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Church of Scientology

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Local Residents Tour the Historic Fort Harrison, Storm Shelter During Hurricane Irma in 2017

Clearwater natives, long term residents and out-of-state visitors gathered Saturday the 31st of August at the historic Fort Harrison for a tour of Clearwater’s iconic building, owned by the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization.

Clearwater, FL, September 06, 2019 --( The tour began with a brief introduction as to how the Fort Harrison got its name. Then guests toured the facility, seeing the architectural restoration details, from top to bottom and gained appreciation for the local landmark.

One space in particular, the Crystal Ballroom, situated on the 10th floor of the Fort Harrison, seemed to make the biggest impression on the guests. With its chandelier of 11,600 hand-cut and polished bohemian crystals weighing 400 lbs. and illuminated by 52 individual lamps and its oval oak wood dance floor and panoramic view of the inter-coastal waterway. Attendees took the opportunity to snap photos for mementos.

Guests learned about notable guests spanning the facility’s nine decades including Vice President Gerald Ford who spoke to 900 people at the Pinellas County and Florida Republicans club in the Fort Harrison Auditorium in 1974, or the Philadelphia Phillies who used to stay at the Fort Harrison during spring training or the World War II troupes that were billeted at the Fort Harrison.

“Another thing most visitors aren’t aware of is that the Fort Harrison, which underwent intense restoration in 2009, served as a hurricane shelter in 2017 for Hurricane Irma,” said Amber Skjelset, the guide for this week’s tour and Manager of the Scientology Information Center. “The Fort Harrison’s exterior is composed of ten inch thick concrete and each window is over an inch thick which can withstand up 200 mph winds.”

Guests also learned how the Church offers the Fort Harrison’s Crystal Ballroom and Auditorium for non-profit and community events several times a year as well as sponsoring major outdoor events such as Winter Wonderland, the Downtown Block Parties and the Ginormous Easter Egg Hunt in Coachman Park.

One local resident Lisa, said, “I’ve driven by the Fort Harrison quite a bit, and I’ve always wanted to see what it looked like. I’m happy I had the opportunity to tour the building!”

The next Historical Buildings Tour is on September 28th. To learn more about the tour or to RSVP please contact Amber at 727-467-6966 or

The Church of Scientology:

The Scientology religion was founded by humanitarian and philosopher, L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in the United States in 1954 and has expanded to more than 11,000 churches, missions and affiliated groups in 167 nations. The Church of Scientology regularly engages in humanitarian programs and community events. Clearwater is the home of the spiritual headquarters for the Church of Scientology.

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Contact Information
Church of Scientology
Amber Skjelset
(727) 467-6966

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