Monday, March 31, 2008


The FLGenWeb project has kindly included a link to My Florida History on their website under "Research Links." Thank you!

Their site is a cornucopia of information and links to other information -- browse on through and maybe you'll find answers to questions that bother you so.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Festa Italiana 2008 in Ybor City

Several city blocks in Ybor City are blocked off this weekend for Festa Italiana -- today and tomorrow, everyone in Tampa is Italian! The highlight of today's activities were the bocce ball tournament and the wine judging. Tomorrow thousands more people will crowd into Centennial Park for food, games, and music. (Perhaps a few will wander over to the Ybor City Museum State Park to see the new exhibit, Sicilians in Tampa, sponsored by the Ybor City Museum Society and curated by yours truly.)

Photos below:

1) The bocce tournament in Ybor's Centennial Park, March 29, 2008
2) The City's Fortune Bosco Bocce Courts, near the Centro Ybor parking garage
3) Sign across the street from the Bocce Courts marking the location of Ybor City's first railroad station. This is where many Sicilians began their Florida adventures, stepping from the train platform to sandy Ybor streets.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bridge Videos

A collection of YouTube videos of Florida bridges. Why? No particular reason other than curiousity.

Round Trip Motorcycle Ride over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sanibel Drawbridge's Final Opening

Elevation- Jacksonville Florida Bridge

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Warm Spring Evening

Here's one of the good things about living in Florida -- friends and family come and visit you here. When they do, it's a wonderful excuse to take off after work and have barbeque on the front porch of an old camelback bungalow. And perhaps an after-dinner stroll down the bay shore.

Kojak's on Gandy Boulevard

Downtown Tampa at dusk

All in all, a good way to celebrate the first day of Spring.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Read All About It

Florida news stories:

"Good grief! Owners say downtown comedy club haunted" (Ocala Star-Banner, March 6, 2008): "The ghost goes by the name of Linus...."

"A Saint, A Servant, and A Secret Pact" (Tampa Tribune, March 15, 2008): "The men would buy the food and cook an authentic Italian banquet for the spring fundraiser. They would tackle the whole shebang: pasta with an herb-infused tomato sauce, maybe throw in some anchovies and sardines; whole red snapper or grouper; chopped Swiss chard, pattied and fried; cardoon; fried cauliflower; homemade braided breads; and that crowd favorite, pignolata, fried pastries drizzled in a sweet honey mixture. Ladies from Tampa's tight-knit Italian-American community pitched in."

"In 'Gibtown,' Life Is A Carnival" (Tampa Tribune, March 3, 2008): "The 8-foot-4-inch Al Tomaini was volunteer fire chief. He ran Giant's Place restaurant beside the Alafia River. He was married to a legless woman, Jeanie the Half-Girl, who sold the business after he died. The restaurant closed last year."

"Two riders hope to preserve the heritage of Florida Cracker horses" (Gainesville Sun): "The two men and their Cracker horses Roady and Harvey's Dun Dealin - who are genetically linked to the Spanish horses brought to Florida by explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1539 - still have five more days of riding before making it to Tallahassee."

"NBC Puts Historic Miami Station Up For Sale" (, March 19, 2008): "WTVJ went on the air on Channel 4 59 years ago this week, March 21, 1949, as the first television station in Florida and only the 16th station in the nation. "

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Paddle and Path

From today's mailbox, an announcement --

New Paddle Website:
Paddle and Path is an informative source about exploring Florida's trails and waterways. Conceived by a couple of University of South Florida (St. Petersburg) Florida Studies grad students, Paddle & Path features links to all things kayaking, canoeing, backpacking and outdoor; while at the same time sneaking in a little Florida history.

In Paddle and Path, you can find information on hiking and paddling events statewide, and recommendations of paddling gear and guidebooks. There's also essays and short articles from established and up-and-coming Florida nature writers. I was a grad student along with Nevin and Edward, and I've paddled down some Florida rivers with them, and I'd do it again. I'm excited about their new venture, and hope you will be, too.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Women of the Spanish Main

"Women of the Spanish Main" is a special event hosted by The Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, March 29, 2008, at 7:30 pm, in honor of Women's History Month. For more information, visit their website at

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Old Horse Racing Photos

Borrowing an idea from Railbird, I looked through the Florida Photographic Archives for old racing photos. Some highlights:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

They Grow Up So Fast

The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on Feb. 22. It's wonderful to have Florida-themed stamps -- but too bad this one will be out of date soon when the first class mail rate goes up again. Maybe we can hope for a Florida-themed one-cent stamp to put alongside the yearling?

"Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Gets ‘Stamp of Approval’" Press release from USPS.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Toad Hall

While clearing out and cleaning up the flower beds in honor of Spring, I came across this toad, happily ensconced in his own private home. He politely hopped out of my way, waited a bit, then settled in again.

Here are links to some Florida garden blogs:

Gardening in Central Florida

Hoe and Shovel

Simply Susan!

Wicked Gardener