Florida history

A South Florida Senator is trying again to send a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune to represent Florida in Washington D.C’s Statuary Hall.  The current statue is confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith.

Warren Browne / Discovery YMCA

Twenty-five years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew destroyed the Homestead area- including many of its daycare centers.

That’s when Sue Loyzelle stepped in.

She was the director of the local YMCA at the time. After the storm, she was tasked by the city to establish an emergency daycare center at Harris Field--right by the Air Force base in Homestead.

WLRN spoke to Loyzelle at the opening of HistoryMiami's Hurricane Andrew: 25 Years Later exhibit in our Miami Stories audio recording booth. Below is what she told us in the booth: 

Twenty-five years ago, Hurricane Andrew hurtled through South Florida. The Category 5 storm uprooted trees, washed boats ashore and destroyed thousands of homes. It caused an estimated $25 billion in damage.

But the hurricane didn't scare Kendall resident Camille Grace, a 47-year-old who worked in sales for Cayman Airways and taught night school. She put her storm shutters up and filled her two bath tubs with water in case she lost access to the precious liquid during the storm. 

Marcia Brod

Lenny and Marcia Brod clearly remember one sleepless night 25 years ago. It was the eve of Hurricane Andrew.

“We were novices,” said Marcia Brod, 67. “It was a first time any kind of hurricane was coming through that was significant.”

In 1992, they were raising their two kids in a new home located on 128th Street and Southwest 107th Avenue in Miami. They had barely planned for the Category 4 storm hurling toward South Florida. 

HistoryMiami

25 years ago when Hurricane Andrew hit Miami, Lance O’Brian and his friend decided to wait out the storm in Miami Beach. Both surfers, they hoped to catch some good waves once the storm had passed.

HistoryMiami museum folklorist Vanessa Navarro spoke with O'Brian as part of a HistoryMiami research project called “What Makes Miami Miami?” The Florida Folklife Program, a component of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, directed the project. Below is an edited excerpt of his interview:

NOAA

If a hurricane hit today, Isaias Torres and Leah Richter Torres would be together. They're married and just had a baby girl.

But 25 years ago, they were in completely different places.

Isaias, then a 13-year-old on his way into eighth grade, lived with his mom. During the storm, his parents, who had recently divorced, came together under one roof in Hialeah.

Leah, then 17, was on her way to study environmental engineering at the University of Florida. Her mom, dad and two little sisters got into the car to drive her to Gainesville the Friday before Andrew.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Growing up in Miami, Nanci Mitchell has been through a lot of hurricanes.

“I remember in high school, sitting on the back porch in the middle of one of the hurricanes, just screened in, and it was just neat watching the storm,” she said. “It was no big deal.”

But Hurricane Andrew was a different story.

In a conversation with her sister-in-law, who lived out of state, Mitchell, then 47, confessed that Andrew “was unlike any other.”

“There was nothing like this hurricane,” she said. 

The Confederate statue at the county courthouse in downtown Tampa may not be moving after all. Hillsborough County Commissioners are now asking the public to pay for it.

St. Pete Mayor Orders Removal Of Confederate Marker

Aug 16, 2017

The mayor of St. Petersburg has ordered the removal of a stone marker erected in 1939 to commemorate Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

Key West Art & Historical Society

Twenty-five years before the Spanish-American War,  the two countries bristled at each other across the Florida Straits, with a show of American Naval force assembled in Key West.

The Virginius Affair centered around the 1873 capture of an American ship that was helping Cuban rebels during the Ten Years War, an unsuccessful attempt to throw off Spanish rule from the island.

The Virginius was originally a Confederate blockade runner during the American Civil War. In the 1870s, it was carrying weapons to Cuban rebels. It was crewed by American and British citizens.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Warm weather, bad traffic, store-bought tits, the beach, diversity, rudeness and the women.

Miami in a nutshell according to the people we talked at our VoxPop recording booth during RadioFest at the Wolfsonian on Miami Beach.

It was Spring Break, parking was bad, music was bumping and people were more than willing to spout off the things they love and hate about Miami. (Especially when we were plying them with free coffee in exchange for the conversation.)

Take a listen:

Miami Herald

Lee Weissenborn will be remembered for many things:  He loved animals, he believed in fighting for the little guy when he was a lawyer and  he tried to move Florida's state capital from Tallahassee to Orlando. 

Courtesy Kelly Clark / National Park Service

Seventy miles west of Key West, a group of islands forms the Dry Tortugas. Those islands, and the waters surrounding them, are at the center of a national park with spectacular coral reefs. But the park is best known for its biggest structure.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Key West Cemetery dates back to the mid-19th century — and some of the gravestones there have fallen into disrepair.

Remembering the "Boy Wonder" of Florida Politics

Feb 1, 2017

Doyle Conner came to be known as “the boy wonder of Florida politics.” In 1950, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives at the age of 20 while a sophomore at the University of Florida and remains the youngest person ever elected to the Florida Legislature.

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