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Florida, Vintage Images circa 1900 (2018 calendar)


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After the Spanish, who knew what to do with Florida? The railroad offered an answer, and Florida, Vintage Images circa 1900 shows off the grand places that marked a transformation in what was to become the Sunshine State. Wonderful fruit is still a cornerstone, but clearly this is a time when the vacation will work Florida into America’s imagination.

Published by Tide-mark, the 2018 calendar opens to 13.75 by 20.5 inches.

Places featured in the calendar include:


The Spanish royal palace in Seville inspired the design of the Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine. Built in 1889, and Henry Flagler’s second luxury hotel in Florida, the Alcazar included a host of amenities including the world’s largest indoor swimming pool. The hotel closed in 1932 and Chicago publisher Otto Lightner purchased the building as a private museum. He eventually deed the Alcazar to the city and it became the St. Augustine City Hall, as well as the Lightner Museum.


The oldest masonry fort (1672) in the continental United States, Castillo de San Marcos was built by the Spanish Empire to protect Matanzas Bay and St. Augustine from British attack. Ownership of the fort changed several times until the Spanish ceded Florida to the U.S. in 1821, when the U.S. Army occupied the fort until it was deactivated in 1933. Today the fort is managed by the National Park Service and is open to the public.


The Indian River flows along the eastern Florida coast, extending 121 miles from Ponce de Leon inlet at New Smyrna Beach, past Merritt Island, and south to St. Lucie Inlet. Today the Indian River flows on as part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.


Visitors to Silver Springs in the 19th century often enjoyed a scenic adventure, taking a steamboat boat ride on the Ocklawaha River from Palatka. Some of Silver Springs tourists included prominent people like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas A. Edison and Mary Todd Lincoln. The arrival of the railroad eventually brought the era of the steamboat to a close.


This is a view of the Custom House and harbor at Key West as it looked at the end of the 19th century. With a deep-water harbor located on the Straits of Florida between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Key West gained importance after Florida was transferred to the U.S. in 1821. By 1889 Key West was the largest and wealthiest city in Florida.


Orange trees may have been planted in Florida by the Spanish, but cultivation of commercial groves of oranges and pineapples, as pictured here, only began in the late 1800s. Apparently, an English nurseryman sold orange-tree rootstock from the Azores to an American buyer in about 1870, and the trees were destined for Florida.


The Hotel Ponce de Leon was designed in the Spanish Renaissance style for developer Henry Flagler, and when it opened in 1888, it was the first example of large-scale poured-concrete construction. Among its amenities, the hotel was wired for electricity that was supplied by Edison generators. Electricity was so new, that hotel staff was employed switching lights on and off for guests wary of the new phenomenon.


The Miami River flows through the city from its headwaters in the Everglades. The Spanish discovered Tequesta Indians inhabiting an area near the north bank of the river’s mouth. The Tequesta built mounds, but no high-rise towers.


Causeways, like this one near Ormond, were raised roads built to cross wet low-lying ground. Ormond boasted a hard white-sand beach that made it a tourist attraction in the 19th century. Automakers like Ransom Olds decided to put their cars to the test on the beach between Ormond and Daytona. After the American Automobile Association brought timing equipment there in 1903, the place was knicknamed The Birthplace of Speed.


The old City Gate provided access to St. Augustine through the defense system created by the city’s Spanish founders. This picture may have been taken in about 1913, when the stonework was repaired, and the west finial was replaced.


The expansive Royal Palm Hotel opened its doors to visitors in 1897. It was the first hostelry in Miami to provide electric lights, elevators, and a swimming pool for its guests. Severely damaged during a hurricane in 1926, the structure was found to be infested with termites and razed in 1930.


Why is there a palm beach in Palm Beach? Not native to North America, the coconut does grow in Cuba. In 1878, the Spanish ship Providencia set sail from Havana bound for Cadiz, Spain. The ship was wrecked near Mar-a-Lago, and her cargo of coconuts was salvaged and planted, which gave us Palm Beach.




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