Florida Frontiers Articles

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Florida Frontiers: The Weekly Newspaper Articles of the Florida Historical Society is a weekly newspaper article covering history-based events, exhibitions, activities, places and people in Florida. The newspaper articles premiered in January 2014. We explore the relevance of Florida history to contemporary society and promote awareness of heritage and culture tourism options in the state.

Texans are dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. Powerful hurricanes have impacted Floridians on multiple occasions.

The hurricane of 1928 was particularly devastating to residents of south Florida.

“When you talk about Florida, you have to talk about hurricanes,” says Eliot Kleinberg, author of the book “Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928.”

Kleinberg first heard about the hurricane of 1928 while working as a reporter for the Palm Beach Post. “In 1988, for the sixtieth anniversary of the storm, I was sent out to Belle Glade to cover a commemorative event. The more I tal... click title or here for the full article

The life of a soldier who fought in Florida during the Second Seminole War is chronicled in detail in the new book “The Army is My Calling: The Life and Writings of Major John Rogers Vinton, 1801-1847,” by John and Mary Lou Missall.

The married co-authors are best known for their first book, “The Seminole Wars: America’s Longest Indian Conflict.”

“I got interested in it while I was working on my Master’s degree through California State University,” says Mary Lou Missall. “I wanted to do my thesis on some aspect of Florida history.”

Realizing that there was a lack of scholarship on the... click title or here for the full article

About 1,000 years ago, agricultural communities were established in what would become the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, and the Mississippian culture flourished.

Keith Ashley is an archaeologist and research coordinator at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Ashley’s research is demonstrating a link between Native Floridians and the thriving Mississippian culture.

Ashley and his research are featured in the latest episode of the television series “Florida Frontiers,” airing this month on PBS affiliates throughout the state. The program is also available online at myfloridahistory.org.

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Before the annual presentation of “Mosquitos, Alligators, and Determination” begins, Lady Gail Ryan engages audience members, finding out where they are from and leading them in a high spirited “sing along” of Florida songs including “Where the Orange Blossoms Grow” and “She’ll Be Comin’ Down the Shell Road.”

“Come early,” Ryan says. “The pre-program begins the minute the audience arrives. Music will help tell about historical events with songs the audience can sing.”

The tenth annual production of “Mosquitos, Alligators, and Determination” will be held this weekend and next, with matinee performances at 2:30 pm, August 5, 6, 12, and 13 a... click title or here for the full article

Beginning Saturday, July 29, the exhibition “Florida Before Statehood” will be on display at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa. The opening event begins at 2pm with a presentation by historian Ben DiBiase, director of educational resources for the Florida Historical Society.

“It covers Florida history from the Ice Age to the modern day,” says Madeline Calise, museum manager at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science. “We take a look at Spanish exploration, early settlers and their challenges, the mission period of Florida, the British period, and a little bit about all the flags that Florida has flown under and the impacts that those di... click title or here for the full article

A visit to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in the rural community of Cross Creek is like a trip back in time to the 1930s. The home there is furnished just as Rawlings had it when she was writing her Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Yearling,” her autobiography “Cross Creek,” and other works depicting the lives of Florida Crackers.

Rawlings’s typewriter and notes sit on a table on the front porch, along with her ashtray and a pack of Lucky Strikes cigarettes, as if the writer has just gotten up to get a glass of iced tea from the kitchen.

Each room of the house contains furniture and personal items that belonged to Rawli... click title or here for the full article

Renowned Florida photographer Clyde Butcher suffered a stroke on May 6, which affected his speech and coordination on his right side. Butcher’s rehabilitation is going well, and he expects to be back at work in the fall.

The black and white photographs of Clyde Butcher allow us to look at the natural Florida in a different way.

When most people think of Florida’s natural environment, an explosion of color comes to mind. We imagine multiple shades of green in a Florida swamp, bright red Poinciana trees, and the turquoise waters of the Gulf Coast. We picture the oranges, purples, pinks, and blues of the Florida sky.

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Every Fourth of July, Floridians celebrate Independence Day with cookouts, hometown parades, and of course, fireworks as America’s victory over the British in the American Revolution is commemorated.

Not all American colonists supported the war, though. Many remained dedicated to King George III and England. As the American Revolution progressed, these Loyalists became refugees and were forced to flee the colonies.

From 1763 to 1783, Florida remained under British control; so many Loyalists came here from the American colonies to the north.

On December 17, 1782, as the end of the Ameri... click title or here for the full article

The Cross-Gulf Travel Theory proposes the idea that the ancient Maya came to southwest Florida when devastating droughts occurred on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico as early as the ninth century, and that they ended up around Lake Okeechobee.

The Maya may have believed that they were following their god to Florida.

Images of the Oculate Being can be traced in ancient cultures from South America to Mexico. Different cultures separated by distance and time develop a very similar deity who is usually pictured flying, has what art historians call “goggle eyes,” and is associated with agriculture, particularly the growing of corn.

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The Apollo 11 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral on July 16, 1969. Four days later, humans walked on the surface of the moon for the first time.

A team of thousands was required to make that lunar mission a success. Dr. Al Koller was a member of that team, working in the Firing Room.

“I served as the remote eyes for the top management of NASA and the stage contractors for the operations at the launch pad three miles away,” says Koller. “We did that using sixty-one video cameras, all black and white, mounted on the pad service and at all key levels of the 363 foot-tall launch tower. My job was to direct the camera crew by selecting the right cameras to keep track of the key technical work underway and to provide the best possible video views of any troubleshooting taki... click title or here for the full article