Shell Wall

Where is it from?

The original location of the shell wall was on the property of Cyrus and Laura May Lowery in Clearwater. The shell wall served as a fence that originally went all the way around the Lowery property at 419 Laura Street, Clearwater (corner of Laura and Ft. Harrison).

Around 1950 it and the house were moved to 2077 Palmetto Street in Clearwater. It was built with coral, conch and other shell varieties found in Clearwater Harbor and Clearwater Beach around 1900 -1915. 

Who is Cyrus Lowery?

Before moving to Clearwater, Mr. Lowery had a

significant amount of land in Largo – a 160-acre homestead that ran from Fourth Ave N to Fourth Ave S; Fourth Street on the east and the railroad tracks on the west. He built and then lived in a log cabin from 1881 to 1891. The house was located on the present-day northwest corner of Clearwater-Largo Road and West Bay Drive. 

The house was easy to spot, thanks to the unusual landmark in its front yard – a stuffed crane! Apparently, this was an indication of Mr. Lowery’s interest in taxidermy. He became so proficient at taxidermy that he sold his Largo land and moved to Clearwater in 1891 to open a curio shop on Cleveland Street.

Drawing attention to his shop were stuffed animals on the edge of the sidewalk, eventually including a large stuffed deer right next to a large hickory tree. Inside he sold stuffed alligators, alligator shoes and handbags, feather headdresses and other tourist souvenir novelties.

He was also in the jewelry business in Clearwater and other areas of Florida before moving to Pinellas County. Mr. Lowery was Postmaster at Clearwater for nineteen years and served several terms as President of the City Council.

Fences like this were fairly common at the turn of the century. Shell wall artist Owen Albright was well known for his St. Petersburg shell fence creation that he built in the early 1900s at the northwest corner of 1st Street and 2nd Avenue North. The shell fence and arches were built with shells gathered from local beaches. This early Florida roadside attraction and curiosity that became a destination for tourists was destroyed by a hurricane in 1921.