Since at least 1902, there has been a feed store near the railroad in Largo serving the needs of local cattle ranchers, citrus and produce growers who were primary to the economy of the area.
In 1905, when Largo was an incorporated town with a population of 291, John Gainey, operator of a concrete block plant, built the historic Feed Store building of rusticated block and joists of heart of pine.
Through the years, ownership of the Feed Store passed from its original owner, Francis Marion Campbell, to numerous proprietors. During the Depression years, the Feed Store was an important social hub as well as a source of supplies. The last proprietors of the Largo Feed & Garden Store (which it was called then), were Mary Jane and Adam Gentile.
In 1982, the Florida Department of Transportation decided to widen West Bay Drive. The Feed Store, which was located at the corner of Missouri Avenue and West Bay Drive, was still in business and in jeopardy of being destroyed. Society President Danny Howard created the Feed Store Committee to begin efforts for preservation of the Feed Store. In 1988, the Society obtained an agreement with the City to move it to Largo Central Park. In 1992, with donated funds from the Society of $49,000, the Society oversaw the moving in the dark of night from its location on West Bay Drive to its permanent home in Largo Central Park.
The Historic Feed Store, which has been renovated, is now “better than new” and serves as the home of the Largo Area Historical Society. The Society is now in the process of planning a museum to be housed in the Feed Store. Some display cases have been purchased and the Society is in the process of obtaining others. These cases will be used to exhibit the Society’s collection of historic artifacts from the Largo area.
This preservation effort by the Society saved a valuable historic building which provides an important link to Largo’s cattle and agricultural past.
The new display cases proudly show off a portion of Largo’s history. The cases, a project of the Society were made possible due to the considerable donations of cash and valuable collectables by many members and Largo residents, we THANK YOU ALL !!!