Saturday, March 31, 2007
Who's your favorite?
Friday, March 30, 2007
From the site's home page, click "search." You will see a map of the state. Use the "zoom+" button to zoom on the part of Florida that interests you. After you zoom in several times, you will see dots with years, which are the links to photos from that year of that place. If you zoom in more, you will see street names. You can use the "select" feature to draw a rectangle around the dots you want. Links to the photos will appear below the map. Click on the camera icon by the year you want, and a new window will open with that aerial photograph. You can zoom in closer by using the drop down menu, or by clicking on the photograph (which also recenters the image).
(If you know the Township and Range of where you are looking for, see the FAQ sections for how to target those images quickly.)
Old aerial photographs are used by ecologists, hydrologists, planners, geologists, and others. I use them primarily to look at changes in land use over time, or to see if a particular building really was there when other records say it was. If the picture is good enough, I may be able to tell the shape of a building, what kind of roof it had, or see where the driveway was.
These are old photographs, and technology has changed considerably, so don't expect the same quality image resolution you'll find on Google Maps. Nevertheless, these photographs are a tremendous record of Florida's development that might be useful to you in your work.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
If you are wondering why an Italian festival in Ybor City(?), visit the L'Unione Italiana website for a quick overview. If you're feeling more scholarly, go to the library or your local bookstore for a copy of The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985, by Gary R. Mormino and George E. Pozzetta.
There's a lot happening in Tampa this weekend with the start of regular season baseball and MacDill AirFest 2007, but come on out to Ybor for food and fun. If you stop by on Sunday, I'll see you there!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Walton Sun recently published a review of Seasonal Florida, a regional (Florida panhandle) cookbook originally conceived as a way to raise money for repairs to the Stuart-Knox-Gillis House in DeFuniak Springs.
It's not a cookbook, but another food-related article in the press recently was "Kosher Wars Hit South Florida." Evidently Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Albertsons are duking it out over the kosher market sector. And on another tangent, did you know that the Florida Department of Agriculture has a "Kosher from Florida" marketing program?
Monday, March 26, 2007
Rympkema's consulting firm, PlaceEconomics, "specializes in services to public and non-profit sector clients who are dealing with downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures," according to its website. The site provides links to publications such as Historic Preservation and Affordable Housing: The Missed Connection (National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2003), and recommendations for further reading on this important topic.
The James Gamble Rogers II Colloquium will include the presentation of the 2007 Friends of Casa Feliz Historic Preservation Award to two Winter Park area preservation projects. Casa Feliz, designed by James Gamble Rogers II, is a historic house museum. The story of the house's restoration has its own website.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Ybor City is known for cigars, cigar factories, and the houses where cigar makers used to live. (It is also known for its nightlife, but that came later, after the factory town of Cuban, Spanish, Italian, Jewish, German immigrants faded.)
This afternoon we walked around Ybor, looking at the old buildings. Sure, we saw the factories and the mutual aid societies, but we also revisited the Ybor City Museum. This is a small but interesting musuem featuring many aspects of life in Ybor City, from church to bolita. The main museum building was originally the Ferlita Bakery. A historic marker in front of the museum tells something of the building's history:
"La Joven Francesa Bakery"
"Francisco Ferlita, a native of Santo Stefano, Sicily, established a bakery on this site in 1896. Bread sold for three cents and five cents, and often on credit. In 1922, the wooden structure was destroyed by fire, and a yellow brick building was built around the remaining old red brick ovens. Ferlita died in 1931, and his five sons Stephen, Angelo, Joe, Tony and John continued making Cuban bread until 1973. At the peak of production, 35,000 loaves of Cuban bread were produced weekly."
In Tampa, Cuban bread is long and crusty, somewhat like a French baguette. Before baking, a piece of a palm frond is placed lengthwise on the loaf, creating a split top. This bread is ubiquitous, dunked in a cup of Cuban coffee or pressed into service as a Cuban sandwich. (The bread, the coffee, and the sandwich are popular topics for friendly discussions of whose is best and and the proper way to make them -- also comparisons between Tampa and Miami versions.)
When the Ferlita Bakery was built, fresh bread was delivered door-to-door once or twice a day. At the museum, you can visit a casita (a factory worker's house) and see the nail by the front door where the delivery boy would impale the morning's loaf. This is bread with some oomph.
Museum admission is $3, children 5 and under free. The garden courtyard is a popular spot for weddings, and the museum shop has its own separate building next door. If you go on a Sunday, you don't have to worry about quarters for the parking meter.
Friday, March 23, 2007
"A Ferry to Fort Pickens by Summer?" in Gulf Breeze News. the road to the fort was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
"Under Florida's Spell" -- the St. Petersburg Times profiles crime novelist James W. Hall
Follow along with "Expedition: Kissimmee River" on Central Florida News 13.
"Governor's Rosewood Efforts Lauded" in St. Petersburg Times
"American Crocodile Makes Comeback" in The News-Press (How would you like to have one under your house?)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
It's Spring Break around here, so we headed to Honeymoon Island for an afternoon at the beach. This is one of my favorite beaches -- it's clean, the sand is good, it's easy to get to, there's nature, it's quiet, has clean bathrooms, a snack bar,a gift shop, and convenient parking. If you want to ride your bike, the Pinellas Trail goes over the causeway to Honeymoon Island State Park. Once in the state park, you can ride a ferry over to Caladesi Island, the #2 beach in America for 2006, according to Dr. Beach.
In the 1880s, Caladesi and Honeymoon were both part of Hog Island, cleverly named so because of the hog farm there. In 1921, a hurricane cut Hog Island into two islands (separated by the cleverly named Hurricane Pass). But before long, someone put more effort into naming things out there on that Gulf barrier island. In the late 1930s, Clinton M. Washburn bought the property, and renamed it Honeymoon Island as a marketing ploy involving newlyweds and thatched beach huts.
In the 1950s, Washburn sold Honeymoon Island to Arthur Vining Davis. After Davis died, Hyman Green owned the island, and had grand plans for developing it. A financial situation led Green to sell Honeymoon Island to the State of Florida in the early 1970s (the State had already purchased Caladesi in 1966). Honeymoon Island State Park opened in 1982.
For more information about the islands, the parks, and scheduled events, visit the State Parks' website or the website of the Friends of the Island Parks.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
(From from Lansing State Journal, March 11, 2007, "Old US-27 Could Become Historical Highway")
"Over this past year, Parrish, a retired car salesman and classic car enthusiast from Lansing, has been a one-man grass roots campaign, drumming up support from municipalities to designate Old US-27 as a historical highway through the federal Scenic Byways program.
"From Cheboygan, Mich., to Miami, Fla., Parrish, 53, is personally visiting every community along the Old 27 route, soliciting letters of resolution from city councils, township boards, county boards, road commissions, and chambers of commerce.
"Michigan is already on board, with sponsorships from State Rep. Rick Jones, Sen. Michelle McManus and Sen. Tony Stamos. Legislators in Indiana and Ohio have also taken the necessary steps, said Parrish.
"He said he is confident the other four states will fall into place. In November 2006, he visited 17 cities in Kentucky and Tennessee over a three-day period. In May, he plans on traveling to Georgia and Florida. His goal is to see Old 27 become historical by the year 2009.
"Parrish has a vision of the highway serving a role reminiscent of its east-west counterpart, Historical Route 66, which runs from Chicago, Ill., all the way to Santa Monica, Calif. Both were built at roughly the same time period — in the late 20s.
"Parrish said he believes creating Historical Old US-27 will provide a boost to the economy because "nostalgia sells." People come from all over the country to travel Historical Route 66, and Old 27 has the potential to be a similar draw, he said."
Florida already has three National Scenic Byways: the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway, the Tamiami Trail Scenic Highway, and the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway.
These are also recognized by Florida's Scenic Highways Program. The first scenic highway designated by the state was the Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway Corridor, in 1998. The most recent is the Big Bend Scenic Byway, designated in January 2007.
The Scenic Highways Program seeks to promote preservation, economic development, and community planning, and works primarily through community support and concensus building.
Some additional examples of designated Florida Scenic Highways are the Old Florida Heritage Highway (Alachua County)and the Courtney Campbell Causeway (Hillsborough and Pinellas counties). Highways under consideration for designation include the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway (in Marion and Flagler counties, through the Ocala National Forest), the Ormond Beach Scenic Loop, and the Heritage Crossroads: Miles of History, among others.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Closest to home is Georgia on My Mind, written by a history teacher, who contributes to other blogs as well (History is Elementary and American Presidents).
Further north, I found All Things Maine, which led me to Strange Maine ("This site is a nexus for conversation about Maine's very special strangeness, the people who love it, the people who have experienced it, & the people who are intrigued by it. History, mysteries, legends, current events, cryptozoology, & more"). Maybe we could have a contest to see which state is quirkier, Florida or Maine!
Come back southward just a touch, and there's Cow Hampshire ("Blogging about New Hampshire History, Genealogy, Photography & Humor"). The blog's curious name is explained here.
Ohio has some excellent blogs. MyHometownOhio is one of the best historic preservation blogs around. And since I tend to write about old bridges, the Historic Ohio Iron and Steel Bridges blog was a great find.
Some of the state & history blogs I found are also war & history blogs. Old Virginia Blog is about the Civil War in Virginia, and North Carolina and the Civil War is about ... well, you can figure that one out. Boston 1775 is about Massachusetts during the American Revolution. It is also one of the most read history blogs around, and was featured on Blogger a couple of months back.
Boston 1775 is perhaps more about Boston than Massachusetts, which opens up another category of place & history blogs, those that focus on a particular town rather than an entire state. In that category, I like Endangered Durham, which features lots of historic photos and current photos of historic structures. There are many, many other blogs that are about a particular place and its history or cultures. Today I chose to write about some outside of Florida. If there are some similar blogs that you particularly enjoy, please share!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
A couple of years ago a co-worker was clearing off some book shelves and gave me a slim, coffee-table type book called Florida in Washington, published by the Florida State Society. The idea of this book is to highlight Florida's contributions to the country, by featuring places or things with Florida connections in the nation's capitol. Although the book is light on text, the photographs are nice, and the authors chose an interesting assortment. Some examples:
- The Florida House, founded by Rhea Chiles in 1972 as an embassy of sorts, a place where Floridians can go in Washington, D.C.
- The statue of John Gorrie (the air conditioning guy) in the National Statuary Hall
- The painting "The Electoral Commission of 1877 (Florida Case)" by Cornelia Adele Fassett
- Mary McLeod Bethune's statue in Lincoln Park
- Andrew Jackson's statue in Lafayette Park
Monday, March 12, 2007
Historic Preservation and Historical Museum Special Category Grants are available through the Florida Department of State, Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. State agencies, state universities, local governments, and non-profit organizations can submit grant applications between April 1 and May 31, 2007.
The purpose of these grants is "To assist major archaeological excavations, large restoration projects at historic structures, and major museum exhibit projects involving the development and presentation of information on the history of Florida."
Grant amounts range from $50,000 to $350,000. Submitting organizations must be able to demonstrate significant local cost share over past years, and commit to a minimum $50,000 match.
Applications will be reviewed by the Florida Historical Commission in September, with top applicants recommended for funding by the state legislature. In 2006, 53 grants were recommended for funding in 2008, for a total of nearly $15 million.
The #1 ranked project was the Town of Fort Myers Beach's Mound House Shell Mound Exhibit. Other high ranking projects were:
the Escambia County Courthouse
the Centro Asturiano in Tampa
the Harry S. Truman Little White House in Key West
the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at Florida Southern College
the 1919 Lake Wales School
Sunday, March 11, 2007
A local TV station report about Citizens to Save Hialeah Park.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas House will stay where it is.
The Orlando Sentinel has a special report online about Orlando's First Black Police Officials,
and the Florida Times-Union has an online special report about the decommissioning of the USS John F. Kennedy.
The clock in Tampa's city hall is named Hortense.
Beth Dunlop reviews Diaz-Balart Hall, designed by Robert A. M. Stern Associates, on the campus of Florida International University.
A major renovation project will begin soon at the historic Dubsdread Golf Course, built in College Park in the 1920s.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Fans were quiet, but playing attention, following each player. Well, most of the fans were quiet -- there were those shirtless guys over on the Astros side. The water and lemonade vendor was a very polite young man, and the beer guy ("Somebody's thirsty out there!") has a baritone voice reminding me of James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams. A pair of ospreys sat on the light poles, watching the game, and seagulls buzzed around looking for snacks and adding a few comments.
Spring training is serious business, but still much more relaxed than regular season. The players are more accessible, and the scale of the stands and field are more intimate as well. Yesterday the Blue Jays' bat boy and the 3rd base coach were both another year older, so they played happy birthday for them.
It was a beautiful Friday afternoon, warm with clear blue skies, and there was plenty of pink skin as the game went on. The announcer gave a weather update -- it was a balmy 30 degrees in Toronto. For the seventh inning stretch, our beer guy led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The Astros won, 9 to 7.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
SNAKES AND ADDERS
PLEASE DON'T TOUCH
(Exerpts from story in the September 11, 1893, Chicago Daily newspaper)
"... Clifford made a deal with Ralston by which the latter was to receive half the snakes if he tamed them."
Ralston put the box of snakes in the basement so they would get cold, and later that day he lifted the lid.
"In the box were seven Florida rattlers and two adders."
According to Ralston, he had yet to pick them up when one of the diamondback rattlesnakes "fastened its fangs in his flesh. Facts are somewhat adverse to this statement, as Ralston was recovering from delirium when he made it." The building's furnace man said that Ralston had been playing with another snake, and left the lid open, allowing the rattler to escape.
"Ralston, when he saw the great reptile coiling on the floor, grabbed a blanket and tried to throw it over the animal's head. The enraged reptile sprung forwar as the blanket was thrown. Then in the dimly lit cellar ensued a strange combat."
"The Pinkerton watchman at the head of the stairs remarked to the Bohemian glass blower, who was passing at the time: 'Ralston is having a whole lot of fun with his new snakes. Don't you hear him waltzing around down there?'"
Pale and shaken, Ralston staggered up the stairs, as the audience for the noon performance let out. Horrified, people shrank away from him. Someone yelled "The snakes are loose!" and pandemonium ensued. Clifford rushed down to the basement, where he found all the snakes securely fastened in the box. "The inside of the cage was one hideous mass of angry contortions, in which the lesser reptiles were invisibly knotted. The Florida rattler which bit Ralston was 6 feet 4 inches in length and as hideous a specimen of that venomous tribe as was ever captured."
Ralston was "made unconscious with whisky" and taken to the hospital. Doctors found that only one of the snake fangs had caught Ralston, who was given an "even chance of recovery."
Afterwards, Clifford denied making a deal with Ralston: " 'The snakes were sent to me,' he said, 'by a colored man who lives at Tampa, Fla., and knew I was in the museum business. they were sent for exhibition purposes alone, and are not of the sort to be charmed or petted. The snake that bit Ralston was as venomous a reptile as I ever saw, and about the biggest, too. That snake has got a record now, and is worth money. I think Ralston will pull through. If he does I will give him the rattler that bit him.'"
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Every spring, the state legistlature meets to discuss the budget and taxes, and someone always mentions Florida's sales tax exemption for ostrich feed. In 1992, ostriches were reclassified as domestic livestock, and the tax exemption went into effect to support what was seen as an emerging industry in Florida. Starting in the late 1980s, ostrich was promoted as a low-fat, low-cholesterol beef alternative. Soon, ostrich farms were popping up all over the place. Unfortunately, demand did not follow and problems with slaughtering, marketing, and distributing kept ostrich product prices high. In the mid to late 1990s, most ostrich farms in Florida went out of business. The feed tax exemption stayed.
Ostrich farming was popular in Florida one hundred years ago, too. The first ostriches were brought to the United States in the late 1880s, and in the late 1890s the Florida Ostrich Farm opened in Jacksonville. While this was a tourist attraction featuring ostrich races, they also raised the large birds for their feathers. Depending on the color, length, and width, a single plume could cost as much as $40 (approximately $800 in today's dollars). The fluffy plumes were popular decorations for ladies hats, both in America and Europe. In addition to individual plumes, the Florida Ostrich Farm sold feather boas, stoles, and fans.
Ostrich farms were popular tourist destinations in Jacksonville well into the twentieth century, but other cities had them, too. There was a farm in St. Petersburg in the early part of the century, where the Wells family raced French ostriches and sold egg and plume souvenirs. Today, there are few ostrich farms operating in Florida. Bird races never really caught on and are seen locally only in old photographs and vintage postcards.
The American Ostrich Association has some interesting facts and figures available on its website -- for instance, did you know that an ostrich's brain is approximately the same size as its eyeball?
(Circa 1910 photograph of Henry Jackson Bond on a stuffed ostrich in Tallahassee, Florida, courtesy Florida Photographic Collection, State Archives of Florida.)
Monday, March 05, 2007
(1920s photographs of Coral Gables water towers courtesy Florida Photographic Collection, State Archives of Florida)
Last month, the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority sold a water tower to the Santa Rosa Island Authority for one dollar. Aside from the price, you might ask "why?" if you knew the water tower isn't even being used anymore. But for people in Pensacola Beach, it's not just some public utility, it's the beachball, a local landmark.
Pensacola Beach isn't the only place in Florida with a distinctive water tower, or even the only one with a beach ball. Plant City has a big strawberry water tower. MGM Studios has the "Earful Tower" (a bad pun with mouse ears). These towers refer to something distinctive about a town or place, a way of showing pride or identity in a highly visible way.
Some water towers were used to advertise new developments in the 1920s. Coral Gables built two water towers (see photos above), then clad them in Spanish/Mediterranean garb to blend with the rest of the town's architecture. One of the towers was damaged and not repaired after the 1926 hurricane, but the other (the Alhambra) is still there. The Sulphur Springs water tower in Tampa was built by a real estate developer named Josiah Richardson. This is the tall, white castle-like tower you see just to the west of I-275 north of downtown Tampa. It's been cleaned up recently, and is part of a city park-in-progress.
Not all cities keep their old water towers. They are, after all, big tall metal things that rust and cost a lot of money to repaint, and may not be big enough for the needs of growing communities. In 2005, Dania Beach took down a ~60-year-old tower. Fort Lauderdale, Victoria Park, Poinciana Park, and Miami Beach all took old towers down in the 1990s. The pink Miami Beach tower is now an artificial reef out in the Atlantic. However, in 2006 the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce made a deal with a telecommunications compay to repaint and fix up a 1960s water tower in exchange for permission to install antennaes on it. This preserved a local landmark and the water tower stands in the place of yet another cell tower.
Painting water towers sometimes leads to controversy. In 2000, local artist Tom Stovall painted a mural on the Seminole, FL water tower. In 2005, the water tower became the focus of a debate, when it was suggested that the mural should be painted over. But public sentiment was in favor of Stovall's birds, as Seminole residents felt it was something unique for their community ... and a great way to give directions somewhere.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Orlando Beyond Disney (March 2007)
Some other National Geographic article about Florida available online:
"33127: Visions of Little Haiti" (February 2006)
"33856: No Dogs Allowed" (Nalcrest, FL)
Friday, March 02, 2007
March 1 - 11, Plant City
Florida Film Festival
March 23 - April 1, Maitland
Big "O" Birding Festival
March 30 - April 1, Moore Haven
Calle Ocho Carnival
March 11, Miami
March 2 - 11, Daytona Beach
Will McLean Music Festival
March 9 - 11, Dade City
Thursday, March 01, 2007
General Fiction: Whiteman, by Tony D'Souza
Young Adult Literature: The Real Question, by Adrian Fogelin
Children's Literature: The Somebodies, by N.E. Bode (Julianna Baggott)
Nonfiction: The Swamp, by Michael Grunwald
Poetry: My Psychic, by James Kimbrell
Popular Fiction: Escape Clause, by James O. Born
Spanish Language: La Isla De Los Amores Infinitos, by Daina Chaviano
Complete list of winners