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.

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

Funeral services were held for Florida historian Michael Gannon on Saturday, May 6, at St. Augustine’s Church in Gainesville. He died on Monday, April 10, at the age of 89.

Dr. Gannon was author or editor of 10 books, including “The Cross in the Sand” from 1965. It that book, Gannon demonstrated how the “real” first Thanksgiving happened in St. Augustine in 1565, decades before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

A longtime professor of history at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Dr. Gannon taught several generations of Florida historians who are working in the state today.

Gannon was formerly a Catholic priest, and was working in St. Augustine in the early 1960s, as the town was preparing to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of America’s... click title or here for the full article

More than three decades before SeaWorld opened in Orlando in 1973, Marineland of Florida was a major tourist attraction, hosting as many as 900,000 visitors annually.

Located between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Marineland started out as Marine Studios. Business partners W. Douglas Burden, Sherman Pratt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and Ilya Tolstoy (grandson of Leo Tolstoy) envisioned a venue for filming underwater sequences for movies, but quickly realized the potential of the facility as a tourist destination.

“Marineland illustrated the connection between nature and spectacle,” says Florida historian Gary Mormino, author of the book Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida. “They originally conceived as Marine Studios as a motion pictu... click title or here for the full article

The phrase “historic preservation” describes a wide range of activities.

The term is most often used in relation to the restoration and maintenance of historic homes and buildings, but it can also be applied when discussing the conservation and storage of old photographs, the recording and sharing of oral histories, or the collection and documentation of artifacts from archaeological sites.

All of these topics and more will be presented during “The Many Faces of Preservation Conference,” to be held Friday, April 28, through Sunday, April 30, at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Titusville. Registration information is available at 321-626-5224 or www.pritchardhouse.com.

“Preservation has many faces,” says historic preservationist and conference organizer Roz Foster.... click title or here for the full article

Surfing has been ingrained into American popular culture since the 1960s. Even people who have never touched a surfboard have been influenced by the music, movies, and philosophy of the surfing community.

Since the mid-twentieth century, Cocoa Beach has been a prominent home for surfing in Florida.

On Friday, April 21, the new temporary exhibition “Surfin’ FLA: Celebrating Surfing in Cocoa Beach and the Sunshine State” will open at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Ave., Cocoa. Tickets are $15 and include a wine and cheese reception from 6pm-8pm, with special guests and admission to the museum. Reservations are available at www.myfloridahistory.org.

“Surfing was in Hawaii for centuries, and then it slowly started to make its way over t... click title or here for the full article

The coquina walls of the Bulow Plantation stand in ruins, and only the foundation of the Mala Compra Plantation remains. Both ruins are remnants from early nineteenth century Florida.

The 150 acre Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park is located three miles west of Flagler Beach. Mala Compra is on North Oceanshore Boulevard in Palm Coast.

In 1821, Charles W. Bulow purchased nearly 5,000 acres of land in what is now Flagler County.

“The Bulow Plantation was one of the largest plantation enterprises in territorial Florida,” says Al Hadeed, local historian and Flagler County attorney. “It was very successful because its major crop was sugar. Sugar was very, very expensive and very prized. Sugar was also used to make rum, so it had a lot of different uses. He was very succe... click title or here for the full article

In the early 1880s, Loring A. Chase and Oliver Chapman bought much of the land that would become Winter Park. Over the next few years a railroad station and several hotels were built, and Winter Park became a popular vacation destination for wealthy northerners.

Rollins College was built in 1885 by the Congregational Church. The college acquired its current emphasis on the liberal arts under the direction of Hamilton Holt, president of Rollins from 1925 through 1949.

Winter Park was incorporated in 1887.

Wealthy benefactors helped contribute to the growth of Winter Park into the twentieth century. Businessman Francis Knowles is remembered in the name of the chapel that is the centerpiece of Rollins College, entrepreneur Franklin Fairbanks has a major road named for... click title or here for the full article

Bob Kealing is probably best recognized in Central Florida as a longtime reporter for WESH Channel 2. He is also the author of four well respected books on Florida history and culture.

Kealing will discuss his new book “Elvis Ignited: The Rise of an Icon in Florida,” on Saturday, April 1, at 2:00 pm, at the Library of Florida History, 435 Brevard Avenue, Cocoa. The free presentation is open to the public.

In his books, Kealing explores the lives of people with strong Florida connections, who each had a significant impact on popular culture.

“Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends” looks at the life of Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac, who was living and working in Florida when his most famous works were published. “Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of... click title or here for the full article

The three block area of downtown Sanford has more than 20 buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the buildings were constructed in the late 1800s, and the newest one was built in 1923. All of the buildings in Sanford’s downtown historic district are remarkably well preserved.

The residential area directly adjacent to downtown Sanford is also designated as an historic district, with many early twentieth century houses listed in the National Register of Historic Homes.

Sanford has a turbulent history dating from the 1830s, with periods of prosperity alternating with prolonged periods of economic hardship.

Like many Florida towns, Sanford was built around a fort constructed during the Second Seminole War. Fort Mellon was constructed at th... click title or here for the full article