On July 10, 1955, Orange Lake Village debuted to the public. Erected in what was then an unincorporated part of Pinellas County, about 15 miles northwest ofdowntown St. Petersburg and approximately seven miles from the Gulf Coast, the 150-acre subdivision stood on the shores of freshwater Lake Seminole. Built of concrete block and standing one-story in height, the first model houses in Orange Lake Village occupied small lots, measuring roughly 4000 square feet in size. Even by post-World War II standards, the dwellings were modest in scale; most contained one or two bedrooms. If the houses and lots were minimal, the community's amenities were not. James Rosati, the developer, boasted that the subdivision had "an orange tree on every lot," enhancing Orange Lake's ambiance. Rosati also built recreational and leisure features into the subdivision, including a 25,000-gallon swimming pool, shuffleboard courts, and community recreation hall. Advertised as "country club features," these amenities were designed to attract Rosati's target clientele: sunbelt retirees.

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