Fort Harrison Hotel

The Fort Harrison Hotel serves as the flagship building of the Flag Land Base, the Church of Scientology's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. It is owned and operated by the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc., a subsidiary of the Church of Scientology International.

The hotel has 11 stories and features 220 rooms, three restaurants, a swimming pool and a ballroom. The building is connected by a skywalk to the Flag Building.

Fort Harrison Hotel
2008 06 Fort Harrison Hotel
Fort Harrison Hotel (June 2008)
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusChurch of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc.
LeadershipReligious Technology Center
LocationClearwater, Florida
Architectural styleMediterranean Revival
Flag Service Organization


The hotel opened in 1926 as the "New Fort Harrison Hotel", replacing the former Fort Harrison Hotel. It was built by developer Ed Haley and was used as a community center for many years.[1] The hotel was operated by Ransom E. Olds, inventor of the Oldsmobile, from 1926 until his death in 1950.[2]

The name comes from a Seminole War-era U.S. Army fort, built in the 1830s south of today's downtown Clearwater. The fort was named for William Henry Harrison and was the western counterpart of Fort Brooke in what became Tampa. (See also the history of Clearwater.)

In 1953 the hotel was bought by the Jack Tar Hotels and became known as the "New Fort Harrison Hotel, a Jack Tar Hotel".[2] The company added a cabana area to the building.

By the 1970s the hotel began to fall into disrepair. In 1975, the Church of Scientology purchased the building under the names "Southern Land Development and Leasing Corp"[2] and "United Churches of Florida Inc".[3] In 1976, the Church of Scientology's connection and the named purchasers was reported by the St. Petersburg Times, as was the Church's plan for a $2.8 million restoration and upgrade of the hotel.[4]

In 2007, the Church announced that the hotel would undergo another $20 million restoration project, but not when the project would begin.[5]

Use in Scientology

The Fort Harrison Hotel is used by the Church of Scientology as an area in which to feed, train and house visiting practitioners.[4] It provides both accommodation and "course & auditing" rooms, for Scientologists studying at high levels of Scientology. The Fort Harrison is joined by a walkway bridge over South Fort Harrison Avenue to the Flag Building on the other side of the street.

The hotel was used for the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), a program used to punish members of the Church of Scientology Sea Organization for "serious deviations." Members of the church in this institution are subject to prison-like conditions, forced labor and other human rights violations.[6][7] A former prisoner of the hotel, Hanna Whitefield, described the situation in an affidavit:[8]

Some of us slept on thin mattresses on the bare cement floor. Some had crude bunk beds. There was no place for clothes, so we lived out of suitcases and bags which were kept on bare floors. Some privacy was maintained by hanging sheets up between bunk beds and between floor mattresses. The women and men had separate bathrooms and toilets but they were small. We were not allowed to shower longer than 30 seconds. We had only to run through the shower and out the other end. There was no spare time for talk or relaxation. We awoke at 6:30 A.M. or earlier at times, did hard labor and heavy construction work and cleaning until late afternoon. After [a] quick shower and change of clothing, we had to audit each other and 'rehabilitate' ourselves until 10:30 P.M. or later each evening. There were no days off, four weeks a month. We ate our meals in the garage or at times in the dining rooms AFTER normal meals had ended. Our food consisted of leftovers from staff. On occasions which seemed like Christmas, we were able to prepare ourselves fresh meals if leftovers were insufficient.
— Hanna Whitefield, in her affidavit to the United States District Court for the Central District of California

Notable incidents

In December 1926, daredevil Henry Roland scaled the building blindfolded.[9]

The Fort Harrison Hotel has been the site of at least three suspicious deaths since 1975, most notably the death of Lisa McPherson, who died on December 5, 1995, after spending 17 days in room 174[10] of the building.[6][11] The officially reported cause of death was a blood clot caused by dehydration and bedrest. The Church later challenged the findings of the autopsy in court.[12][13] In 1997, a church spokesman acknowledged that McPherson died at the Fort Harrison, rather than on the way to the hospital. The church later retracted its spokesman's statement.[14]

In February 1980, prior to McPherson's death, a Scientologist named Josephus A. Havenith was found dead at the Fort Harrison Hotel. He was discovered in a bathtub filled with water hot enough to have burned his skin off. The officially reported cause of death was drowning, although the coroner noted that, when he was found, Havenith's head was not submerged.[15]

In August 1988, Scientologist Heribert Pfaff died of a seizure in the Fort Harrison Hotel. He had recently stopped taking his seizure medication in favor of a vitamin program.[15]

In 1997, Clearwater police received over 160 emergency calls from the Fort Harrison Hotel, but they were denied entry into the hotel by Scientology security.[15][16]


In 1965, the Rolling Stones wrote their hit song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" at the hotel.[17]

The hotel was once the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.[18]

See also


  1. ^ DEBORAH O'NEIL (January 26, 2002). "Public to get rare view of hotel". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. The Fort Harrison Hotel was built by developer Ed Haley and for years served as a center for community events. Proms and cotillions, luncheons and fashion shows, club meetings and wedding receptions all were staged there.
  2. ^ a b c AMELIA DAVIS (May 24, 1990). "Historic sites dot land along harbor". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. Fort Harrison Hotel. Built in 1925 by Ed Haley, the hotel was operated by R.E. Olds of Lansing, Mich., until 1953. Olds, the founder of Oldsmar and the inventor of the Oldsmobile, traded his nearly finished Oldsmar Race Track for the Fort Harrison. In 1953, the hotel was sold to the Jack Tar hotel chain. It was operated as a winter resort for most of its first three decades. The 11-story building was the city's first skyscraper. In 1975, the hotel was sold to the Church of Scientology, under the alias Southern Land Development and Leasing Corp. The building serves as Scientology's international spiritual headquarters.
  3. ^ CURTIS KRUEGER (August 5, 1989). "Scientologists don't plan to buy buildings". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. The Scientologists' land holdings in Clearwater have increased steadily in the years since they bought the historic Fort Harrison Hotel in 1975.
  4. ^ a b CURTIS KRUEGER (February 13, 1989). "Scientologists upgrading hotel // $ 2.8-million spent on headquarters". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. The Church of Scientology says it is pouring $ 2.8-million into a renovation of the Fort Harrison Hotel, where the organization houses, trains and feeds its students.
  5. ^ Jacob H Fries (September 29, 2007). "SCIENTOLOGY HAS BIG PLANS FOR LANDMARK". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. The Church of Scientology is in announcement mode again, this time saying it will spend $20-million on a major upgrade of its iconic Fort Harrison Hotel. But what church officials aren't saying is exactly when the work will start.
  6. ^ a b "The Life & Death of a Scientologist". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  7. ^ "Scientology — Is This a Religion?" Scientology—Is This a Religion? N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2015. <>.
  8. ^ Whitfield, Hana. 1989. "Affidavit." (August 8): 11pp, downloaded from <alt.religion.scientology>.
  9. ^ "'Human fly' to scale Fort Harrison Hotel". St. Petersburg Times. Dec 3, 1926. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
  10. ^ Tobin, Thomas C. (December 6, 1998). "McPherson Relatives Lead Protest". St. Petersburg Times. Florida.
  11. ^ Ellison, Michael (November 23, 1998). "Death in the sunshine state; Three years ago, a minor car crash left Lisa McPherson dead. Now Scientology is in the dock". The Guardian.
  12. ^ Wilson, Mike (August 16, 1997). "Scientology deserves all the bad PR". St. Petersburg Times.
  13. ^ Tobin, Thomas C. (June 7, 1998). "'Unique' case of Scientologist's death is still under investigation". St. Petersburg Times.
  14. ^ Tobin, Thomas C. (May 9, 1997). "When did she die?". St. Petersburg Times.
  15. ^ a b c Lucy Morgan (December 7, 1997). "For some Scientologists, pilgrimage has been fatal". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. Josephus A. Havenith, 45, who died in February 1980 at the Fort Harrison Hotel in a bathtub filled with water so hot it burned his skin off.

    Heribert Pfaff, 31, who died of an apparent seizure in the Fort Harrison Hotel in August 1988 after he quit taking medication that controlled his seizures and was placed instead on a program of vitamins and minerals. Clearwater police are suspicious about the number of 911 calls that come from rooms at the Fort Harrison Hotel. Police respond to each call only to be told most of the time by Scientology security guards that the call was a mistake. Police are not allowed to check individual rooms where the calls originated.

    In the past 11 months, 161 calls to 911 were made from rooms in the hotel, but each time Scientology security guards said there was no emergency.

  16. ^ "Scientologists' deaths raise questions among families, officials". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. December 8, 1997. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  17. ^ "Know Your Stones". The Irish Times. September 6, 2003. Retrieved April 18, 2010. Keith Richards woke up in the Fort Harrison Hotel, Clearwater, Florida, having dreamt the riff, chorus and title of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.
  18. ^ Ned Seaton (March 29, 1996). "Among Phillies fans, sisters hit cleanup". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved April 18, 2010. They worked hard on their tans and they went to all the games, but there wasn't much else going on, they said. The town closed down about 9 p.m. In those early days, they stayed in the Fort Harrison Hotel, where the team stayed.

External links

Coordinates: 27°57′49″N 82°48′01″W / 27.9635°N 82.8004°W

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, released in 1965. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham. Richards' three-note guitar riff—‌intended to be replaced by horns—‌opens and drives the song. The lyrics refer to sexual frustration and commercialism.

The song was first released as a single in the United States in June 1965 and was also featured on the American version of the Rolling Stones' fourth studio album, Out of Our Heads, released that July. "Satisfaction" was a hit, giving the Stones their first number one in the US. In the UK, the song initially was played only on pirate radio stations, because its lyrics were considered too sexually suggestive. It later became the Rolling Stones' fourth number one in the United Kingdom.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in the second spot on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2006.

Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, United States, northwest of Tampa and St. Petersburg. To the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and to the southeast lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 107,685. Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and is the smallest of the three principal cities in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area.

Cleveland Street is one of the city's historic avenues, and the city includes Spectrum Field and Coachman Park. The city is separated by the Intracoastal Waterway from Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater is the home of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where bottlenose dolphins Winter and Hope live.

The worldwide headquarters for the Church of Scientology is located in Clearwater.

David Miscavige

David Miscavige (; born April 30, 1960) is the leader of the Church of Scientology. His official title is Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), a corporation that controls the trademarks and copyrights of Dianetics and Scientology.

Miscavige was a deputy to church founder L. Ron Hubbard (a "Commodore's messenger") while he was a teenager. He rose to a leadership position by the early 1980s and was named Chairman of the Board of RTC in 1987. Official church biographies describe Miscavige as "the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion".Since he assumed his leadership position, there have been a number of allegations made against Miscavige. These include claims of forced separation of family members, coercive fundraising practices, harassment of journalists and church critics, and humiliation of church staff members, including physical assaults upon them by Miscavige. Miscavige and church spokespersons deny the majority of these claims, often criticizing the credibility of those who bring them.

Flag Building

The Flag Building, also referred to as the Super Power Building, is the largest building in Clearwater, Florida. It is owned by the Church of Scientology and was built principally to deliver the Super Power Rundown, a high-level Scientology training course intended to train Scientologists to use all of their 57 "perceptics" or senses. The interior of the building contains training suites, course rooms, theaters and various devices intended to test "perceptics," including a "time machine", an anti-gravity simulator, an "infinite" pit, and a pain station.

The complex occupies a city block at 215 South Fort Harrison Avenue. It includes a 15-story tower topped by a bronze Scientology cross visible from much of Clearwater. Construction began in 1998, was halted in 2003, and was ultimately resumed to reach substantial completion during 2011. The long delay in construction led to substantial fines being levied by the city authorities. The building is valued at $80 million and at least $145 million was raised by Church fundraising towards the project. The church denies accusations that the Flag Building's completion was deliberately delayed so that it could serve as a cash cow.The Church of Scientology announced in August 2013 that the building would be opened to the public on October 6, 2013, with a dedication ceremony that the church estimated would attract approximately 10,000 Scientologists. However, a month later it emerged that the Church had canceled the ceremony and postponed the opening of the building. The building finally opened on November 17, 2013.

Fort Harrison (disambiguation)

Fort Harrison may refer to:

Fort Harrison, Indiana, an American fort built near present day Terre Haute in 1811

Fort Harrison, Confederate fort built to defend Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War

Fort Harrison National Cemetery, cemetery near Richmond, Virginia

"Fort Harrison," Rockingham County, Virginia; a house designated by the legislature of Virginia as Fort Harrison during the French and Indian War

Fort Benjamin Harrison, US Army post in Marion County, Indiana

Fort Harrison State Park, Indiana State Park; located near and named for Fort Benjamin Harrison

Fort Harrison, a Seminole War-era military outpost on the west coast of Florida, on a site which now lies within the city of Clearwater

Fort Harrison Hotel, part of the headquarters for the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida

Fort William Henry Harrison, a National Guard post in Montana

Jack Russell Memorial Stadium

Jack Russell Memorial Stadium is a stadium in Clearwater, Florida. It opened as Jack Russell Stadium in 1955. It had a capacity of 4,744 when it opened; in 2003 seating capacity was 6,942 people. It was the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies MLB team from 1955 through 2003. Since 2017, it has been home to the Clearwater High School and St. Petersburg College baseball teams.The Clearwater Bombers, a softball team that won 10 National Amateur Softball Association titles between 1950 and 1973, played their home games there from 1955 through 1984. The name of the stadium was changed to Jack Russell Memorial Stadium following Jack Russell's death in November 1990.

In 2004, the Philadelphia Phillies moved to Bright House Networks Field, 4 miles to the east. Most of the ballpark was demolished on July 21, 2007. The dugouts, offices, and other elements were retained as the field has continued to be used for amateur baseball.

In 2019 it is serving as the temporary home field of the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Leisa Goodman

Leisa Goodman is an American official of the Church of Scientology. As of 2005, she served as the Human Rights Director for the Church of Scientology International. She had previously served as a spokesperson for the Church and served as its media relations director.

In her capacity as media relations director she managed Church of Scientology websites, presented the church's viewpoints about its conflict with critics on the Internet to the media, and traveled to Germany on a six-month fact finding mission to investigate the country's treatment of Scientologists. She went to Clearwater, Florida with Scientology's general counsel Elliot Abelson and then-head of the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs, Mike Rinder, to attend a counter-protest against critics protesting outside the Fort Harrison Hotel. She works out of Los Angeles, California, and has served as Scientology's Human Rights Director since 1997.

Lisa McPherson

Lisa McPherson (February 10, 1959 – December 5, 1995) was an American member of the Church of Scientology who died of a pulmonary embolism while under the care of the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc. Following the report of the state of Florida's medical examiner that indicated that Lisa was a victim of negligent homicide, the Church of Scientology was indicted on two felony charges, "abuse and/or neglect of a disabled adult" and "practicing medicine without a license." The charges against the Church of Scientology were dropped after the state's medical examiner changed the cause of death from "undetermined" to an "accident" on June 13, 2000. A civil suit brought by her family against the Church was settled on May 28, 2004.

Lisa McPherson Trust

The Lisa McPherson Trust was an organisation created in 1999 by Bob Minton. The trust was named after Lisa McPherson, a Scientology member who died in 1995 after being in the Church of Scientology’s care for 17 days. Their stated goal was to "expose the deceptive and abusive practices of Scientology and help those victimized by [the Church of Scientology]."Of the five staff members at the Lisa McPherson trust, four were former members of Scientology.

Mediterranean Revival architecture

Mediterranean Revival is a design style introduced in the United States in the waning nineteenth century variously incorporating references from Spanish Renaissance, Spanish Colonial, Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance, Arabic Andalusian architecture, and Venetian Gothic architecture.

Peaking in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, the movement drew heavily on the style of palaces and seaside villas and applied them to the rapidly expanding coastal resorts of Florida and California.

Structures are typically based on a rectangular floor plan, and feature massive, symmetrical primary façades. Stuccoed walls, red tiled roofs, windows in the shape of arches or circles, one or two stories, wood or wrought iron balconies with window grilles, and articulated door surrounds are characteristic. Keystones were occasionally employed. Ornamentation may be simple or dramatic. Lush gardens often appear.

The style was most commonly applied to hotels, apartment buildings, commercial structures, and residences. Architects August Geiger and Addison Mizner were foremost in Florida, while Bertram Goodhue, Sumner Spaulding, and Paul Williams were in California.There are also examples of this architectural style in Cuba, such as the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, in Havana.

Moon Lake, Florida

Moon Lake is an unincorporated area in Pasco County, Florida. Moon Lake Road passes through the area. Moon Lake was once home to the Moon Lake Gardens Dude Ranch, built between 1933 and 1937 by the owner of Clearwater, Florida's Fort Harrison Hotel, Ed Haley. The tourist resort included cottages, a casino, and gardens. The community has struggled with a high crime rate and bad reputation in recent years. Moon Lake's elementary school scored an A on state evaluations. It has 75% of its population from lower income homes.

Project Normandy

Project Normandy was a top secret Church of Scientology operation wherein the church planned to take over the city of Clearwater, Florida, by infiltrating government offices and media centers. Gabe Cazares, who was the mayor of Clearwater at the time, used the term “the occupation of Clearwater.”

Ransom E. Olds

Ransom Eli Olds (June 3, 1864 – August 26, 1950) was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, after whom the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1887 and his first gasoline-powered car in 1896. The modern assembly line and its basic concept is credited to Olds, who used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901.

Rundown (Scientology)

In Scientology and Dianetics, a "rundown" is "a series of steps which are auditing actions and processes designed to handle a specific aspect of a case and which have a known end phenomena."

Scientology in the United States

Scientology was founded in the United States by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is now practiced in many other countries.

Tampa Bay Times

The Tampa Bay Times, previously named the St. Petersburg Times through 2011, is an American newspaper published in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States. It has won twelve Pulitzer Prizes since 1964, and in 2009, won two in a single year for the first time in its history, one of which was for its PolitiFact project. It is published by the Times Publishing Company, which is owned by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit journalism school directly adjacent to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. Many issues are available through Google News Archive. A daily electronic version is also available for the Amazon Kindle and iPad.

The Bridge (2006 drama film)

The Bridge is a 2006 drama film directed by filmmaker Brett Hanover.A fictional story of involvement and disillusionment with Scientology, the film explicitly uses Scientology terms throughout, as well as including clips from actual Scientology promotional and training videos. It was released as free use media to the Internet in September 2006 by the filmmaker.The brochure of the Indie Memphis film festival stated that The Bridge was the "first feature film" about the Church Of Scientology. While it is set against the background of the Church of Scientology and the Sea Org, the characters and situations depicted are fictional.

Timeline of Pinellas County, Florida history

Timeline of Pinellas County, Florida history.

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