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.

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

The third and final presentation in the “Second Saturdays with Stetson Series” is Saturday, March 11, at 2:00 pm, at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa. The free talk, presented in conjunction with the temporary exhibition “Stetson Kennedy’s Multicultural Florida” will feature Kennedy’s widow, author and educator Sandra Parks.

The items on display in the exhibition “Stetson Kennedy’s Multicultural Florida” include artifacts and images reflecting the diverse Florida communities that folklorist, author, and activist Stetson Kennedy documented throughout the state in the 1930s and ‘40s. Kennedy interviewed Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, Latin cigar rollers in Ybor City and Key West, African American turpentine industry workers, Cra... click title or here for the full article

The Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens, 1320 Highland Ave., Eau Gallie, is hosting the presentation “Zora in Brevard,” Saturday, March 4, at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. The $15 ticket includes a discussion about Zora Neale Hurston’s life and work, a portrayal by actress Lila Marie Hicks, and a tour of the Rossetter House. Reservations are available at 321-254-9855.

On July 9, 1951, writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston wrote in a letter to literary agent Jean Parker Waterbury: “Somehow, this one spot on earth feels like home to me. I have always intended to come back here. That is why I am doing so much to make a go of it.”

It would be natural to assume that Hurston was writing about her adopted hometow... click title or here for the full article

There is a road in downtown Orlando called Division Street. It has traditionally been the dividing line between the predominately white community to the east, and the African American community to the west.

As downtown Orlando was established in the late 1800s, a separate but parallel black community emerged. By the early twentieth century, the Parramore neighborhood included several blocks of prosperous black owned businesses including a tailor shop, a theater, and attorney’s offices. There were African American physicians, dentists, photographers, and other professional people. Churches were integral to the community.

In 1929, a prominent black physician named William Monroe Wells opened the Wells’Built Hotel on South Street.

“He came here in 1917 from Fort Gaines... click title or here for the full article

Imagine you are on a boat traveling south along Florida’s east coast. A brief but violent storm hits and your boat sinks. You manage to swim to shore. Exhausted from fighting with the sea and believing you are now safe, you fall asleep on the beach.

When you wake up, you realize your ordeal has just begun.

The hot Florida sun has already burned your skin. You are covered with bites from sand fleas and mosquitoes. You stumble inland to find undeveloped scrubland as far as the eye can see, and no source of fresh water in sight.

It’s the late 1800s, and the entire population of Florida is less than 270,000 people.

Luckily for you, one of those people is the keeper of a remote House of Refuge, and he is patrolling the shoreline nearby. He will find you soon, and... click title or here for the full article

Cultural figures from Florida history including Stetson Kennedy, Zora Neale Hurston, and Harry T. Moore will come to life in a performance by the Young Minds Building Success Readers Theater from Jacksonville.

The original production “Stetson Kennedy Legacy: Man in the Mirror” will be performed at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa, Saturday at 2:00 pm. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Young Minds Building Success Readers Theater is part of a larger effort to provide educational outreach.

“Young Minds Building Success was formed in an endeavor to encourage the individual potential for children and young adults, assist in the needs of families and communities, promote a realistic link between educational ser... click title or here for the full article

The 28th annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities was held January 21-29.

The event was presented by the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, and included a series of presentations called “Communities Conference: Civic Conversations Concerning 21st Century American Life in Communities of Color” in venues at Rollins College and Eatonville.

Elizabeth Van Dyke performed in “Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography” at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, and the ZORA! Golf Tournament was held at Metro West Golf Course. There was a tour of yards and gardens in Historic Eatonville.

The three day Outdoor Festival portion of the event featured vendors selling original arts and crafts, food vendors with fried fish a... click title or here for the full article

Since they were first published in 1591, the engravings of Theodore de Bry have been the most enduring images of Florida natives at the time of European contact.

“The de Bry engravings that were always thought to be based on Jacques le Moyne’s paintings have become the epitome of the best source for what Florida Indians looked like,” says Jerald T. Milanich, one of the most respected historical archaeologists in the state.

For more than four centuries, historians, archaeologists, artists, and the general public have relied upon de Bry’s images to provide information about the clothing, weapons, hair styles, headdresses, jewelry, tattoos, housing, baskets, canoes, cooking methods, and traditions of Florida’s Timucua Indians.

While some of what de Bry depicts in his e... click title or here for the full article

Two people with extensive careers documenting the history and culture of Florida will be in Brevard County this week discussing their new books.

On Friday, January 13, at 7:00 pm, author and archaeologist Jerald T. Milanich will discuss his new book “Handfuls of History: Stories about Florida’s Past” at the Library of Florida History, 435 Brevard Ave., Cocoa Village.

On Saturday, January 14, at 2:00 pm, author and folklorist Peggy A. Bulger will discuss her new book “Stetson Kennedy: Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy” at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Ave., Cocoa.

Dr. Jerald T. Milanich is Curator Emeritus of Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, a... click title or here for the full article