Friday, July 03, 2009

Miscellany, for Surfing on a Rainy Day

10 Most Endangered Roadside Places, from Visual Ephemera

"Hav-A-Tampa Closes Its Factory" St. Petersburg Times, June 24, 2009

"Brunetti Jr., Soth, Testa to Hialeah Posts" Blood-Horse Magazine July 1, 2009 - Hialeah Race Track to open?

Busch Gardens' Hospitality House - 1963, from Electro's Spark

Vintage Busch Gardens, from Visual Ephemera, 1960s brochure for the amusement park

"These old houses keep turning heads" Tampa Tribune June 23, 2009 - Seminole Heights neighborhood in This Old House magazine

"Hit the bricks: a historical street-paving opportunity in Ybor City" Creative Loafing, June 14, 2009

"Tampa Bay World Records," from Sticks of Fire - World's Longest Golf Cart Parade

"The Tampa That Might Have Been," Creative Loafing, May 23, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hindu Temple of Tampa

In the future, will the Hindu Temple of Tampa be a historic landmark?

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) guidelines ask for buildings to be 50 years old before being considered significant. National Register Bulletin 15: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation states "Fity years is a general estimate of the time needed to develop historical perspective and to evaluate significance." OK, I can go along with waiting 50 years before nominating the Hindu Temple of Tampa to the National Register, but I think that as long as it's still standing then, it will make the list.

I say that even though religious properties have to meet additional considerations, considerations designed to avoid the appearance of an endorsement of religion by the federal government. To be considered eligible for the NRHP, a religious property may have outstanding architectural merit, or have cultural significance. The Hindu Temple of Tampa represents the growth of the Hindu community in Florida, following the track that other immigrant groups have experienced in the United States. As permanent populations of Hindu Indians grow in the Florida, and the U.S., the temple is a means by which children may be taught Hindu cultural and religious beliefs and traditions (A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism, by Prema A. Kurien, Rutgers University Press, 2007).

Architecturally, it is unique in Tampa. The earth-toned gopuram (the monumental tower at the temple's entrance) breaks above the tree line; the temple walls are covered with carvings and statuary. A team of ten men from India spent years working on these decorations.

The story of the temple's construction is told in an article from the October 24, 2003, St. Petersburg Times, "The Deities of Lynn Road." Difficulties included finding an appropriate site, and getting zoning permission for a building height of 70 feet.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Edward Heberton

Edward Heberton is buried in the Laurel Grove Cemetery in Waldo, Florida. His marker is a rather plain marble stone: "Rev. Edward P. Heberton of Philadelphia, Pa. Born Aug 13, 1830, Died Aug. 22, 1883." Why was it so important to mention that he was from Philadelphia, and how did he end up so far away from home?

From the Necrological Reports and Annual Proceedings of the Alumni Association of Princeton Theological Seminary (Google Books is really a handy research tool), we learn that Edward Payson Heberton was the son of a minister. he attended college in New Jersey, studying the law, before a 12-year career with the U.S. Coastal Survey and U.S. Navy. Heberton was ordained as a minister after the Civil War, in 1868, serving at churches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Duluth, Minnesota; Columbus, Ohio; and Deerfield, New Jersey. In 1882 he came to Florida as a missionary, became ill, and died in Waldo on August 20, 1883. He was 54 years old, and left behind a wife (Carrie) and five children.

What this biographical sketch doesn't tell us is what he thought of Florida, what it was like for his wife to follow him to a rural frontier. Who chose the tombstone, and why was it so important to mention that he was from Philadelphia?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Laurel Grove Cemetery: Grave Marker Symbolism

Lillies are commonly associated with funerals in the United States - they are said to represent purity, but offer the practical aspect of being strongly scented. In the case of Lillie Martin's marker, the use of lillies may have been in reference to her name, rather than a symbolic gesture. Not only is the marker topped with a large bouquet of stone lillies, but the verse etched on the tombstone refers to the flower:

Lillie M. Kennard devoted wife of B. P. Martin, Sept. 26, 1875 - Oct. 6, 1900 / The angels gather such lillies for God.

Flowers also appear on H.N. Pettit's marker, which has evening primrose etched around the base. According to Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, by Douglas Keister (New York: MJF Books, 2004), the evening primrose represents "eternal love, memory, youth, hope, and sadness."

H.N. Pettit, born at Kaskaskia, Ill. Aug. 29, 1822 died July 13, 1893

Pettit's tombstone also features a hand pointing to the clouds and the bible verse "In my father's house are many mansions," which continues in the King James version: "if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Again according to Stories in Stone, "a hand pointing up is usually an indication that the soul has risen to the heavens."

Urns were popular graveyard symbols in the nineteenth century, even though cremations were out of vogue. The urn symbolizes ashes, and is a classical decorative element.

Thomas M. Cauthen May 4, 1838 - Dec. 6, 1923

Grave markers in the shape of tree stumps are found across the United States, due largely to the Woodmen of the World. Woodmen of the World is a fraternal organization that provided burial insurance and pledged that no Woodman's grave would be left unmarked.

W.V. Paschall Jr. July 26, 1881 - Nov. 16, 1918 Gone But Not Forgotten

Monday, June 29, 2009

Main Street Daytona, More Than a Century Ago

A circa 1895 cyanotype of Main Street Daytona
(photograph courtesy Paul Jones)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Laurel Grove Cemetery - William Gadsden Green

William Gadsden Green
Co K
2 Regt
Fla Inf

This headstone is the type authorized by the federal government in 1930 to be placed on graves of Confederate soldiers, with a pointed top and the Confederate Cross of Honor inscribed above the soldier's name, rank, company, and regiment.

William Green's Confederate pension application (on file at the Florida State Archives) reveals some tidbits about his and his family members' lives. He was born April 7, 1839, in Nassau County, Florida. At the age of 23, on May 16, 1862, he listed in the Confederate Army, serving in Company K, 2nd Regiment, of the Florida Cavalry. Three years and one day later, he was discharged in Baldwin, Duval County, because the war was over. He and his wife Mary raised ten children in Bradford County, Florida. When he grew older, he applied for a pension from the State of Florida, claiming that his service had given him "piles" (hemarrhoids) and rheumatism.

After William's death on December 1, 1918, Mary applied for a Confederate widow's pension; however, she encountered difficulties in proving that she was actually married to William. The Bradford County Courthouse had burned in 1865, destroying the county's records. In her application is a letter from Mary Green, dated February 22, 1919, to the Hon. Ernest Amos, who served as State Comptroller from 1917 until 1933. Included with her letter were five affidavits from people who knew William and Mary Green to be married, along with two pages from the Green family bible recording William's birth and marriage. (Mary Green requested that the bible pages be returned to her, but as the scanned images are online with the rest of the pension application paperwork, this apparently did not happen.)

From these affidavits we also learn about Mary Johns Green, particularly from her cousin M.L. McKinney (their mothers were sisters): "...that the said mother of Mary Johns died while she was an infant and his mother raised Mary Johns, that affiant was five days old at the birth of Mary Johns, that Mary Johns was one of twins and his mother raised all three of them."

The Florida State Archives has scanned approximately 14,000 Confederate pension applications, and made them available online ( While some files have little information, others - such as that of William G. Green - reveal personal histories that might otherwise be unrecorded.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Waldo's Laurel Grove Cemetery

An impulsive right-hand turn down a narrow and flooding side street in Waldo, Florida, led us to the Laurel Grove Cemetery. This country cemetery is modest, peaceful, and eclectic. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, the graves of veterans were decorated with flags. The cemetery is surprisingly large, covering gentle hills and encompasing a pond full of quite vocal frogs. The air was cedar scented.

The Laurel Grove Cemetery dates to 1883, with an expansion in 1897, on land owned by Idella and Samuel J. Kennard. A native of England, Kennard came to the United States in 1847. By 1860, he was a grocer in Waldo, and soon thereafter he served in the Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War. Kennard later was Waldo's postmaster, and his son was mayor. (For a more complete biography of Kennard and the original plat of the cemetery, visit the Laurel Grove Cemetery's webpage).

The cemetery is still in use today, and over the past 125 years, it has accumulated a great variety of grave markers, from elaborate marble statuary and ornate iron fence work, to handmade vernacular concrete memorials.

The Champion Iron Fence Company manufactured this fence.

Hands down, no questions asked, the most curious marker at Laurel Grove Cemetery is a homemade concrete elephant, complete with nails as tusks. This marker, unfortunately, did not include a name that I could see, so I have no way of knowing why an elephant (?!).

One of the most touching markers was also handmade, found on the grave of Caroline Kathleen Larson (October 12, 1949 - December 21, 2005), which reads simply "CAROL My Love."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Caladesi Lookout Tower

From a February trip to Caladesi Island State Park...

"The concrete foundation before you once supported a 60-foot observation tower. The steel structure, donated to the park by the Florida Board of Forestry, was erected by park rangers in 1969. For almost 15 years it served as an observation point for park visitors and staff, offering panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph's Sound. The tower gradually deteriorated in the harsh condition of the island environment and was dismantled in the early 1980s."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

30th Anniversary of the Miami Beach Art Deco Historic District

Today is the 30th anniversary of Miami Beach Architectural Historic District's listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Miami Design Preservation League has planned several events for celebration. For more information, vist their website,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Roux Libraries

Frank Lloyd Wright did not design every building now on the Florida Southern College campus. Nils Schweizer, a Frank Lloyd Wright protege, designed the college's current library. The E. T. Roux Library faces the Waterdome, and has some stylistic elements in common with the surrounding Wright buildings, such as the trim and horizontal lines.

My FLW pilgrimage last month was spontaneous, absolutely without planning. We were on our way to St. Augustine for a spring break vacation and took a spur-of-the-moment right-hand turn at Lakeland. So after wandering around looking for the campus, then wandering around the campus looking for buildings of a certain appearance, we stumbled upon a parking lot by the chapels. From there, the Waterdome was pretty obvious, but the building behind it, I thought at first might be a Frank Lloyd Wright building, but then again.... So we went in and asked the student at the circulation desk, "Is this one of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings?" "Huh?" Okay... good thing there was a stack of brochures and maps right there with a walking tour of the FLW buildings on campus. Thank you very much, and off we go.

Now, we still did not know that the library was by the above mentioned Nils Schweizer and that he had studied at Taliesin before coming to Lakeland and working on the Child of the Sun campus construction. Later, I learned that the Roux Library was finished in 1968, and that Schweizer had a successful career as an architect in Florida. The Nils M. Schweizer Fellows is a non-profit organization working to preserve mid-century modern architecture in Central Florida.

On the side of the Roux Library is the new Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr. Archives Center, designed by Straughn Trout Architects and dedicated in February of 2009. Although obviously a 21st century design (click here for photographs), the archives builidng uses elements of the surrounding Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, such as the tapestry block, the rectangular cut-outs in the overhangs, and the round shape of the original E. T. Roux Library.

The original E. T. Roux Library? Oh yes, the one built by Frank Lloyd Wright. What was the campus library is now the Thad Buckner Building, and houses the Child of the Sun Visitor Center. Which is where if I had planned my trip, and had the visitor center been opened, I could have visited the gift shop and learned more about the very buildings I was there to see. The Buckner building was built during World War II - the students provided the construction labor, including the co-eds. It's interesting to compare photographs of construction of the Buckner Building with photographs of construction of the McKay Archives building, with their circular shapes.

(The windows are quite unusual.)

And who was this E.T. Roux fellow? Edwin Timanus Roux was a Florida banker and businessman who was on the board for the college's early years. Before Florida Southern College came to Lakeland, an earlier campus burned. Roux helped the college find a temporary home in Clearwater Beach while new facilities were built on Lake Hollingsworth in 1922 (A Guide to Historic Lakeland by Steve Rajtar, The History Press, 2007).


Other buildings by Nils Schweizer

Monday, May 11, 2009

Polk County Science Building

From the Pfeiffer Chapel, I could see the Polk County Science Building. This is really several large, low, horizontal buildings connected by covered esplanades. The dome at the end is the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed planetarium to be actually built. The ventilation system on the roof was added during recent renovations. The book The Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College has a photograph taken from a similar perspective (page 112) when the Polk Science building was under construction in the 1950s.

This was the last of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings built on the Florida Southern College campus. It was built partly below grade, which caused problems with leakage and drainage (not an uncommon problem with Frank Lloyd Wright buildings...).

Walkway at Polk Science with aluminum-clad supports

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright's Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

It's shameful. I've been living in Florida, studying its history and architecture for years and years and it wasn't until last month that I finally visited Florida Southern College's campus in Lakeland with its grand collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.

The photograph above is of the William Danforth Chapel (front) and the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. The original campus was in an orange grove on this hill overlooking Lake Hollingsworth, but the trees are gone now. Too bad, because the campus was glaring and hot even in April, especially with the concrete block buildings.

The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was the first of Wright's buildings to be constructed at Florida Southern College. At its dedication, Annie Pfeiffer (wife of the founder of Pfeiffer Chemical Company) reportedly said, "They say it is finished," perhaps in reference to the metal bars forming a spire or steeple. Sometimes the chapel is referred to as "the bicycle rack."

FSC students provided labor for the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on campus, including this chapel. Natural light inside the chapel comes primarily from the large skylight above. The walls are made of a special concrete block called tapestry block. The tapestry blocks have small squares of colored glass embedded in them, creating moving spots of red, blue, and amber on a sunny day.

The book Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College (Arcadia 2007) contains fascinating photographs of the chapel's construction and traces some of the changes in the building's interior and exterior over the years. Some of the major changes came after a 1944 hurricane shattered the skylight and parts of the building collapsed. During reconstruction the tapestry blocks above the first floor were stuccoed on the exterior to make them more weather proof.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Muffler Man Sighting in Zephyrhills

Highway giants are larger than life men, dinosaurs, elephants, large statues placed by the roadside to attract tourists and customers. Such giants are found across the nation, not just in Florida, but their fanstasical nature is well suited to our state.

Muffler men date to the 1960s and 1970s, and were large statues of men holding mufflers meant to advertise a muffler or auto repair shop. In Roadside Giants (Stackpole Books 2005), authors Brian and Sarah Butko explain that most muffler men were built by Prewitt Fiberglass of Venice, California. Later known as International Fiberglass, the company made unusually large statues of humans and animals up into the 1970s. Owners, particularly new owners, often give their muffler men new clothes and new items to hold, depending what is to be advertised.

The muffler man at Muffler City on Highway 301 in Zephyrhills is fairly traditional in his appearance and choice of accessory, a wrench. This shop has an example of another type of muffler man as well, the kind made out of old car parts - there he is, leaning against the sign post. Give him a wave next time you're passing by!

Florida Muffler Men

National Muffler Man Tracking Chart and Map

Roadside America's Muffler Man Homepage

Visual Ephemera - Roadside Giants Found!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Hong Kong Willie

On the corner of Fletcher Avenue and Morris Bridge Road in Tampa is possibly the largest collection of styrofoam buoys I've ever seen unattacted to a fishing fleet. This is Hong Kong Willie. Surrounded by an interstate highway, a corporate business park, and national chain hotels, the orange helicopter on a flat-bed truck festooned with a web of fairy lights does catch the eye. The Hong Kong Willie blog has links to interviews and news stories outling the Hong Kong Willie philosophy of reuse, and tracing the evolution from bait shop to art studio.

Hong Kong Willie Preservation Art Group (audio / slide show from WUSF)


Added May 2, 2009

My husband took an unblurry photo of the helicopter, so I've added it here:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Most Endangered Historic Sites - Miami Marine Stadium

Today the National Trust for Historic Preservation released their 2009 list of the Most Endangered Historic Sites in the United States. On the list is Miami Marine Stadium. To learn more about the stadium, or to help preserve this landmark, visit the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium's website,

Should we Floridians be proud or ashamed that Florida landmarks make this list so often? In 2008, it was Vizcaya and Bonnet House. In 2007, it was Hialeah Park Race Course. We skipped 2006, but there was the Belleview Biltmore Hotel in 2005.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Old Spanish Trail's Zero Marker

The Old Spanish Trail is not really Spanish, nor is it particularly old, at least for St. Augustine. The "trail" began in 1915 as a transcontinental highway for automobiles, connecting St. Augustine in the east to San Diego in the west. The Old Spanish Trail Association began in Mobile, Alabama, where they saw the commercial benefit of having an east/west highway connecting the new north/south Jackson and Dixie highways. Thus, the Old Spanish Trail began in a city known for its French heritage.

These new highways brought automotive tourists and their money to the communities along the roadways. During World War I, advocates of the Old Spanish Trail (and other national highways) promoted its importance as a military road, vital for national security and defense, anticipating Eisenhower's Interstate Highway system by several decades. In the 1920s, Harral B. Ayres, the Old Spainish Trail Association's director, encouraged the notion that the highway followed old Spanish roads, using the romance of the past to promote tourism.

The terrain the highway was to cover in the southeastern United States hampered construction - bridges were needed over the many rivers and swamps of the coastal South. The Old Spanish Trail was not completed until 1929, an event marked by a three-day celebration in St. Augustine, and the dedication of this commemorative marker (which since has been moved twice).

Each year, on the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May, Crestview, Florida, holds the Old Spanish Trail Festival. This year will be the event's 53rd anniversary, and is only 11 days from now!


The Story of the Old Spanish Trail, by Harral B. Ayres (Old Spanish Trail Centennial)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome to the Waterdome Redux

I finally had a chance to see the Waterdome at Florida Southern College in action, nearly a year and a half after its rebirth! It was bluer and smaller than I expected, although a nearby sign detailed a schedule of when the fountain is off, at partial power, and full blast. We were there on a Saturday afternoon -- at least half the people we saw were like us - wandering around staring at the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Even though it has been a cool spring season, there's enough concrete and metal on that part of the campus to make a water feature like the fountain a welcome sight.

Welcome to the Waterdome (October 2007)

Frank Lloyd Wright Water Dome / Florida Southern College

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House in St. Augustine

Here is the Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House at 52 St. George Street in St. Augustine. The first rooms of this house were built sometime around 1760 or 1761. In 1761 it was the home of a former member of the Spanish garrison, a Galician named Fernando Rodriguez. When he died in 1762, Antonia de Avero inherited the property. Over the years, the house passed from one owner to another - some British, some Spanish, some members of the Avero family, some not. Between 1791 and 1802, Juan Sanchez built the two-story coquina-block portion of the house that fronts onto St. George Street today.

The National Park Service's Historic American Building Survey documented the Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House in the 1960s, providing a detailed history of the house and a description of the building. The HABS documentation includes 1960 photographs of the house before its restoration as well as 1965 "after" images.

The 1965 images of the Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House were taken by Jack Boucher, whose career as a photographer for the Historic American Building Survey is featured in the Spring 2009 issue of Common Ground. Common Ground is a free publication of the National Park Service.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cat Statue

Back in 1991, I visited Key West for the first time, and one highlight of the trip was the Hemingway House. The tour guide casually pointed out a ceramic statue sitting on top of a cabinet, a gift from from Pablo Picasso to Ernest Hemingway. Years later I heard that the statue had been stolen, which honestly wasn't surprising considering it was a cool Picasso statue just sitting on a cabinet in a house.

Years later, while going through boxes of old photos (oh, the pre-digital days), we came across this picture from that 1991 trip. According to the Hemingway House museum's website, the cat was found in a box in the 1970s, and Hemingway's wife said that it was a gift from Picasso to Hemingway. The two men had become friends when living in Paris in the 1920s. The statue was stolen during or shortly after a house tour in November 2000, and recovered a month later when the thief tried to use it as a deposit for a small boat. Unfortunately, the statue was badly damaged. The statue now on display in the house museum is a replica.

(Sources included the Hemingway House website, the Dec. 11, 2000 Miami Herald, and the Jan. 26, 2001 Palm Beach Post)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Florida Fresh Market

Primed by promises of fresh, local produce, I visited a local fresh market this week for the first time in a long while. I surmised that since a lot of vegetables are grown in Florida, that a fresh market in Florida would have little room for foreign fruit. So I was disappointed to see Chilean grapes and California avocados.

I acknowledge my hypocrisy in expecting local produce in Florida, a state whose vast agricultural economy is based on selling to people who live elsewhere. For centuries, Florida farmers have made their livings by selling oranges and green beans and strawberries to people far, far away. Pioneering farmers loaded citrus onto steamboats and trains so that hotels in New York City might serve sectioned fruit to their guests. Thousands of men were lured to Florida by the promise of a better life as a gentleman farmer, with ten acres in the country and a house in town.

Indeed, there were several local products available at the Oldsmar Fresh Market that I do not see at my local Publix or Wal-Mart Supercenter. There were fresh breads from a local bakery, fresh Gulf seafood, and honey from local bees. Of course there were Florida strawberries, and Ruskin tomatoes. There was a table of Florida citrus, and not the shiny perfect fruit that gets mailed away in gift baskets, but the duller, lumpier fruit Floridians keep for themselves because it tastes so good. Here were the Florida grapefruit, the Temple orange, and the Honey Murcott. The Temple and the Honey Murcott oranges are both tangors, crosses between tangerines and sweet oranges. The Temple orange gave its name to the city of Temple Terrace, where larges groves of the fruit once grew. The Honey Murcott orange is named after Charles Murcott Smith who first planted groves of this variety nearby in Pinellas County.

"Home cooking: Surviving for a week on locally grown food" (St. Petersburg Times, October 24, 2008)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kate DiCamillo

Today is author Kate DiCamillo's birthday (Happy Birthday!). Although her more recent books - The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux, the Mercy Watson series, and the forthcoming The Magician's Elephant - don't offer much proof of it, she is a Florida writer.

Born in the north, Kate experienced poor health as a child. Her doctor recommended the time-honored cure of moving to Florida, and she came to Clermont with her mother and brother. Her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie, is set in North Florida, although I've pondered whether the setting is integral to the plot. I think the story could be set elsewhere in the South just as easily. On her website, however, DiCamillo writes that the story arose at least in part from her homesickness for Florida during a cold Minnesota winter. Nor is her second book, The Tiger Rising, particularly dependent on its Florida setting for meaning. It does, however, incorporate the timeless Florida theme of new beginnings and second chances.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hiram Hampton, Pistol Packing Doctor

(Florida State Archives)

Dr. Hiram J. Hampton owned and operated the Tampa Heights Sanitarium in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, advertising his services "for the cure of CANCER, RUPTURE, SCROFULA and Kindred DISEASES, and all cases requiring SURGICAL ATTENTION. No Mercury Used In This Institution. Tape Worm Positively Removed." His wife Emma at times assisted as his nurse. The 1903 Transactions of the National Eclectic Medical Association of the United States recognize Dr. Hampton as member of the Eclectic Medical Examiming Board for Florida.

In Tampa today, Dr. Hampton is most widely known for the unique character of his and Emma's grave sites in Woodlawn Cemetery. The crypts are topped with at least life size seated statues of the couple, and local lore oft repeats the story that the Hamptons' backs are turned deliberately to the city.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My, How You've Changed...

Tucked away on a side street off Ybor's Seventh Avenue is a white building with distinctive, large windows.

It's obviously old,
and looks like it might have been a church,
but now it's a nightclub.

Here are links to photographs of the building when it was the Clark Memorial Baptist Church and Baptist Goodwill Center -- back when it was much taller!

1947 Burgert Brothers photograph (church entrance)

1947 Burgert Brothers photograph (church with children in front)

Burgert Brothers photograph showing the side of the church as well (click on thumbnail image for larger view)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Showmen's Rest Cemetery - Tampa

In the far corner of Tampa's Woodlawn Cemetery lies the Showmen's Rest Cemetery, dedicated to circus, carnival, and outdoor amusement workers. Some of the more famous people interred here include Edmondo "Papa" Zacchini (Human Canonball), Carl J. Sedlmayr (Royal American Shows), and Grady Stiles (Lobster Boy).

Despite living lives of flair and flourish, the Showmen's Rest is rather calm and traditional. Founded in 1952 by the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Greater Tampa Showmen's Association, the cemetery was built in a modern style for that time. It is a memorial park bordered by a sandstone wall, with individual grave marked by small rectangular slabs. A garden mausoleum stands in the southern portion of the cemetery (for more about cemetery styles, read David Charles Sloan's The Last Great Necessity). The cemetery is indeed a peaceful place for showmen to rest.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

This weekend was the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, in the fishing community of Cortez, of course. Lots of people, lots of seafood, some music, some art, and a nice time. We had peel-and-eat shrimp down on the fish house docks, while watching the pelicans, seagulls, and egrets stir up a ruckus. MoJo (Morris Johnson)'s paintings made me smile. He's a clam farmer and a folk artist, and with that combination, I suspect a sense of humor comes in handy.

Here is the 1912 Cortez Rural Graded Schoolhouse, once used as a school, then as an art school, and as the home and studio of weaver Robert Sailors. In 1999, Manatee County purchased the school, and recently renovations were completed. It is now the home of the Florida Maritime Museum.

Here's a boat used by Cuban refugees to cross the Straits of Florida. It's been fixed up by the craftsmen at the museum's boat works- you can see a "before" picture on their website.

The festival is a great time to visit Cortez, but then, any day is. Stop by sometime and visit the museum, learn how to make a wooden boat, have lunch at the docks, and take some fresh seafood home for dinner.