In the early 1920’s, Clearwater pioneer S.S. Coachman gave his sister a plot of land on Clearwater Bay, at the northwest corner of what is now Drew and Osceola, stretching westward to the waterfront. It was upon this land that she built the Sea Ora Lodge, a home-style inn known for its warmth and comfortable atmosphere. A popular place for winter visitors from the north, the Sea Ora Lodge eventually changed hands, later becoming the Grey Gull Inn. It was then torn down and a new, modern hotel, Shrafft’s, was built in its place. A popular 1960s holiday spot, Shrafft’s was the “home away from home” for the Philadelphia Phillies during their spring training.
The hotel’s business prospects declined in the early 1970s and the Church of Scientology purchased the property shortly after moving to Clearwater in 1975. Since that time, the Church has conducted major renovations and additions to its original form, including the most recent addition of three entire new floors of rooms for Church services.
The Osceola Inn
Situated on the northeast corner of Drew and Osceola, the Osceola Inn was one of several hotel facilities built in the 1920s to accommodate the growing number of tourists to Clearwater during its boom days. In 1938, business was still going strong; the inn promoted itself as being “Accessible — Hospitable — Reasonable.”
In the 1950s, owners modernized the building. Changing owners several times before becoming an assisted living facility, it eventually went out of use and the structure was left vacant for eight years. The Church of Scientology purchased it in 1998 and undertook complete renovation.
At that time, a contemporary wooden house, used by a private law office, also stood on the property. As the extensive landscaping plans also moved ahead, the house was moved to a separate plot of land on Garden Street about 600 yards from the Osceola, where it remains in use by the law firm.