In the 1930s, the Federal Writers' Project sent mostly anonymous writers, but also Zora Neale Hurston and Stetson Kennedy, into the depths of Florida to reveal its splendor to the world. The FWP and the State of Florida jointly published the results as Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State, which included twenty-two driving tours of the state's main roads. Eventually, after Eisenhower built the interstates, drivers bypassed the small towns that thrived along these roads in favor of making better time. Those main roads are now the state's backroads--forgotten by all but local residents, a few commuters, and dedicated road-trippers. Retracing the original routes in the Guide, Cathy Salustri rekindles our notions of paradise by bringing a modern eye to the historic travelogues. Salustri's 5,000-mile road trip reveals a patchwork quilt of Florida cultures: startling pockets of history and environmental bliss stitched against the blight of strip malls and franchise restaurants. The journey begins on US 98, heading west toward the Florida/Alabama state line, where coastal towns dot the roadway. Here, locals depend on the tourism industry, spurred by sugar sand beaches, as well as the abundance of local seafood. On US 41, Salustri takes us past the state's only whitewater rapids, a retired carnie town, and a dazzling array of springs, swamps, and rivers interspersed with farms that produce a bounty of fruit. Along US 17, she stops for milkshakes and hamburgers at Florida's oldest diner and visits a collection of springs interconnected by underwater mazes tumbling through white spongy limestone, before stopping in Arcadia, where men still bring cattle to auction. Desperately searching for skunk apes, the Sunshine State's version of Bigfoot, she encounters more than one gator on her way through the Everglades, Ochopee, and the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters. Following the original Guide, Salustri crisscrosses the state from the panhandle to the Keys. She guides readers through forgotten and unknown corners of the state--nude beaches, a rattlesnake cannery, Devil's Millhopper in Gainesville--as well as more familiar haunts--Kennedy Space Center and The Villages, "Florida's Friendliest Retirement Hometown." Woven through these journeys are nuggets of history, environmental debates about Florida's future, and a narrative that combines humor with a strong affection for an oft-maligned state. Today, Salustri urges, tourists need a new nudge to get off the interstates or away from Disney in order to discover the real Florida. Her travel narrative, following what are now backroads and scenic routes, guides armchair travelers and road warriors alike to historic sites, natural wonders, and notable man-made attractions--comparing the past views with the present landscape and commenting on the changes, some barely noticeable, others extreme, along the way.
Author: Diane Roberts
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2007-11-01
Part family memoir, part political commentary, part apologia, Dream State is all Floridian, telling the grand and sometimes crazy story of the twenty-seventh state through the eyes of one of its native daughters. Acclaimed journalist and NPR commentator Diane Roberts has many family secrets and she's ready to tell them. Like the time her cousin state Senator Luther Tucker wrapped his Caddy around a tree, allegedly with a jug of moonshine on the seat next to him. Or how cousin Susan Branford was given an African girl for her eighth birthday. Or the time when cousin Enid Broward was made the May Queen of 1907, even though her daddy the governor shocked the state by trying to drain the entire Everglades. Roberts' ancestors helped settle Florida, kill off its pesky Indians, enslave some of its inhabitants, clear its forests, lay its train tracks, and pave its roads, all the time weaving themselves into the very fabric of this dangling chad of a state. With a storyteller's talent for setting great scenes, Roberts lays out the sweeping history of eight geberations of Browards and Bradfords, Tuckers anf Robertses, even as she Forest Gumps them into situations with more historically familiar names. Whether it's the American court of Catherine de Médicis, the Tallahassee court of Katherine Harris, Henry Flagler's boardroom -- not to mention his bedroom -- or Jeb Bush's statehouse, you're likely to find a branch or a root of the Roberts family growing entangled nearby. Starting in the recent past with the botched presidential election of 2000, Roberts introduces the many sides of the debate, coincidentally peopled with cousins both kissing and close. She then goes back to Florida's first inhabitants, showing how this alluring peninsula many called a paradise played a role in the destiny of those who settled there. Following their colorful progress up to the present, she renders them all with a deep, familial affection. Florida has forced itself into the collective American unconscious with its messed-up elections, anthrax scares, shark attacks,boat lifts, snowbirds, and the Bush dynasty. While exposing the real people whom Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard have been fictionalizing for years, Dream State ultimately reveals the cogs and wheels that make the state tick.
This new edition of Bruce Hunt’s popular guide leads you to 70 of the most charming and historic little towns, places with names like Yeehaw Junction, Sopchoppy, and Ozello, as well as 8 ghost towns like Two Egg and Stiltsville. The author revisited all the towns in the book for this update.
An exploration of the great architecture, homes, and gardens of late nineteenth-century Florida captures a diverse array of styles, ranging from the opulent and ornate mansions of the very rich to charming, country-style cottages, including Thomas Edison's winter home, the Italian villa Vizcaya, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's simple cottage. 12,000 first printing.
Author: Brian R. Rucker
Release Date: 2011
Discover West Florida's Forgotten Historic and Natural Treasures "A wonderfully detailed guide by a seventh-generation resident to areas previously overlooked. History buffs and nature lovers will find this book a 'must-have' for excursions to out-of-the-way museums, historic sites, and pristine natural areas."--Jean Lufkin Bouler, author of Exploring Florida's Emerald Coast "Rucker's book is a gem. West Florida, long neglected and marginalized in the push of development of Central and South Florida, comes alive with possibilities. The book offers the reader an engaging ramble across what constitutes the 'real Florida': a state of mind and a sense of place. I finished reading it and my first thought was 'let's go exploring.'"--Margo S. Stringfield, coauthor of Historic Pensacola The westernmost counties that make up the Florida panhandle are often given short shrift in the state's comprehensive histories and derided as a "Redneck Riviera" in tourism brochures. In Treasures of the Panhandle Brian Rucker takes readers on a unique tour of his home region, highlighting the historic treasures and natural wonders found there. From Escambia along the Alabama border to Franklin on the banks of the Apalachicola River, the twelve counties of the panhandle include battlefields from the Redstick War of 1813-1814 and the First Seminole War four years later, twenty-four state parks, three state forests, one national forest, and a national seashore. There are caves (!) here, the world's largest air force base, and the first European settlement in North America. Treasures of the Panhandle is ideal for anyone interested in heritage tourism or eco-tourism. It offers additional information on now-lost treasures, as well as complete lists of National Register sites and Historical Markers. Brian R. Rucker, professor of history at Pensacola State College, is author of Arcadia: Florida's Premier Antebellum Industrial Park and Image and Reality: Tourism in Antebellum Pensacola.
Author: Federal Writers' Project
Publisher: Trinity University Press
Release Date: 2013-10-31
During the 1930s in the United States, the Works Progress Administration developed the Federal Writers’ Project to support writers and artists while making a national effort to document the country’s shared history and culture. The American Guide series consists of individual guides to each of the states. Little-known authors—many of whom would later become celebrated literary figures—were commissioned to write these important books. John Steinbeck, Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison are among the more than 6,000 writers, editors, historians, and researchers who documented this celebration of local histories. Photographs, drawings, driving tours, detailed descriptions of towns, and rich cultural details exhibit each state’s unique flavor. In the 21st Century, Florida is a major center for industry and tourism; however, published in 1939, the WPA Guide to Florida exhibits a rather rural and quiet state. This guide gives an interesting perspective on the Sunshine State before its explosive growth starting in the 1950s, focusing on the state’s Seminole roots and Spanish influence as well as its lush, diverse landscape.
Oh, Florida! That name. That combination of sounds. Three simple syllables, and yet packing so many mixed messages. To some people, it's a paradise. To others, it's a punchline. As Oh, Florida! shows, it's both of these - and, more importantly, it's a Petri dish, producing trends that end up influencing the rest of the country. Without Florida there would be no NASCAR, no Bettie Page pinups, no Glenn Beck radio rants, no USA Today, no "Stand Your Ground," ... you get the idea. To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It's a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a care-free paradise, yet it's also known for its perils - alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes, and sharks, to name a few. It attracts 90 million visitors a year, some drawn by its impressive natural beauty, others bewitched by its man-made fantasies. Craig Pittman's Oh, Florida! explores those contradictions and shows how they fit together to make this the most interesting state. It is the first book to explore the reasons why Florida is so wild and weird - and why that's okay. Florida couldn't be Florida without that sense of the unpredictable, unexpected, and unusual lurking behind every palm tree. But there is far more to Florida than its sideshow freakiness. Oh, Florida! explains how Florida secretly, subtly influences all the other states in the Union, both for good and for ill.
Author: Larry McMurtry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2010-06-01
Genre: Social Science
As he crisscrosses America -- driving in search of the present, the past, and himself -- Larry McMurtry shares his fascination with this nation's great trails and the culture that has developed around them. Ever since he was a boy growing up in Texas only a mile from Highway 281, Larry McMurtry has felt the pull of the road. His town was thoroughly landlocked, making the highway his "river, its hidden reaches a mystery and an enticement. I began my life beside it and I want to drift down the entire length of it before I end this book." In Roads, McMurtry embarks on a cross-country trip where his route is also his destination. As he drives, McMurtry reminisces about the places he's seen, the people he's met, and the books he's read, including more than 3,000 books about travel. He explains why watching episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show might be the best way to find joie de vivre in Minnesota; the scenic differences between Route 35 and I-801; which vigilantes lived in Montana and which hailed from Idaho; and the history of Lewis and Clark, Sitting Bull, and Custer that still haunts Route 2 today. As it makes its way from South Florida to North Dakota, from eastern Long Island to Oregon, Roads is travel writing at its best.
This guidebook provides a tour of more than twenty of Florida's historic pioneer and cracker villages. With more than 50 photographs, it is an indispensable guide for tourists as well as for parents and teachers looking for a meaningful glimpse of the vanishing lifestyles of Florida's pioneers.
Dive into the colorful past of Florida s natural wonders! Hollis plunges readers into the nostalgic waters of Florida s most famous springs. Lavishly illustrated with rare photos and flyers, this beautiful book celebrates the classic years of 20th-century Florida tourism. Brian R. Rucker, author of "Treasures of the Panhandle: A Journey through West Florida" A collection of quaint, curious, and sometimes wonderfully ridiculous advertisements and memorabilia from Florida s big five springs. This volume will delight readers who can remember these roadside attractions in their heyday and inspire current visitors to support their new incarnations as Florida State Parks. Tracy J. Revels, author of "Sunshine Paradise: A History of Florida Tourism" Discover the mermaids, alligators, underwater mountains, and glass bottom and submarine boats of one of Florida s most fascinating natural wonders! In this visual tour of the state s five largest springs, collector-extraordinaire Tim Hollis brings together postcards, advertisements, brochures, signs, flyers, and souvenirs from the early days of these popular roadside attractions. Since tourists first started visiting the Sunshine State, they were drawn to these liquid gems Silver Springs, Wakulla Springs, Rainbow Springs, Weeki Wachee Spring, and Homosassa Springs. Commercially owned, they toed the line between mini theme park and natural attraction; today they are protected as state parks and continue to lure tourists and nature lovers alike. "Remembering Florida Springs" explores the curious intersection of tourist mecca and wildlife wonderland. Sit back and take a tour of these unique and beloved features of the state s natural landscape through eye-catching photographs and memorabilia. You may just want to change your next vacation plans and hop in your car to see Florida s natural springs. "
Author: Rick Baker
Publisher: Pineapple Press
Release Date: 2017
From the time the first humans reached the Florida peninsula more than 12,000 years ago through today's complex and diverse state, this timeline narrative sets Florida's fascinating history against the backdrop of world events. Learn how early native peoples, European exploration, wars, and transformative economic, social, cultural, and technological changes have shaped and continue to shape the "Sunshine State."
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2007-03-05
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The Number One international bestseller, Eat, Pray Love is a journey around the world, a quest for spiritual enlightenment and a story for anyone who has battled with divorce, depression and heartbreak.