Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dr. Robert Cade, Gatorade Creator

Dr. Robert Cade, instrumental in creating Gatorade, died today at age 80. He and other scientists at the University of Florida developed the drink in the 1960s to help keep the school's football players hydrated. The name Gatorade is a reference to the team's nickname, the Gators.

"Gatorade creator Dr. Robert Cade dies Tuesday at age 80" (University of Florida News, November 27, 2007)

"Dr. Robert Cade, Gatorade inventor, dies at 80" (Gainesville Sun/Gatorsports.com, November 27, 2007)

History of Gatorade, from the sport drink's official website

Monday, November 26, 2007

SS American Victory

The SS American Victory is docked in Tampa's Channelside District, between the Florida Aquarium and the cruise ship terminal.

SS American Victory is a World War II Merchant Marine Victory ship, now serving as a maritime museum. Although this particular ship was built in California, it is an effective reminder of the many, many ships built in Tampa during the war at the docks visible from the American Victory's decks.

Garrison Channel, looking west toward downtown to the right -- Harbor Island to the left, Tampa General Hospital on Davis Islands straight ahead.

Ybor Channel (part of the Port of Tampa, looking north toward Ybor City). When the Ybor Estuary was dredged in the early twentieth century, creating the channel, the Port of Tampa drew commercial shipping away from the Hillsborough River. It is now the largest port in Florida.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Florida News, After a Long Weekend

"Eight million pounds of citrus will crisscross the country" (Orlando Sentinel, November 21, 2007)

"A Florida Thanksgiving" (Herald Tribune, November 22, 2007) "'Pluck 'em, skin 'em, bread 'em and fry 'em' is his family's traditional recipe for wild turkey, dating back four generations to Florida's first Austin Heacock -- Hay-cock -- who came down from Ohio with the Sebrings in 1912."

"Old-timer recalls when citrus ruled area" (St. Petersburg Times, November 23, 2007) Memories of Orange Blossom Groves.

"Wooden icon breathes new green life:
The governor endorses the energy efficiency project of the new owners of the Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa." (St. Petersburg Times, November 20, 2007)

"Restoring the Everglades" (Tampa Tribune, Special Report)

"Herbert Saffir, creator of hurricane intensity scale, dies at 90 " (St. Petersburg Times, November 23, 2007)

"State Has a History of Primary Skirmishes" (Tallahassee Democrat, November 25, 2007)

"'60s concrete monsters get a second look" (Miami Herald, November 21, 2007)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving (A Month or Two Late)

"Florida teacher chips away at Plymouth Rock Thanksgiving myth"
USA Today, November 20, 2007

Old Houses on Campus

The University of South Florida-St. Petersburg has a small, two-building historic district on campus, consisting of the Williams House and the Snell House.
The Williams House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and desinated a City of St. Petersburg Landmark in 1986, was built in 1891 by Genreal John C. Williams, a key figure in St. Petersburg's earliest days. This Queen Anne-style house was originally located in downtown St. Petersburg, where it was part of the Manhattan Hotel for many decades before being moved to the USF-SP campus.

The Snell House gets its name from an historical association with C. Perry Snell, a leading St. Petersburg developer in the early twentieth century. Snell built this eccletic Dutch Colonial bungalow in 1904 as his own home, where he lived with his wife Lillian for a few years. Like the Williams house, the Snell House was part of a downtown hotel before it was moved to its current location on the USF-SP campus. It is now home to the Florida Studies and University Honors programs.

The Snell House features rounded rooms, three sided bay windows, classical columns, and a gambrel roof.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Florida News

"Is it Bigfoot? Nope, just a fox squirrel" (Florida Times-Union, November 17, 2007)

"Wildlife Officers Investigate New Ape Sighting" (News4Jax, November 15, 2007) with video

"Water skier, boat pioneer raced through life" (St. Petersburg Times, November 13, 2007)

"The Sponge Man Of Tarpon Springs" (Tampa Tribune, November 10, 2007)

"First woman mayor is Homestead's new face" (Miami Herald, November 15, 2007)

"Key deer refuge marks 50 years"(Herald Tribune, November 18, 2007)

"Judges who will pick plan for Riverview building hear of its former splendor" (Herald Tribune, November 18, 2007)

"Historic Hollywood mansion for sale again: The Storied Home of Hollywood's Founder Joseph W. Young is all ready for a new buyer" (Miami Herald, November 11, 2007)

"The old Coke plant could help revive All Saints" (Tallahassee Democrat, November 10, 2007)

"History echoes through the halls of newly renovated courthouse in West Palm Beach" (Sun Sentinel, November 17, 2007)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

So Long, Americana

Miami's Sheraton Bal Harbour Hotel (originally the Americana) crumbled to the ground this morning.

"Rat Pack's Lair Gone in a Cloud of Dust" (Miami Herald, Nov. 18, 2007)

"Historic Hotel Goes Out With Bang" (NBC6.net, Nov. 18, 2007 -- includes video)

" Sheraton Bal Harbour Vanishes in a Cloud of Dust" (CBS4, Nov. 18, 2007 -- includes video)

"Old Americana Hotel Will Be Dust at Dawn" (Miami Herald, Nov. 18, 2007)

"While You were [Probably] Sleeping This Morning" (Stuck on the Palmetto, Nov. 18, 2007)

"Americana" (My Florida History, Feb. 16, 2007)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Books on the Florida Shelf

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Cory Doctorow. (Tor, 2003.)
Disney World preserved in a future world. For more, visit the author's website. This book is also available through Daily Lit.

The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook, by Adela Hernandez Gonzmart and Ferdie Pacheco (University Press of Florida, 1995). History and recipes from Florida's oldest Spanish restaurant.

Bern's Steak House: Reflections & Recipes from a Remarkable Restaurant, by Joyce LaFray. (Seaside Publishing, 2002). History and recipes from Tampa's famous steak house, although it's about organic food, wine, and dessert, as well as the meat.

Wildfire!, by Elizabeth Starr Hills (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002) Short novel for children, set in rural Florida. Themes include peer pressure, jealosy, and family.

More Disney Golf

Imaginerding has a snipet of a 1976 Disney map showing the Magnolia golf course's unique groundskeeper, along with a link to My Florida History's April 2007 entry. Thanks!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Leisurama South

A February 1964 New York Times article described new homes being built in Lauderhill, Florida, where you could buy a 2-bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house for $16,990, "completely furnished, even down to the dishes and linens." This was the Leisurama South development, built by All-State Homes, which also built Leisurama in Montauk, on Long Island, New York.

A 2005 episode of PBS' History Detectives traced the path from Nixon and Khrushev's Kithchen Debate in Moscow to these modern homes near Fort Lauderdale. Architect Andrew Geller designed the kitchen where those two world leaders argued the relative merits of their contry's political systems, while looking at household appliances. Geller also designed the Leisurama homes.

Herbert Sadkin was the developer of Lauderhill. An interesting quote from the History Detectives: "Richard Nixon used the kitchen debate to sell the world capitalism. Herbert Sadkin used it to sell houses in Florida." (click here for a pdf of the episode's transcript)

The City of Lauderhill's website includes the story of how its name came close to being "Sunnydale," if not for the advise of William Safire.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Winslow Homer in Florida

With autumn here, and winter migrants arriving, let's look back at a man who visited Florida a hundred years ago.

Winslow Homer is famous as an American painter, and his watercolors are especially well known. Beginning in 1885, he made periodic winter trips to Florida. Over the span of a couple of decades he visited Key West, Tampa, the St. Johns River, and Homosassa Springs, trips that resulted in wonderful images of Florida that still resonate today.

So with the cooler, fresher weather, and the vacation time coming up, consider a family trip to Homosassa Springs, to see the manatees and Winslow Homer's art. A great 2 for 1 deal!

Online Winslow Homer exhibit from the National Gallery of Art

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Florida News

"Orange Bowl: Farewell to a Classic" (Palm Beach Post, November 9, 2007)

"Coffee! Soda! Chocolate! Call Us Caf-Fiends" (Tampa Bay is the 2nd most caffienated metro area in US, Tampa Tribune, November 8, 2007)

"Partiers come home to roost" (Tampa Tribune, November 9, 2007)

"Antique trailer show brings back memories" (News-Press, November 3, 2007)

"Internet mogul breaks ground on commercial launch complex" (Florida Today, November 2, 2007)

"FEMA provides nearly $350,000 to protect Edison & Ford Winter Estates" (Naples Daily News, October 31, 2007)

"Nostalgia inspires landowner to rebuild Cobb's Corner" (Daytona Beach News Journal, November 2, 2007)

"Winding road connects generations" (I-275 widening project uncovers tombstone, St. Petersburg Times, November 2, 2007)

"Historic buildings trumpet their age: More than 300 places can wear a bronze stamp of approval." (St. Petersburg Times, November 7, 2007)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coral Gables Resources

I had a chance to flip through Arva Moore Parks' book George Merrick's Coral Gables "Where Your 'Castles in Spain' Are Made Real!" (Centennial Press, 2006), and it looks like something worth sitting down and reading.

Another interesting book is Coral Gables: Miami Riviera - An Architectural Guide, which has walking tours, maps, and photos.

Speaking of photos, the website Coral Gables Memory has piles of old photographs. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Florida's Architectural Follies

I'm amused and bemused by architectural folles, those outlandish or unusual constructions that step outside the square design box. Different people define architectural follies in different ways -- do these constructions have to be impractical or foolish? Do they have to be expensive or lose money for their builders?

Gwyn Headley, in Architectural Follies in America (John Wiley & Sons, 1996) considers follies as "...structures that are not ordinary buildings but are edifices that transcend the banal, the commonplace, the simply utilitarian. ... Architectural follies transcend barriers of style, time, taste, and nationality. They spring from those most human of emotions: vanity, pride, passion, and obsession." Sounds like something we just might see in Florida.

And, indeed, Headley mentions several follies in this state. In Florida, with exotic images and people seeking to escape from the ordinary, the line between unusual and folly is slim. But here are some of the structures Headley lists, with links to more information or images:

Castle Otttis
Coral Castle
Dragon Point
Solomon's Castle
Venetian Pool

I can think of several others, but do you have any favorite Florida follies?

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Water is Wide

On November 15, 2007, a month-long exhibit and program series begins at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg -- The Water is Wide: The Art of Boat Building (A multi-disciplinary celebration of the rich heritage of boat building on the West Coast of Florida). The event includes boat building demponstrations, model boats, hands-on event for kids, musical performances, and a play by Bob Devin Jones. There will be talks by Olympic sailors, yacht builder Charley Morgan, author Robert Macomber, artist Robert Stackhouse, and more! See the website for a complete schedule of events.