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1  Florida Folklorist Peggy Bulger

2. Joseph Marshall Papers from American Revolution

3. Windover Archaeological Dig Textiles


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  1. THOMAS PLUCKHAHN ON CRYSTAL RIVER ARCHAEOLOGY
  2. V.C. SQUIER FLORIDA PHOTO ALBUM
  3. THE HISTORY OF DELEON SPRINGS

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  1. 501ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE NAMING OF FLORIDA
  2. 450TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FRENCH IN FLORIDA
  3. ROLLINS COLLEGE PROFESSORS START BLACK MT. COLLEGE

 


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  1. MARTIN DYKMAN ON RUBIN ASKEW AND FLORIDA POLITICS
  2. PANORAMIC FLORIDA PHOTOGRAPHS
  3. THE WPA GUIDE TO FLORIDA

 


29:00 minutes (26.55 MB)

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  1. UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGIST CHUCK MEIDE
  2. HISTORIC FLORIDA NEWSPAPERS
  3. FLORIDA VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE

29:00 minutes (26.55 MB)

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  1. FLORIDA HISTORICAL SOCIETY ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE (FHSAI)
  2. MOSQUITO BEATERS 2014
  3. REMEMBERING VOLUSIA COUNTY HISTORIAN HAROLD CARDWELL

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Florida Frontiers - How did Orlando Get its Name?

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Florida Frontiers “How did Orlando get its name?”
Ben Brotemarkle

In his play “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Juliet’s argument was that it doesn’t really matter what people, places, or things are called; it’s what they are that is important.

Pioneers living in Central Florida in 1845 would disagree. When Florida became a state that year, the name Mosquito County was changed to Orange County. Although there were more mosquitos in the area than oranges, residents and politicians felt that the new name was much more attractive.

In 1842, a Georgia man named Aaron Jernigan established a very successful farm in the area. The small community took the name Jernigan in honor of the prosperous family.

The first post office in Jernigan opened in 1850. Seven years later, the name of the community was changed to Orlando.  In 1875, the twenty-nine residents of Orlando incorporated their municipality.

How did Orlando get its name? There are several interesting theories.

Many Florida towns, including Orlando, were built around forts constructed in the 1830s during the Seminole Indian Wars. The United States government strategically placed these forts about a day’s walk apart to protect groups of marching soldiers from attacks at night.

Orlando grew around the site of Fort Gatlin. Other Florida towns such as Fort Pierce, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers retain their Seminole Indian War fort names.

Florida Frontiers - The Novel 'Reparation' by Ruth Rodgers

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Florida Frontiers “The Novel ‘Reparation’ by Ruth Rodgers”
Ben Brotemarkle

As innocent four-year-old girls in the late 1940s, Katie, who is white, and Delia, an African-American, become best friends despite societal pressures against them. In 1960, when the girls are 16, Kate abandons her childhood friend when she is needed most. In 2006, Kate is working to earn Delia’s forgiveness as danger surrounds the women’s reunion.

That’s the premise of the new novel “Reparation” by Titusville author Ruth Rodgers. Although the exciting and suspenseful book is not based on specific actual events, it does reflect reality in Florida from the 1940s to the present.

Ruth Rodgers is a native Floridian, raised on a farm in Madison County. She grew up in rural north Florida in the 1950s and ‘60s, when schools, theaters, restaurants, and other public accommodations were racially segregated. Rodgers says that black families and white families worked side by side in the tobacco fields, but that’s where the interaction ended.

“We worked with black people, but we never socialized with them,” Rodgers says. “It was very much frowned upon.”

The novel “Reparation” is written from the first-person perspective of Kate as she flashes back through her childhood relationship with Delia. The reader sees Kate’s convictions about racial equality strengthen over time. Rodgers is the same age as her main character Kate, and shares other traits with her. Both believed in racial equality, but were not outspoken about their views in the 1960s.

Florida Frontiers - Central Florida Pioneer Henry A. Deland

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Florida Frontiers - Central Florida Pioneer Henry A. Deland
Ben Brotemarkle

In 1876, businessman Henry A. DeLand left his home in Fairport, New York, to visit his sister and brother-in-law in east central Florida. DeLand’s relatives, Mr. and Mrs. O.P. Terry, had created a rural homestead in west Volusia County.

Henry DeLand left New York on a train to Jacksonville. From there he took a steamboat down the St. Johns River to Enterprise. A horse and buggy carried him the rest of the way to the Terry’s isolated home. DeLand was so impressed with the beauty and climate of the area that he decided to start a town there.

Using the fortune he had accumulated from manufacturing baking soda in New York, DeLand purchased large tracks of land near the Terry homestead. The area was called Persimmon Hollow, but when the scattered settlers heard about DeLand’s plans to establish a town, they voted to name it after him. To entice others to settle in his new town, DeLand made a generous offer.

Henry DeLand told people that if they moved to his town and decided that they were unhappy there, he would buy back the land that he sold to them.

Families started moving to the town of DeLand, most growing citrus or other crops. Henry DeLand nicknamed his town “The Athens of Florida,” and worked to foster cultural, religious, and educational opportunities for residents.

The town prospered quickly. DeLand built a public school that also served as the meeting hall for churches, until each denomination could build their own houses of worship. He brought in entertainers and sponsored special events. In 1883, a college called the DeLand Academy was established.

Florida Frontiers - A History of Spring Break in Florida

Florida Today 10
Florida Frontiers “A History of Spring Break in Florida”
Ben Brotemarkle

Spring has always been thought of as a period of renewal and rebirth. The season also has long been associated with revelry and excess. In the spring, ancient Greeks worshiped Dionysus, the god of wine. At the same time of year the Romans venerated Bacchus, their god of wine. Other pre-Christian pagan fertility rites evolved into contemporary May Day celebrations.

Since the mid-twentieth century, students in their late teens and early twenties have celebrated the ritual of Spring Break as a modern day Dionysian festival or Bacchanal, and the most popular setting for their pilgrimage has traditionally been Florida.

Historically, three of the top five Spring Break destinations in the United States are in Florida. Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, and Panama City Beach make the list along with Lake Havana City, Arizona and South Padre Island, Texas.

In recent decades, Cocoa Beach, Fort Myers, and Tampa-St. Petersburg have also become very popular sites for Spring Break activities.

Spring Break as we know it today was created in Fort Lauderdale. As early as the mid-1930s, college swim teams gathered in Fort Lauderdale to use the first Olympic-sized pool in Florida, the Casino Pool. When the participating swimmers weren’t training at the pool they were partying on the beach, and a tradition was born. After World War II, other college students caught on to how much fun the swimmers were having in Fort Lauderdale and started joining them there for Spring Break.

Florida Frontiers - Weona Cleveland

Florida Today 9
Florida Frontiers “Weona Cleveland”
Ben Brotemarkle

This is not the first column about Florida history and culture to appear in Florida Today. Many longtime residents of east central Florida remember fondly the articles of Weona Cleveland. For more than forty years, Weona Cleveland has written about the people, places, events, and even the plants that make our area unique and have brought us to where we are today.

Weona Cleveland’s articles first appeared in the Melbourne Times in the 1970s, and later in this newspaper. Her reflections on local history as told through the eyes of everyday people earned her a dedicated following of readers.

Some of Weona Cleveland’s best newspaper articles from the past three decades are collected in the new book Mosquito Soup, published by the Florida Historical Society Press. Publication of the book was made possible by the Kellsberger Fund of the South Brevard Historical Society.

Weona Cleveland will be signing copies of her new book Mosquito Soup, Saturday, March 29, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, at the Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens, 1320 Highland Avenue, in Eau Gallie.

Like most Floridians, Weona Cleveland came here from somewhere else. Born in 1925, she moved to Melbourne, Florida, from Atlanta, Georgia, in 1961. The following decade she started writing for local newspapers. Her previous books and booklets include Melbourne: A Century of Memories (1980), Crossroad Towns Remembered: A Look Back at Brevard and Indian River Pioneer Communities (1994), and A Historical Tour of Melbourne (1999).

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