Beyond Tourism: Florida's Yesteryear

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Friday Finds: Videos April 30, 2010

A fun way to learn more about our state is read websites and books written for tourists. VisitFlorida.com has lots of videos created by Florida natives about Florida. Here are six videos of the hundreds available for viewing.

1. Dade Battlefield Reenactment – Lucy Beebe Tobias Dade Battlefield Historic State Park near Tampa, brings history to life with a reenactment of a battle that occurred between the Seminoles and the American soldiers during 1835. This even occurs every January. Join Lucy Beebe Tobias, our former VISIT FLORIDA Authentic Expert, as we witness a reenactment in action in this video.

2. Castillo De San Marcos – Lucy Beebe Tobias A bastion of the largest empire ever created, the Castillo was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World. Though caught in the whirlwinds of colonial warfare and intrigue, it was never defeated in battle. Its scarred walls still stand witness to over 330 years of history and culture. In this video, our Authentic Florida experts takes us through this historical site.

3. Miami Architecture – Jen Karetnick from Miami Modern, to Art Deco, to Renaissance Revival, Miami’s architectural styles define the area as much as the beaches do. In this video, take an architecture tour of South Beach with VISIT FLORIDA’s Arts & Culture expert, Jen Karetnick.

4. The Salvador Dali Museum – Jen Karetnick the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg houses the largest collection of the surrealist’s work in the United States. In this video, Florida Arts & Culture expert Jen Karetnik takes you on a tour of these grand masterpieces.

5. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Jen Karetnick in this video, join our Art & Culture Expert as she take you through the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. From the arts to the circus it has something for everyone.

6. Kingsley Plantation – Lucy Beebe Tobias the Kingsley Plantation, administered by the National Park Service, is located on Fort George Island and includes the plantation house, a kitchen house, a barn, and the ruins of 25 of the original slave cabins. The history of the island spans more than 1000 years beginning with the Timucuan Indians. Our Authentic Florida expert takes us on a video tour of this historic site.

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Wanted Wednesdays: Santo Trafficante (1914-1987) April 28, 2010

When you think of Organized Crime what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Al Capone, Baby Face Nelson, or even The Sopranos. Florida also has had to deal with their own problems with organized crime and not just the mafia on vacation in our sunny state.

Trafficante was born in Tampa in 1914 to Mafia Don Santo Trafficante, Sr and Maria Giuseppa Cacciatore who were both born in Italy. He started working for the mob in 1953 when he 39. His father sent him to Cuba which at the time was under the power of Fulgencio Batista. While there he set up illegal casinos.

Santos Trafficante, Louis Santos, Enrique Chacon, Samuel Balto were various alibis Trafficante used to deal with his businesses both legal and illegal. Including the casinos in Cuba he was also involved in casinos and nightclubs in Tampa.

In 1959, when Fidel overthrew Batista in Cuba he shut down Trafficante’s casinos and even threw him in jail before deporting him to the United States. It was at this time it is believed that he started talks with the CIA in plots to kill Castro up until his death on March 19.

Trafficante has been charged with gambling operations, at least four Mafia slayings, illegally bribing union officials, racketeering and conspiracy, rumored to be involved in a Mafia plot to kill President John F. Kennedy, though he denied there was any such conspiracy. Over the years while he was charged with all these crimes he was either released or served little to no time.

Information comes from the Cuban Information Archives and Biography.com

 

Colonel William Jenkins Worth January 27, 2010

Colonel William Jenkins Worth

Military Career and Legacy
Colonel William Jenkins Worth fought in the War of 1812, the Second Seminole War, and the Mexican-American War where he died at the Alamo in San Antonio. Lake Worth in Florida and Fort Worth in Texas are named after him, according to Palm Beach Photo Tour.

Role in the Second Seminole War

According to the History of the Second Seminole War written by John K. Mahon, Colonel Worth accomplished three things. He lowered the expenses of the United States Army by eliminating or replacing roles that were, in earlier campaigns, held by militia and civilians. At the end of a year which ended April 30, 1842 the quartermaster estimated a savings of $174,923.90.

He was able to coerce Seminole Indian leader Coacoochee, also known as Wildcat, to convince other Seminoles to surrender. This was after Coacoochee was captured and shipped to New Orleans with fifteen other Seminole Indians. Colonel Worth had him sent back to Florida where he was held prisoner in Tampa.

Colonel Worth finally brought the war to an end by not resting during the hot summer months, but not without a price. The majority of South Florida was still marsh and everglades. This was before the everglades were drained for settlement. Mosquitoes were still a huge problem. Many soldiers died from disease and heat exhaustion.

The end of the War
The war ended in 1842, sort of. Not all the Seminoles were sent west. A few hundred of them were allowed to stay in Florida on reservations made for them. White settlers were not happy with this outcome and a few of the Seminoles were not happy with the out come either. Small skirmishes lasted through the 1840s and early 1850s. The outcome was finally settled during the Third Seminole War which lasted from 1855-1858.

Read another article about Lake Worth.  (Link forthcoming.)