Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Beatles visit Key West October 22, 2010

The Beatles at the Key Wester Motel

September 10, 1964 was an exciting day for Beatles fans in Key West. It was on this day that the Fab Four flew in from Montreal to take a rest stop.  They were originally supposed to stop in Jacksonville  but according to The Beatles Ultimate Experience due to Hurricane Dora off of the northeast coast of Florida the flight was detoured to Key West until Hurricane Dora passed.

At this time the South was still segregated and this included Florida. The Beatles refused to play the Gator Bowl if the audience was segregated on race. It was promised that the audience would be desegregated and the performance remained on the books. Their hotel in Jacksonville was another matter though. It seems that desegregating the hotel while The Beatles were present could not be worked out. It was rumored that this is the real reason their rest stop was moved to Key West.

While in Key West reporter Jean Morris was able to interview them. After some questions about Rolling Stones and who was married and who was single the subject came around to eating.

JEAN: “Do you always eat on the run like this?”

RINGO: “No, we sit down like this.”

(laughter)

JEAN: “No, I mean, with all these people don’t you get indigestion?”

RINGO: “Well, we usually eat in the room, but seeing the hotel’s got no room for us, we have to eat here, you see.”

JOHN: “That was unfortunate, that.”

RINGO: “Unfortunate.”

John and Ringo are referring to their canceled rooms in Jacksonville. Where in an earlier interview when asked

The Key Wester Motel

directly about it tried to not make a big deal about it by saying they had no control of booking rooms or the cancellation of them. Jean Morris does not ask them to elaborate.

The Key Wester Motel was demolished in 1999 and was replaced by the Hyatt Windward Pointe. The Hyatt Windward Pointe Hotel,  according to the Beatles Bible , an open-air structure named the Beatles Hut commemorates the place where the group stayed. While there they jammed with rhythm and blues singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry,  The Bill Black Combo, and  The Exciters, who are from New Orleans  and local musician Coffee Butler.

While their concert at the Gator Bowl was canceled due to Hurricane Dora the game was still played. It was Florida State v. Oklahoma. The final score was Florida State 36 Oklahoma 19. The details of the game can be found here and here.

 

Today in Florida History September 16 September 16, 2009

Finally getting back into posting now with things beginning to calm down. I thought I would start things off with a Today in Florida History. It is taken from The Florida Historical Society. There is also a link to the site in my Links to the Past list.

1565: From the account of Pedro Menendez’s expedition to Florida in 1565 by Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, the chaplain to the expedition.  This account is taken from Charles E. Bennett, Laudonniere and Fort Caroline:  History and Documents (Gainesville:  University of Florida Press, 1964).  [We will continue with portions of this account in the coming days and will simply cite it as Laudonniere and Fort Caroline.  In today’s account, Father Mendoza recounts the beginning of Menendez’s expedition against the French at Fort Caroline.–moderator]

“Sunday, September 16, he [Menendez] departed with 500 men with many arquebuses and pikes, each one of the soldiers carrying a twelve pound sack of bread on his shoulders and a bottle of wine for the road.  They took two Indian chiefs who were great enemies of the French, so that they might show the way.  According to the practice of those Indians and by the signs they made, we understood that it was five leagues to the fort of the enemies, but one the road it appeared to be more than fifteen and a very bad road in the very hot sun.  But all have traveled it, according to the letter we received from the General [Menendez] today, the 19th of said month.”

1853: House Speaker A. K. Allison proclaimed himself Acting Governor of Florida when the governor, Thomas Brown, and the Senate President, R. J. Floyd, were both out of the state.  Allison served until October 3 when James E. Broome was regularly inaugurated as governor.

1863: The U.S.S. San Jacinto, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Ralph Chandler, seized the Confederate blockade-runner, Lizzie Davis, off the west coast of Florida.  She had been bound from Havana to Mobile with a cargo that included quantities of lead.

1864: An expedition from the U.S.S. Ariel, with Acting Master Russell in command, captured over 4,000 pounds of cotton in the vicinity of Tampa Bay.

Zora Neale Hurston is the author of Their Eyes were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) is the author of "Their Eyes were Watching God"

1928: The Belle Glade and Palm Beaches area was devastated by a hurricane. This was the culmination of the Great Lake Okeechobee Hurricane struck Florida as a Category 4 storm, with winds pushing lake waters to a storm surge of more than 15 feet.  The area surrounding the lake’s south end, occupied primarily by migrant agricultural workers, flooded.  The Red Cross’s death toll count reached 1,836, but additional bodies and skeletons were discovered after the end of the Red Cross count.  In response to this disaster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built dikes around the lake to prevent a recurrence.  Florida author Zora Neale Hurston recorded the impact on this hurricane on migrants in her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.  (See September 6, Today in Florida History)

1968: The first classes convened at Warner Southern College in Lake Wales.  The college was founded by the Southeastern Association of the Church of God.