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.

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.

... click title or here for the full article

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.

... click title or here for the full article

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

When Juan Ponce de León sailed into the mouth of the Miami River in 1513, he encountered a large Tequesta Indian village.

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés attempted to convert the Tequesta to Christianity, establishing a short lived mission at the village in 1567. Another failed mission was established there in 1743. The Spanish could not persuade the Tequesta to abandon their ancient belief system.

The native people of Florida were almost completely wiped out by unfamiliar diseases brought by the Europeans.

“With weakened tribes, the Spanish borders of Florida were fully breached by the English who instigated Creek raids as far south as Key West, enslaving thousands of Indians for the plantations of the Carolinas and Georgia,” says archaeologist Robert S. Carr. “By 1763, w... click title or here for the full article

Today, parking in downtown Cocoa can be at a premium when services or special events are held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

When the church was first built in 1886, many in the congregation would arrive by water, mooring their boats on the banks of the Indian River. It’s just a few steps from the river’s edge to the front door of the church. Others would walk to church from homes along the river.

The first meeting of what would become St. Mark’s Episcopal Church was held on June 2, 1878. The Right Reverend John Freeman Young, Bishop of Florida, and Dr. William H. Carter of Holy Cross Church of Sanford, gathered the founding members of the church at the home of A.L. Hatch in Rockledge. Dr. Carter later moved to Tallahassee, but services continued to be held by various pri... click title or here for the full article

American war veterans and the conflicts they participated in are well represented in the archive at the Library of Florida History in Cocoa.

The Joseph Marshall Papers detail the activities of a Loyalist regiment in St. Augustine during the American Revolution of the 1770s and ‘80s.

The archive houses the East Florida Constitution, created as a result of the United States invasion of Spanish East Florida in 1812, during the Patriot War.

There are dozens of letters and journals from the Seminole Wars of the 1800s, including the journal of Jacob Mott, a U.S. Army Surgeon stationed in Florida.

Numerous Civil War documents from the 1860s include letters from Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and future Florida governor Francis P. Fleming.

The library’s co... click title or here for the full article

Brevard County is home to an impressive list of important archaeological excavations including a unique prehistoric pond cemetery, numerous Indian mounds, paleontological sites, colonial era shipwrecks, and pioneer homesteads.

Since 1953, members of the Indian River Anthropological Society have been participating in the discovery, excavation, and recording of archaeological sites in Brevard County.

“Operating primarily in Brevard County, we have, over the years, also provided services in Volusia, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, and Indian River Counties,” says Bob Gross of the Indian River Anthropological Society. “IRAS provides, at no cost to the Brevard County government and its municipalities, many tasks required by statute under the provisions of the National Historic Prese... click title or here for the full article