled up for agriculture. To advertise how good the land was for growing crops and raising livestock, the Reolds Farms Company built a model farm. On the farm was a herd of cattle, horses, pigs, and other livestock. They also had plots planted with potatoes, turnips, beets, celery, and citrus fruits, among other crops.[10] An oil well was drilled but was never productive.[11][12]

The company also initiated a large publicity campaign to attract Northerners into becoming residents. One of the more popular slogans used was "Oldsmar for Health, Wealth and Happiness." Tours were also planned with Pullmans chartered between Detroit and Oldsmar. To accommodate prospective residents and other tourists a 60-room hotel called the Wayside Inn was built.[13][14]

Olds named some of the roads himself including Gim Gong Road, named after the horticulturalist Lue Gim Gong. Olds had hired Gim Gong to help set up the agricultural community.[15]

Photograph of 3 men standing amongst corn in Oldsmar, Florida. Circa 1900.

In 1919, the city's first library was started by the Woman's Club. It was donated to the city in 1977.[16]

Original city plans included a golf course and a luxury hotel on the bay, but neither were ever built. A sawmill and foundry were established that made cast-iron engines for tractors and grove heaters. The mill also produced the Olds Chair (also called the Oldsmar Chair). The chair was similar to the popular Adirondack chair and was made out of either yellow pine or cypress.[11]

Olds provided financial backing for the Kardell Tractor and Truck Company to move into town. Renamed Oldsmar Tractor Company, Olds had hoped it would devise a machine to clear out palmetto roots, pine stumps, and other scrub, which all had to be removed by hand otherwise.[17] Eventually, Oldsmar had dairy and agricultural farms and, in the early days, it was a common sight to see cattle and hogs running loose through the town. Aside from peppers, tomatoes, corn, gladiolus, and grapes, a banana plantation was established but the winters proved too harsh and the crops failed.

In 1921, a hurricane hit Tampa Bay. Because Oldsmar sits on a plateau with an elevation never rising over 20 feet (6.1 m) above sea level, it was devastated by the storm. Large trees were uprooted and floodwater reached levels 14 feet (4.3 m) above normal. Some of the homes that survived the storm were moved, by barge, to St. Petersburg in the following two decades.[18]

Olds spent a reported $100,000 drilling an oil well that never yielded. The well is now capped and sits on the grounds of the Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack. Other such wells were dug in Florida; two in the Panhandle and one in Sarasota, but none of them possessed the technology to drill through the Florida aquifer. [11]

By 1923, Olds had over $4.5 million invested in the community and there was only a population of around 200 inhabitants.[19] When he realized Oldsmar was not growing as anticipated, he began liquidating his assets by first selling unplatted parcels of land. The racetrack was nearly completed when he traded it for the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. The rest of the land was traded for the Belerive Hotel in Kansas. By the time Olds left town, he had suffered a loss of nearly $3 million. While Olds envisioned a city of 100,000, the population was around 200 when he left.

Harry A. Prettyman, a St. Louis promoter, and his associates continued to sell lots in town following Olds's departure. Prettyman staged promotional gimmicks like Gold Rushes where pieces of gold were buried on a vacant lot and everyone got to dig for it. In 1927 Prettyman was caught selling underwater lots. To avoid scandal, the town of Oldsmar was renamed Tampa Shores. It wasn't until 1935 that the last of the property owned by Olds was finally sold.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
Oldsmar racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Pop 2010[21] Pop 2020[22] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 10,259 10,175 75.48% 68.30%
Black or African American (NH) 678 685 4.99% 4.60%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 24 26 0.18% 0.17%
Asian (NH) 792 811 5.83% 5.44%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian (NH) 10 19 0.07% 0.13%
Some other race (NH) 40 82 0.29% 0.55%
Two or more races/Multiracial (NH) 245 674 1.80% 4.52%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,543 2,426 11.35% 16.28%
Total 13,591 14,898

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,898 people, 5,182 households, and 3,707 families residing in the city.[23]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 13,591 people, 4,922 households, and 3,495 families residing in the city.[24]


Oil well and drilling equipment - Oldsmar, Florida

Oldsmar hosts an office of Nielsen Media Research. Most of the employees of Nielsen Media Research work in Oldsmar and the company's media measurement work originates from the office. The Associated Press said that the Oldsmar building, with a cost figure of $80 million, was its "nerve center." In 2003 the company moved into its Oldsmar complex and consolidated its employees there, with workers from Dunedin and other areas in Pinellas County moving into the Oldsmar building.[25] Major defense contractor and aerospace company Lockheed Martin has a facility in Oldsmar that employed over 600 people as of 2015.[26][27]


Oldsmar celebrates its history every year with Oldsmar Days and Nights, including parades, car shows (featuring the Oldsmobile), and carnival rides. The celebration is held in Spring.[28]


Oldsmar is part of the Pinellas County Schools district and is served by East Lake High School, Carwise Middle School, Forest Lakes Elementary School, Oldsmar Elementary School, and Oldsmar Christian School.

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Oldsmar city, Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Anderson, David G.; Sassaman, Kenneth E. (2012). Recent Developments in Southeastern Archaeology: From Colonization to Complexity. Washington, DC: Society for American Archaeology Press.
  7. ^ Williams, J. R. (1975). THE STATUS OF PREHISTORIC SITES IN PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA. Florida Scientist, 38(2), 73–76. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24319629. Accessed 18 February 2022, pp. 74-75
  8. ^ Niemeyer, Glenn A. (July 1967). ""Oldsmar for Health, Wealth, Happiness"". The Florida Historical Quarterly. 46 (1): 19. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  9. ^ Jasper, Catherine; McCook, Kathleen de la Pena (1998). "The Florida Library History Project" (PDF). University of South Florida. p. 210. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  10. ^ Niemeyer 1967, pp. 20–21.
  11. ^ a b c Jasper & McCook 1998, p. 211.
  12. ^ "Oldsmar will drill for oil". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  13. ^ Niemeyer 1967, p. 22.
  14. ^ Kite-Powell, Rodney (January 11, 2022). "The Road To Oldsmar". Tampa Magazine. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  15. ^ Quioco, Ed (September 10, 2005). "Bring back Gim Gong Road, mayor says". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  16. ^ Jasper & McCook (1998). p. 211
  17. ^ Niemeyer 1967, p. 24.
  18. ^ Jasper & McCook 1998, p. 212.
  19. ^ Niemeyer 1967, p. 27.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Oldsmar city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  22. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Oldsmar city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  23. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2020: Oldsmar city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2010: Oldsmar city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  25. ^ "Univision sues over Nielsen's meters." Associated Press at the St. Petersburg Times. June 11, 2004. Retrieved on August 28, 2011.
  26. ^ "Lockheed Martin Corporation Corporate Profile" Dun & Bradsheet
  27. ^ Times Staff Writer (October 20, 2015). "Lockheed Martin unveils Florida's largest private solar project in Oldsmar". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  28. ^ "2023 Oldsmar Days and Nights". Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved March 1, 2023.

External links[edit]