Margaret Horst, a resident of Tarpon Springs, gave this collection to James A. Schnur in 1997. Horst had served as secretary of the Rural Protective Association at the time of its creation in 1970. Schnur, then assistant director at the Tarpon Springs Public Library, donated the materials to the Poynter Library This collection documents how residents of a sparsely developed area fought a last ditch—and ultimately unsuccessful—battle to preserve their rural lifestyle in the frontier range of northeastern Pinellas County. Many of them gathered at Al Boyd’s Boot Ranch, a large agricultural ranch once noted for its prize cattle and horses with a seventeen-foot high boot by its entrance. As developers carved new suburbs east of Lake Tarpon, many of the pasturelands disappeared. In 1970, locals worried that plans to develop an airport on a fifty-acre tract one mile east of East Lake Road and one-quarter mile south of Keystone Road would disrupt cattle and dairy production in the region. They came together and established the Rural Protective Association as a non-profit organization to oppose the airport and prevent suburban encroachment. Despite their lobbying efforts, members of the Rural Protective Association could not halt the wave of development that spilled along the eastern shores of Lake Tarpon. Al Boyd sold Boot Ranch “on a handshake” to a land development company in 1972 and the Boyd family’s landholdings shrunk to under 500 acres by the late 1980s. Developers transformed tracts formerly owned by Boyd into the East Lake Woodlands, Lansbrook, and Boot Ranch subdivisions. Members of the Rural Protective Association dissolved the non-profit by proclamation on 2 July 1973.
Nelson Poynter Memorial Library. Special Collections and University Archives. and Schnur, James Anthony, "Rural Protective Association, Inc., Papers (1970-1973) : A Collection Guide" (2006). Special Collections and University Archives Finding Aids: All Items. 21.
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