Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

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Friday Finds February 26, 2010

Experience the Florida Everglades at Billie Swamp Safari– Learn about traditional Seminole life. Take an air boat ride or swamp buggy tour. All at Billie Swamp Safari located in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. There is also hiking, camping and various shows.

Tomoka State Park– Located near the confluence of the Tomoka and Halifax rivers, Tomoka State Park offers scenic oaks and camping where early native Americans once lived off the fish-filled lagoons. Camping, canoeing, fishing, boating, picnicking and nature trails are available. Swimming is not permitted in the rivers within this park. A museum and visitor center houses exhibits on natural and cultural history and various works by artist Fred Dana Marsh.

Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City March 4-14– It’s the 75th Anniversary of Florida Strawberry Festival.  There is free entertainment included with gate admission, such as numerous stage shows, exhibits of agriculture, horticulture, commerce, fine arts, homemade goods and crafts, and livestock competitions.

The Floridians– A free online textbook about the social history of Florida. It is an interactive Florida history text book with photographs, maps, sample questions, and workbook pages. It may be used as part of a history course or as a popular reference to the story of Florida. A possible resource for teachers and homeschoolers.

The Florida Keys History of Diving Museum– Florida is a peninsula so diving is a large part of our history and culture. Stop by Islamodara, Florida Keys to learn about the history of commercial, military, and recreational diving.

History of Pasco County, Florida– Learn about the history of Pasco County, Florida. It includes photographs and video clips.

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Friday Finds February 19, 2010

Florida Highwaymen Art– Want to learn more about the Highwaymen and their art. Would you like to buy an original painting. This is the site for you.

Florida Nature Photography– Florida’s nature is beautiful and unique. If you love photographs portraying nature check out this site. They have photographs of landscapes, insects, bugs, birds, mammals, and plants.

The South Florida Watershed Journal– A blog that is your passport into the water cycle ~~~ Paddle around the Big Cypress Swamp, Everglades, Lake Okeechobee (and more) ~~~ Through the eyes of a hydrologist. A different look at Florida nature.

Continuing with the nature theme

Law Suit Filed Over Florida Panther Habitat– Five conservation groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in Federal District Court in Fort Myers, Florida against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its failure to protect the Florida panther.

Mother Nature Kills Florida Fish– A blog post from Suwannee Refugee showing a map of reported fish kills for January 2010

To end on a positive note

Piney Flatwoods Girl– A blog about the celebration of the north Florida piney flat woods. Beautiful photos of Florida wildlife.

 

Living History with Food – Key Lime Pie February 17, 2010

Basket of Key Limes

In order to avoid infringing on copyright and having gourmetsleuth contact me and say please remove our recipe from your blog. Which I’ve had happen with other information on another blog I used to write. I’m going to leave links to different Key Lime Pie recipes. So you’ll have to go directly to the site to get the recipe.

Gourmet Sleuth Key Lime Pie

Kermit’s Key Lime Pie

Anniversary Key Lime from Mel Goes Mennonite

Key Lime Pie VII from Allrecipes.com

So what makes key limes and key lime pie special to Florida? According to Kermit from Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe Key Limes only grow well in a small number of zones and the Keys are one of those places. Key Lime trees grow all over the Keys and at least one is in almost every yard. As Key Limes grow they start out green and turn yellow as they ripen.

Egg yolks are used to make Key Lime Pie so instead of a soft pudding texture you’ll end up with a custard consistency instead. The yellow Key Limes and the egg yolks give Key Lime Pie it’s yellow color so if the pie is green you know it’s not a key lime pie. Also when making Key Lime pie make sure to use actual Key Limes. They are more acidic and bitter than regular limes and will give your pie a more tart taste than regular green limes.

Condensed milk is used because when Key West was founded fresh milk was difficult to acquire being that the only way at the time to reach Key West or any of the other keys was by boat until railroad was built and after that the seven mile bridge, also known as the Overseas Highway.

Enjoy your pie and if you ever visit Key West remember to have a piece of pie while watching the Sunset at Mallory Square.

Slice of Key Lime Pie

 

Friday Finds February 12, 2010

1. Florida Cracker/Pineywoods– A short article about Florida cattle.

2. Cracker Farmhouses, 1840-1920– Read a short history of house architecture before there was air conditioning. This site contains links if you want to read further about Cracker Farmhouse architecture.

3. Curs and Catahoula Leopards, the Cow-Hog Dogs– Read about the dogs that helped Florida cattlemen round up feral cattle.

4. Florida Highwaymen: Local Art makes Art History– Denied access to public galleries and museums in the 1950s and 1960s these self-taught African-American artists known as the Highwaymen sold their art to travelers on the state highways. Their art is now considered a Florida treasure.

5. Seminole Tribe of Florida – History– Read about the history of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The only Native Americans who never surrendered to the United States government. This page is part of a larger website built by the Seminole tribe of Florida.

6. Florida Everglades– Learn more about this unique ecology only found in Florida. Learn about the history, ecology and geography.

 

The Celestial Railroad of Jupiter and Lake Worth February 6, 2010

This railroad connected Jupiter and Juno a distance of only 7.5 miles

According to Allen Morris in his book, Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs, the Celestial railroad served the cities of Galaxy, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Juno and was in operation from 1889-1895. At only seven and a half miles long it was the smallest railroad in the world. It was a narrow gauge railroad at only eight feet wide. It serviced a population of 861 residents and 134 Indians and linked steamboat landings on the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. Due to the names of the cities the railway service it was soon dubbed by passengers the Celestial Railroad and replaced the original name, Jupiter and Lake Worth Railroad. It was sold at public auction in 1896. It eventually fell out of use and all that is left now according to Jupiter Kids History are some railroad spikes left in the sand dunes of Jupiter and Juno.

Nearly 100 residents showed up for the grand opening and given a free train ride from Jupiter to Juno which took a half-hour. Once the train reached Juno it had to go backwards the whole seven and a half miles since there was no way for it turn around. It enjoyed six years of service hauling freight and passengers.

According to William G. Crawford, Jr. who wrote, Florida’s Big Dig: The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami 1881-1935, when Flagler decided to build the Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach County he used the Celestial railroad to haul his building materials and other freight. When Flagler tried to buy the railroad the owners set the asking price so high that eventually he bypassed the railroad by building a bridge across the Loxahatchee River. This led to the railroad’s end in 1895 and was sold at public auction in Jacksonville.