The First ‘Pioneers’ of Sun City Center
Sylvia Willis, History Society
Yes, that is what our first residents were called! And ‘Pioneers’ were signing up to buy homes from the first opening days. Twelve apartment homes were built on Pebble Beach Blvd across from Cherry Hills Drive, to house homebuyers awaiting the completion of their new homes. Mary Shelton was the first resident there.
On April 25, 1962, Frank and Mildred Ward moved into their home at 715 Desert Hills Way, and Ed Lindeman and his wife moved into 904 Desert Hills Drive later that same day. The Lanfer, Stafford, Thompson, Stock, Eakin and Betner families soon moved into nearby homes.
Then as now, people came from many parts of the country and beyond. To build a sense of community for those who had left their own families and communities far away, the Hi, Neighbor! Club was started and new residents quickly began to feel at ease and at home.
Our first birthday was celebrated in style in January 1963 in what is now the Weavers Club. Meetings, clubs and sports, monthly potlucks, and volunteer opportunities drew together increasing numbers of new residents as more homes were built.