Florida history

Keys lighthouses
4:17 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

New Mission for Keys' Reef Lights: Historical Guideposts

Alligator Reef Light was built in 1873 and survived the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S.
Credit Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

The reef lights along the Florida Keys are still owned by the U.S. Coast Guard -- but a nonprofit group hopes to take over their care and make them a 100-mile long museum of maritime history.

The Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation is raising money to apply to the Coast Guard for ownership of five lights stretching from Carysfort Reef off Key Largo to Sand Key off Key West. The others are Alligator Reef off Islamorada, Sombrero Reef off Marathon and American Shoal off the Lower Keys.

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Halloween
6:11 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

A History Of The Biltmore, Miami's Best Known Creepy Hotel

Looking east over the golf course at the Miami Biltmore Hotel.
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/24482

The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables wasn't always a hotel. 

It was built in 1926 by a young developer named George Merrick, who's known as the founder of Coral Gables. 

The hotel became a place to host glamorous fashion shows, galas, golf tournaments and water shows in what was then the largest pool in the world.

At a loud party on the 13th floor of the hotel, a gangster named Thomas "Fatty" Walsh was shot and killed by another gangster. That murder yielded a lot of ghost rumors over the years.

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Everglades
11:40 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Inside The Oldest Store In The Everglades And Why It Depends On One Road

Ted Smallwood's Store is now open to the public as a museum.
Julia Duba

Ted Smallwood built his store out of Dade County Pine on the edge of Chokoloskee, facing the Everglades' Ten Thousand Islands. He called it Ted Smallwood's Store.

In 1917, it was the hub of the community. It was the post office, a farming ground, a place to repair boats and trade goods. Smallwood's wife, Mamie, even taught grade school out of the store. Now the future of the store depends on one road and its legal battle to keep it open. 

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Key West
8:03 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

See How Tourism Changed The Florida Keys

The Custom House on Key West Harbor has been a landmark since it was built, as shown by this vintage postcard. Today the Custom House is an art and history museum, and site of an exhibit on the history of tourism.
Credit Monroe County Public Library/Scott DeWolfe collection

A new exhibit explores Key West as South Florida's oldest outpost. 

Florida Keys or Bust! A History of Tourism runs until Oct. 1 at the Custom House Museum.

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Arts
5:45 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Coral Gables Museum Celebrates History, Architecture And Community

The Coral Gables Museum celebrates history, architecture and the local community.

The mission of the Coral Gables Museum is multifaceted, with a focus on community as well as art.  Caroline Breder-Watts recently spoke with Executive Director Christine Rupp.

Hear the interview here:

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News
6:03 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Slideshow: How South Florida Helped Train D-Day Troops

Servicemen march along Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. Circa 1944.
HistoryMiami

 

Before American soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, troops were preparing for D-Day on the beaches of South Florida.

They were doing jumping jacks on the sand in Miami Beach.

In the sky were big, green military planes.

That’s because before Florida was prime real estate for waterfront mansions and tourism, it was the perfect place to train soldiers.

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Re-enactment
10:50 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Florida's Largest Civil War Battle Isn't Over Yet

Civil War re-enactors stage the Battle of Olustee, Florida’s largest Civil War battle, on the rural Baker County site. Feb. 20 was the 150th anniversary of the Confederate victory.

The re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee drew nearly 3,000 people to a state park in rural Baker County last weekend – including 2,500 re-enactors who staged the Confederate victory just as it unfolded on Feb. 20, 1864.

But now, with the re-enactment over, the battle resumes.

Last year the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War asked the Department of Environmental Protection to place a memorial in the park honoring their ancestors who fell at Olustee.

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Miami Dish
11:14 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

How South Florida Jews Shaped The State's Food History

A couple chats after ordering stone crab in Key West, 1963.
Credit Credit Francis P. Johnson, Florida State Archives

Food is a lens. It's not all about chefs and buzzy restaurants. It's a lens through which we can learn about our culture, history and environment, among other things.

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Painting
8:00 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Work Of Florida's 'Highwaymen' Gets A New Life

Phillip Estlund, "Stygian Sunrise"

Florida’s natural world, like its social world, is of many minds: serene, clear, or bright one minute, then dark, indignant, or utterly furious the next. And sometimes it’s a quixotic mix. 

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Topical Currents
1:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Florida's Infamous Insane Asylum: Chattahoochee

Sally Ling
http://sallyjling.com/

03/26/13 - Tuesday's  Topical Currents ventures into the murky world of Florida’s infamous Chattahoochee State Hospital. Historian Sally Ling has written, OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT. Just 40 miles west of Tallahassee, the institution began as a federal arsenal during the Seminole Wars, was then a state prison, then an insane asylum. There’s the good, the bad, and ugly in its history. That’s Topical Currents .

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