History Happened Here

A campaign commemorating Florida's diverse cities.
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San Antonio

Pasco County

Year Founded: 1891


Judge Edmond F. Dunne, a former chief justice of Arizona, founded San Antonio as a Catholic colony in 1881. Family tradition says that Dunne had once lost his way in the Arizona desert while prospecting for silver and prayed to his patron saint for rescue, vowing he would give the name of San Antonio to a settlement he contemplated founding in Florida. The place in Florida that he finally selected had been called Clear Lake. In fulfillment of his promise, he founded a settlement there and renamed it San Antonio. The settlement was named for Saint Anthony of Padua, with San Antonio being Spanish for St. Anthony. In 1889, with the support of Dunne, the Benedictine religious order here founded St. Leo College and Holy Name Academy, originally a Catholic girl’s school built on 40 acres donated by Dunne. The order also founded Saint Leo Abbey in San Antonio, which was later moved to Saint Leo. The community remained as such until after World War II, when many people moved to Florida and to San Antonio. It is predominately a Catholic community, however there is a Methodist church now and many people who work in Tampa commute from the area.

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