Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

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A Florida Enchantment – The first homosexual movie July 1, 2011

First it was a novel written in 1891 by Fergus Redmond and Archibald Clavering Gunter.

Five years later in 1896 it was turned into a play where, “For the first time on an American stage, two women kiss in a scene in A Florida Enchantment. At the intermission, ushers were sent up and down the aisles to offer ice water to people who felt faint.” (Timeline of Homosexual History)

In 1913 director, Sidney Drew, turns the novel into a silent movie with the same title. It was filmed in St. Augustine and starred Sidney Drew, Edith Storey, and Charles Kent.

The synopsis of the movie: A young woman discovers a seed that can make women act like men and men act like women. She decides to take one, then slips one to her maid and another to her fiancé. The fun begins.  Below is a 3 minute summary of the movie.

This movie is considered the first homosexual movie by the documentary The Celluloid Closet. Black face is used in this film.


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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.