Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

One of the few battle sites of Florida, the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, established in 1949, hosts a battle reenactment each February and a late summer Civil War Expo. The Florida Legislature obtained three acres of land in 1909 in order to form a memorial, as many Civil War veterans still wished to attend reunions. Three years later, the battlefield was officially declared the state’s first historic site. Ceremonies commemorate the 10,000 plus cavalry, infantry and artillery troops that fought in a five hour battle, the largest in Florida Civil War history, on February 20, 1864.
Find out more about the Olustee Festival, with events scheduled throughout February.

Monday, January 24, 2011

St. Marks Lighthouse

As a result of a petition presented by William P. Duval and Joseph M. White in 1828, a budget of $6,000 was approved for the building of the first St. Marks Lighthouse, designed by Winslow Lewis. This first lighthouse boasted hollow walls, an unusual practice for the time, and was vetoed by the Collector of Customs for St. Marks. A second tower was designed by Lewis’ partner, Calvin Knowlton. By 1842, erosion was threatening the safety of the lighthouse and avid supporters erected a third lighthouse, shown here in the 1960s, that is still standing today. This tower was built just in time; in September 1843, a hurricane and accompanying tidal wave destroyed the older lighthouse and Port Leon, a nearby town.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Moon - Tallahassee

The Moon, converted from an A&P Grocery store in 1985 has been the venue of dozens of music shows, ranging from Willie Nelson to B.B. King. The building, built in the 1950s was obtained by Scott and Julie Carswell in the early 1980s, when they began the remodeling process, part of which is shown here. The 21,000 square foot main room provides seating for 900 people, with a maximum capacity of 1,500, to showcase high quality entertainment by local and national music acts, comedians and politicians.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gesu Catholic Church, Miami

Growing from a small wooden church in 1896, years before Miami was even founded, to an 800 seat church located at North East First Avenue and Second Street, the Gesu Catholic Church boasts altars such as this main one made of Italian marble and polychromed crystal leaded windows made in Germany. The Gesu Catholic Church was originally founded by William and Evelyn Wagner, who purchased several acres of land at another location, where the first church was built. Services were held here until 1889, when a fire destroyed the building. Two years later, Henry Flagler, on behalf of Joseph and Catherine MacDonald, donated land for a new Catholic church to be built, even though he was a Protestant. The Gesu Catholic Church prides itself on welcoming soldiers as they return from foreign wars and educating exiles from Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

McKee's Jungle Garden

Waldo Sexton, co-founder of McKee’s Jungle Garden, frolics with monkeys collected from Africa. Animals were incorporated into the nursery-turned-jungle landscape to provide tourists with an exciting jungle adventure. Arthur G. McKee, a Vero Beach businessman, organized the tourist attraction with Sexton in the late 1920s, where they went to work stocking the 80 acre area with over 2,500 varieties of rare plants and flowers. Tourist’s appeal foundered when World War II began; the U.S. Navy elected to train pilots in the art of jungle survival in the area during the lull. Visitors never returned in force, however, and the garden was closed in 1976. After being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, a portion of the garden was saved and opened as the McKee Botanical Garden in 2001.

Visit McKee Botanical Garden.