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Ormond Indian Burial Mound Historic Marker

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Indian Burial Mound

In May 1982, when Dixon H. Reeves, and his wife Harriett, paid contractors to break ground on a house site at the corner of south Beach Street and Mound Avenue in Ormond Beach, they did not fully comprehend the damage they were going to do to an irreplaceable cultural artifact. In fact, once the city manager issued a stop work order, the Reeves sued the city for damages. The property ownership reverted to Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Barron, who the Reeves purchased the property from, and the Reeves eventually received a $4,000 settlement from the city.

Ormond Indian Burial Mound
Ormond Indian Burial Mound

Where the Reeves wish to build their home was the site of a Timucuan Burial Mound. In Timucuan society, bodies were not buried but instead they were placed on top of the ground and dirt piled on top. In some instances, the flesh was allowed to decay, and the bones were bundled and placed at the mound site. At times, items owned by the deceased were broken and included in the interment.

Despite the mound having received considerable damage through the years, including digging by “pot hunters” and construction of adjacent roadways, archaeologists believe as many as 125 Timucuans had been buried on the site. For anybody caught digging on this, or similar sites, you will more likely than not be charged with a third-degree felony. See this link for additional information.

With a lack of consensus among city leaders a fund was started to help purchase and preserve this sacred site. The Barron’s agreed to sell the property to the city for $55,000. Despite confirmation on the importance of the site from professional anthropologists and archaeologists, it took an anonymous donation of $30,000, along with the fundraising drive, to help secure the sale as shortsighted elected city officials balked at the price and potential ongoing costs.

Today, the site is owned by the City of Ormond Beach and is a park in a residential area. Visitors can see the mound from all sides, surrounded by roads and houses. Parking is available across the street at Ames Park so please do not park on park lands or in the yards or drives of nearby property owners. Please do not climb on the mound as it is a fragile archaeological site.

 


Native American Mythology – $16.95

from: Dover Publications

If you are interested in Native American History and mythology, this fascinating book is one you should have in your libary. This fascinating and informative compendium of Native American lore was assembled by one of twentieth-century America’s premier ethnographer/anthropologists. Hartley Burr Alexander recounts the continent’s myths chronologically and region-by-region, offering a remarkably wide range of nomadic sagas, animist myths, cosmogonies and creation myths, end-time prophecies, and other traditional tales. Click the photo to order directly from the publisher and to see their other Native American selections. 

Sign Text

 

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach
Historic Marker placed by the City of Ormond Beach and the Ormond Beach Historical Trust

The Ormond Mound was constructed by the prehistoric people of this area sometime after A.D. 800. The skeletal remains of more than 125 early native (sic) Americans are buried in this sand burial mound. Interring bodies in earthen mounds was a common burial practice in the late pre-historic period. The bones of most of the deceased were “bundled” and buried during special ceremonies. As more bodies were buried and covered with layers of sand, the mound grew over time. The Mound is preserved as one of the finest and most intact burial mounds in Florida through the efforts of the community that worked to save this site in 1982.

City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Historical Trust

 

 

This marker is placed by the City of Ormond Beach and is not a part of the Florida Department of State marker program.

 

 

If you wish to learn more about Timucuan culture there is an excellent book I can recommend.

Perhaps the definitive book on the subject is written by Dr. Jerald Milanich, The Timucua.  

This is the story of the Timucua, an American Indian people who thrived for centuries in the southeast portion of what is now the United States of America.

Timucua groups lived in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia, a region occupied by native people for thirteen millennia. They were among the first of the American Indians to come in contact with Europeans, when the Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast in 1513. Thousands of archaeological sites, village middens and sand and shell mounds still dot the landscape, offering mute testimony to the former presence of the Timucua and their ancestors.

Two hundred and fifty years after Ponce de Leon’s voyage the Timucua had disappeared, extinguished by the ravages of colonialism. Who were the Timucua? Where did they come from? How did they live? What caused their extinction? These are questions this book attempts to answer, using information gathered from archaeological excavations and from the interpretation of historical documents left behind by the European powers, mainly Spain and France, who sought to colonize Florida and to place the Timucua under their sway.

I also recommend taking a look at this page from the National Park Service. 

Great magazines at low prices for students & educators. Click to save up to 90% off the cover price.

Timucua Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions Courtesy Florida Memory
Bry, Theodor de, 1528-1598. XXIV. Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions. 1591. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/294790>, accessed 22 October 2022.

The State Library and Archives of Florida (Florida Memory), has an excellent page of Theodor de Bry’s Engravings of the Timucua. These incredible works of art date from before the year 1600. The 42 pieces are all available for viewing and low resolution copies are available for download. A sample de Bry image is seen at the left.

 Sources:

Daytona Beach News Journal

Florida Master Site File VO00240

Ormond Beach Historical Trust, Inc. “The Story of the Timucua Indian Burial Mound in Ormond Beach, Florida.” Pamphlet published April 2000.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

 

Coloring Books to Relax

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Florida Medal of Honor Recipient Robert R. Ingram

Robert Ingram
Kneeling photo By Unknown author – Navy Medical History, Robert Ingram, Public Domain, Wikipedia

Robert R. Ingram
Navy
Hospital Corpsman Third Class                                                                Vietnam

Born January 20, 1945, in Clearwater, FL, Ingram joined the United States Navy at age eighteen. He received his training in California before being sent to Japan and then Vietnam as part of Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in July 1965.

In February 1966, Petty Officer Ingram and his company came under heavy fire. As Ingram sprinted toward the front to assist the wounded bullets punctured both of his canteens. Noticing a machine gunner had been injured, Ingram took up the post, manning the gun for the duration. For his bravery he received the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest military honor.

Just a month later, in the Quang Ngai Province, in South Vietnam, on March 28, 1966, Ingram’s platoon was attacked by more than one-hundred North Vietnamese soldiers who were pouring automatic rifle fire into the Americans.

Despite the barrage of fire, Ingram crawled along the ground to reach a wounded service member and supplied aid. Here he was shot through the hand. Ingram continued to aid wounded men, receiving two more gunshot wounds himself.

While dressing a severe head wound of a fellow soldier, Ingram would be shot for a fourth time. Physically weak, and severely wounded, young Ingram was pulled from the lines, only to refuse evacuation, as he felt others needed to go first.

Ingram’s vital signs weakened, and he was believed to have been killed in action. While eleven members of Company C were to die that day, Ingram survived. He and fifty-three others were wounded.

Other members of Company C were recognized for bravery that day, but for some unknown reason, the actions of Corpsman Ingram were not. His fellow soldiers did not forget him, however. Ingram was to survive the war and after a 1995 reunion, his fellow soldiers took up the fight to have his actions acknowledged.

On July 10, 1998, President Bill Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to Hospital Corpsman, Third Class, Robert R. Ingram.

 

The Vietnam War is extremely complicated and controversial to this day. One of the best sources for those interested in this war, containing articles written by those who served alongside recognized historians is VIETNAM MAGAZINE. A subscription is highly recommended.

For a full listing of Florida registered Medal of Honor recipients please see my listing HERE.

Ingram’s Medal of Honor citation can be read below.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Corpsman with Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines against elements of a North Vietnam Aggressor (NVA) battalion in Quang Ngai Province Republic of Vietnam on 28 March 1966. Petty Officer Ingram accompanied the point platoon as it aggressively dispatched an outpost of an NVA battalion. The momentum of the attack rolled off a ridge line down a tree covered slope to a small paddy and a village beyond. Suddenly, the village tree line exploded with an intense hail of automatic rifle fire from approximately 100 North Vietnamese regulars. In mere moments, the platoon ranks were decimated. Oblivious to the danger, Petty Officer Ingram crawled across the bullet spattered terrain to reach a downed Marine. As he administered aid, a bullet went through the palm of his hand. Calls for “CORPSMAN” echoed across the ridge. Bleeding, he edged across the fire swept landscape, collecting ammunition from the dead and administering aid to the wounded. Receiving two more wounds before realizing the third wound was life-threatening, he looked for a way off the face of the ridge, but again he heard the call for corpsman and again, he resolutely answered. Though severely wounded three times, he rendered aid to those incapable until he finally reached the right flank of the platoon. While dressing the head wound of another corpsman, he sustained his fourth bullet wound. From sixteen hundred hours until just prior to sunset, Petty Officer Ingram pushed, pulled, cajoled, and doctored his Marines. Enduring the pain from his many wounds and disregarding the probability of his demise, Petty Officer Ingram’s intrepid actions saved many lives that day. By his indomitable fighting spirit, daring initiative, and unfaltering dedications to duty, Petty Officer Ingram reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

To learn more about the Medal of Honor, I recommend Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty.

Eight veterans from the war in Afghanistan have been awarded our nation’s highest honor for valor in combat since the publication of the third edition of Medal of Honor, including Edward C. Byers, Jr., the newest living recipient and a member of Navy SEAL Team Six, and Clint Romesha, author of the New York Times bestselling Red Platoon. And nearly 50 years after their service, four Vietnam veterans have also since received the recognition they so richly deserve. Now these men rightly take their place in the pages of this revised and updated edition.

Included here are 156 Medal of Honor recipients, captured with a contemporary portrait by award-winning photographer Nick Del Calzo and profiled in moving text by National Book Award nominee Peter Collier. The men in the book fought in conflicts from World War II to Afghanistan, served in every branch of the armed services, and represent a cross section as diverse as America itself. This is their ultimate record.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society website is also a recommended source.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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Book Review–Central Florida’s World War II Veterans

Central Florida's World War II Veterans

Grenier, Bob. Central Florida’s World War II Veterans (Images of America). Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2016. 128 pages, b/w photos. ISBN 9781467116794, $21.99.

The Greatest Generation, those who fought World War II in whatever function, is silently, yet rapidly, passing on to their reward. When you stop to think that the end of World War II was more than 75 years ago you can easily fathom that it will not be long until the last veterans from the war pass.

Author Bob Grenier, who wears many hats including historian, museum curator, Walt Disney World employee, politician, historical activist, and more, has written what I find to be a very fitting tribute to the common soldier. This is not a book glamorizing the Generals or the Colonels, or even the Lieutenants. This is not a book glamorizing war nor condemning the enemy.

Robert M. McTueous Marine Corps photo
Robert M. McTureous,  Jr., Medal of Honor recipient. Photo courtesy United States Marine Corps

Instead, this is a book that reminds us of the soldiers who went to serve in faraway lands they might not have been able to find on a map were real people. They were fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, husbands, or boyfriends. In some cases, they were daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, or girl friends who served in organizations like WAVES, or as nurses, or were part of the Red Cross. Many of these brave women led the charge from the home front, planting Victory Gardens, recycling materials, working in manufacturing roles, single handedly caring for families, and struggling to keep morale high at home and abroad.  Their importance and contributions should not be forgotten. Not all the men in the book survived. Some, like Medal of Honor recipient Robert M. McTureous, Jr., paid the ultimate price.

The book is broken down geographically into eight chapters with a concluding chapter titled Florida’s Gallant Sons and Daughters. The chapters feature soldiers who lived in or moved to an area and also highlights local markers or memorials to the War. Each chapter is loaded with photos; some contemporary, some from the war, some personal such as wedding photos, and some are memorials and remembrances. All tell a story though, and through the limited text allowed for each image, Grenier helps evoke a feeling of the image whether it be happy, sad, uncertain, confident, or scared.

This book reminds us how precious life is and that our time is fleeting. A generation called the greatest is rapidly leaving us. It will be left for us, the living, to remember them. With this slim volume, Bob Grenier has provided us a way to remember the men and women who helped stop Axis forces and allow the American way of life to continue. One cannot finish this volume and not be moved. Highly recommended.

To learn more about World War II, I recommend a subscription to World War II magazine. World War II magazine covers every aspect of history’s greatest modern conflict with vivid, revealing, and evocative writing from top historians and journalists

**For full disclosure: Mr. Grenier is a friend of mine, and this book is published by the same publisher I am published by. I did however purchase my copy of his book at full retail price, and Mr. Grenier has in no way asked for me to write a review. The review is based upon my own reading and viewing of the book.

If you enjoyed Bob’s look at World War II veterans, I recommend you find a copy of his similar book for Civil War veterans. This book covers both Union and Confederate soldiers and shows how the war and its aftermath played a considerable role in the future development of Central Florida.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

 

 


World War II

from: College Subscription Services LLC

Keep up with the latest in World War II scholarship with a subscription to World War II magazine. Written by leading authorities, each issue contains numerous articles on all aspects of the war.  Click the photo or the link to receive an exclusive subscription offer.

 

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Society of American Travel Writers Monument at the Casements in Ormond Beach, FL

Society of American Travel Writers monument

Society of American Travel Writers Monument

Leroy Collins
Leroy Collins shown in his days as a Senator. Photo courtesy State Archives of Florida

On November 14, 1956, Florida Governor Leroy Collins welcomed the National Association of Travel Organizations at the Ellinor Village Country Club. It was there that morning on which the National Association of Travel Writers was organized. The NATW adopted bylaws, a constitution, and elected officers. Peter Celhers was elected as the first president.

The groups met with sessions such as “A Guided Tour of Florida,” “How to Sell Travel,” and more.

Now known as the Society of American Travel Writers, the national group has over 1,000 total members. SATW members are classified into one of four geographic areas and also assigned one of three councils based upon profession.

SATW operates upon a published set of core values including ethical standards, diversity, respect for individuals, respect for culture, and sustainability.

In June 1999 the Central States chapter of SATW met in Daytona Beach, welcomed by a $55,000 incentive package from the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. An additional $30,000 worth of promotional goods and services were donated by local businesses.

The DBACVB considered funding the visit of sixty travel writers a wise investment based upon the potential publicity in magazines, newspapers, and books. (Remember, the internet and social media had not blown up in the manner they have today.) Susan McClain, the communications director for the bureau stated, “The main message we’re presenting is that we are rejuvenating Daytona Beach and we want to attract more families.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The visitors were treated to tours of facilities such as Museum of Arts and Sciences, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Ocean Walk (at the time under construction), LPGA golf courses, and other tourist friendly sites.

One visit of interest was a return to the Ellinor Village site where the organization had been formed forty-three years prior. To commemorate both the formation of the organization and the recent visit, SATW was able to install a small bronze on coquina plaque on the grounds of The Casements in Ormond Beach. The plaque reads

Society of American Travel Writers monument in Ormond Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Society of American Travel Writers

In 1956, the Society of American Travel               

Writers was formed at Ellinor Village,                                                           

two miles south of the Casements. This oak tree

was planted on June 3, 1999, in conjunction

with the Central States Chapter meeting of

SATW in Daytona Beach to recognize the

founding of North America’s largest

organization of professional travel journalists

 

Want to be a travel writer? Take a look at How to be a Travel Writer by Don George.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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Chisholm High School Family Tree Monument in New Smyrna Beach

Chisholm Family Tree Wall

In the days of segregation, the city of New Smyrna Beach was no different than
communities across the country. African American students were routed to schools
that were clearly separate but not equal. While not having the financial resources
that were allocated to white schools, that did not mean that students, faculty and
staff, did not have pride in their community school.

Are you interested in learning about the businesses of the Historic West Side, in New Smyrna Beach? You need a copy of History of New Smyrna Black Businesses with Present Area Businesses written by Fannie Minson Hudson. Click the link or the image to the left to order your copy today!

 

 

 

While there is no doubt that the end of legal segregation in education has been a positive for students of all races, it was a difficult shift and has not been without issue. Many believe that the end of segregation often brought the end of community schools and contributed to a breakdown of local community.

Florida State University professor of economics and past director of African-American
Studies,  and current associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Patrick L. Mason  stated that teaching was considered to be one of the highest professions that educated African-Americans could achieve. “They were blocked from most other professions, so you get all these exceptional people who become teachers.”

Dr. Michael Butler of Flagler College has written an incredible book on the struggles of integration in Escambia County, FL. Beyond Integration is highly recommended. 

 

 

 

 

Mason points out that one of the tragedies of integration was the loss of certain
black institutions, of which schools were most prominent. Black schools such as
Chisholm High School were shuttered and students were forced to white schools.
“We went from our schools, which were a thing of great pride, to their schools,
where we were tolerated.” Principals, teachers, and other staff, were often demoted
or put into roles well below their skill level.

Chisholm Wildcat
Chisholm Wildcat located at Babe James Center in New Smyrna Beach

As Chisholm student Michael Williams relates, “It was a neighborhood school, principals and teachers went to the same church, and these people were our role models.”

Roy Brooks, a 1968 Chisholm graduate stated, “At Chisholm, we had personal contact, not only between the teachers with the students, but also the teachers with the parents.” This interaction is something that is missing in the world of education today.

Chisholm High School can trace its roots to the turn of the 20th century. It was then that Leroy Chisholm, a local barber, turned two adjoining houses into classrooms for black children. Chisholm would later fund the Chisholm Academy, a school for middle school aged children. When grades 10 through 12 were added to the Academy, the name was changed to Chisholm High School.

Chisholm High School was closed after the 1969 academic year but its legacy is
not forgotten. The Chisholm Alumni Association is rightfully proud of their
school. On July 14, 2012, the association dedicated a monument on the site of the
Babe James Center in the heart of the Historic West Side of New Smyrna Beach.

The text of the marker reads:

Chisholm Family Tree
Chisholm Family Tree plaque dedicated in 2012

The Chisholm Family Tree

As a mainstay of shaping and cultivating
Our academic growth and maturity, we
Reflect on our proud high school heritage.
We hereby salute the students who
Attended Chisholm High twelve days,
Twelve months, twelve years; teachers
Who inspired and encouraged us;
Administrators and staff who nurtured us.
You were there for us! Let this monument
Be a reminder of our educational, cultural,
Athletic, and social experiences as we
Prepared for a whole new world. We heard
Your words, “Depart from here and use

 

Chisholm Family Tree Wall
Center panel of the Chisholm Family Tree Wall

Your mind toward making a resounding
Positive impact on the lives of others and
This world.” The Chisholm Family Tree Wall
Is dedicated to you and all the Chisholm
Family members world-wide. Thank you
For the memories and we are forever
Grateful. Come back again for a visit.

 

 

Chisholm Family Tree Wall Full View
Chisholm Family Tree Wall Full View

“Oh Chisholm High Forever Our Dear Alma mater Dear”

Dedicated on this date July 14, 2012 and sponsored by
Chisholm High Alumni Association

 

 

 

 

If you have information on Chisholm High School you would like to share, please
reach out to me or leave a comment to this post.

To learn more about Chisholm High School I recommend contacting the Mary S.
Harrell Black Heritage Museum.

In addition, you should reach out to the New Smyrna Museum of History.

The Chisholm High Alumni Organization has a Facebook page. If you attended
Chisholm High School, you are encouraged to get in touch with them.

Sources:

Daytona Beach News Journal July 14, 2018

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 


Essence

from: College Subscription Services LLC

Written with the African American woman in mind, Essence discusses a wide array of topics including fashion, entertainment, beauty tips, and culture. Click the link or the image for exclusive deals on a subscription and begin enjoying issues shortly.

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Bataan-Corregidor World War II Monument in Kissimmee, Florida

The fall of Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippine islands to Japanese forces were arguably the
worst defeats of United States forces during World War II.

General Douglas MacArthur. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

In VERY simplified form, General Douglas MacArthur and his troops in the Philippines were tasked with holding back the advancing Japanese Imperial Army. Their objective was to keep Japan out of the American territory of the Philippine Islands.

General MacArthur consolidated his troops on the Bataan Peninsula where a combined force of American and Filipino troops were able to hold back the onslaught of Japanese troops for three months, a crucial delay to the plans of Japanese leadership.

After escaping Corregidor during the night of March 12, 1942, General MacArthur later uttered his famous “I Shall Return” speech, a promise he made good on in 1944.

On April 9, 1942, Bataan fell. Major General Edward P. King surrendered the allied troops to Major General Kameichiro Nagano, beginning what would become a further nightmare for the already hungry and weary troops. The surrender of Bataan would lead to the surrender of Corregidor less than a month later.

A Map Showing the Route of the Bataan Death March

 

It was at this point, where Japanese soldiers ordered their prisoners into a series of marches that collectively are known as the Bataan Death March. This march was approximately 65 miles with little to no food and water.

Online sources vary as to the number of prisoners and to the number who perished. A good estimate as to the number of prisoners forced into the march is 75-80,000 combined U.S. and Philippine troops. Death estimates from the forced march and conditions at Camp O’Donnell range to as high as 20,000 soldiers.

The Monument

Fast forward to the 1990s in the city of Kissimmee, FL. In 1991, the city approved the project and dedicated a quarter acre plot at Monument Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard for the erection of a memorial honoring those who served in the Philippines during World War II. The men who spearheaded the project were former Kissimmee City Commissioner Richard Herring and resident Menandro de Mesa who founded the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation. The Foundation set a goal of raising the roughly $125,000 needed for the creation and installation of the monument. The Osceola County Tourist Development Council contributed $10,000 toward the goal.

A Tribute to Courage
A Tribute to Courage

Sculptor Sandra Mueller Storm received the commission to create the haunting memorial. Storm is a renowned artist with multiple large commissions to her credit including “The Courage to Challenge” in Vierra, FL, “Called to Serve” in Hillsboro, KS, and “Melody of Arts” in Panama City, FL. Her work is featured in major collections throughout the country. In discussing her work she stated, “I think my major strength as a sculptor is the intensity of my involvement in what I create in bronze and the emotional impact my sculptures have on those who view them. Teaching sculpture for many years has also showed me how art can change lives, especially of children and the elderly.”

General Bruce Holloway who gave one of the speeches at the monument dedication. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

On Saturday, May 20, 1995, a day in which Florida spring rains would not hold off, the city unveiled the life sized bronze statue to a crowd of several hundred. The program included a wreath laying, and keynote speeches from Philippine Brigadier General Tagumpay Nanadiego and retired United States General Bruce Holloway.

The statue features three figures huddled together showing the pain and desperation of the march. The scene depicts a Filipina woman offering care and water to two soldiers, one Filipino and the other American.

Dedication Plaque
Dedication Plaque for the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial at Lakefront Park in Kissimmee, FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

The text of the dedication plaque reads:

This monument is dedicated to the Americans and Filipinos who served in defense of democracy in the Philippines during World War II, especially in Bataan and Corregidor and on the infamous death march.

Photos of the monument

A View of the Full Monument
Detail of the Pain Soldiers and Civilians Felt
Anguish on the Face of a Filipina Woman Providing Water to Philippine and U.S. Soldiers
Pained Soldiers Who Were on the Bataan Death March Receiving Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964

 

 

Resources

For those wanting to learn more about the Philippines in World War II there are many excellent resources to consider. I recommend taking a look at these four titles.

Bataan Death March A Survivors Account
The Bataan Death March: Life and Death in the Philippines During World War II

Triumph in the Philippines


 

 

 

 

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


World War II

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Every student of World War II should subscribe to World War II. Written by experts and beautifully illustrated you will save each issue. Click the photo or the link to receive exclusive savings offers on this title and hundreds more. Your first issue will be in your mailbox before you know it.

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The Legend of Spook Hill in Lake Wales, FL

An old black and white image, complete with a mischievously smiling ghost,
announces Spook Hill to drivers with the following improbable legend.

Courtesy Florida Memory

Many years ago an Indian village on Lake Wales was plagued by raids of a huge gator. The chief, a great warrior, killed the gator in a battle that created a small lake. This chief was buried on the north side. Pioneer mail riders first discovered their horses laboring down the hill, thus naming it “Spook Hill.” When the road was paved, cars coasted up hill. Is this the gator seeking revenge, or is the chief still trying to protect his land??? Stop on white line, take your car out of gear, and let it roll back.

 

 

Lake Wales

Located in Lake Wales, Florida, a town of around 17,000 in Polk County, Spook
Hill has been confusing, astounding, and frightening visitors since at least the
1950s.

Lake Wales itself is unique in that it is built upon what is now called the Lake
Wales Ridge. This 150-mile long ridge contains some of the highest geological
spots in Florida. During the period when Florida was submerged underneath the
Atlantic Ocean, this ridge often rose above the waters as a series of islands.

In the early years of settlement, the area remained largely uninhabited. This was
due to the difficulties in reaching the area. The elevation, along with a lack of
roads and railroads, allowed the area to remain immune to the development
occurring along the coastlines. The area was prime for human habitation however.
Wide-open lands were perfect for agriculture and cattle while abundant forests
provided timber and turpentine.

In 1879, a surveyor by the name of Sidney Irving Wailes, named a small lake in
the area Lake Wailes. By 1911, the economic potential of the land was better
understood and the Lake Wales Land Company was founded by a group of four
businessmen.

Changing the name from Wailes to Wales, these men set out to establish a lakeside
community that would develop from exploiting the lands. By 1912, the turpentine
industry was rapidly growing and the developers worked to create infrastructure
around the fledgling operation. A school and the Hotel Wales were soon
constructed helping attract visitors and permanent residents.

In less than a decade, the Lake Wales area was unrecognizable to those who might
have seen the area at the turn of the century. The citrus industry exploded,
providing jobs for many and wealth to a few. Attractions such as Bok Tower
Gardens helped attract tourists.

Bok Tower
Courtesy Florida Memory

Bok Tower Gardens is named for Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward William
Bok. Bok was editor of Ladies Home Journal and was a leader in promoting social
causes while also championing the Arts and Crafts style of architecture. Opened to
much fanfare in 1929 by Calvin Coolidge, Bok Gardens proved popular with the
Tin Can Tourists of the day.

Today, the property located at the highest elevation in Florida, encompasses more
than 130 acres. The primary attractions are the Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.
designed gardens and the singing tower, designed by architect Milton B. Medary.
Admission to the park is less than $20 for those ages 5+. Admission to El Retiro, a
twenty room home, 1930s Mediterranean style mansion that was acquired by the
Bok Tower Foundation in 1970 requires a separate admission fee. The Gardens
were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and El Retiro was
added in 1985.

 

Want to learn more about the beautiful area of Lake Wales? Take a look at this book from the Arcadia Publishing, Images of American series.  

Pirate Legend of Spook Hill

Barney’s Tavern, the creator of a Spook Hill legend. Courtesy Florida Memory

As might be expected, there are numerous legends regarding Spook Hill in addition to the gator fighting Indian chief. Many years ago, the local restaurant Barney’s Tavern published a leaflet claiming to tell the “real” story of Spook Hill. Barney’s claimed that pirate with the clever name of Captain Gimme Sarsparilla retired to Lake Wales. Pirate Teniente Vanilla joined the Captain upon his retirement.

The legend continues that when Vanilla died he was buried at the foot of Spook Hill and Sarsparilla ended up at the bottom of Lake Wales. Centuries later, a man parked his car at the bottom of Spook Hill so that he could go fishing. He just happened to park on the unmarked grave of Vanilla. The eternal slumber of Vanilla now disturbed, he called out to Sarsparillia for help who rose from his underwater grave and pushed the car off Vanilla’s resting spot. If you stop at the bottom of Spook Hill, the same will happen to your car.

The real reason behind Spook Hill

The Legend of Spook Hill
Image courtesy Florida Memory

The true explanation is much less fanciful and quite a bit more boring. According to the National Register of Historic Places application for Spook Hill, this is what is known as a gravity hill optical illusion. Here, the southern end of the site is at the start of a shallow upwards incline along North Wales Drive. The incline becomes steeper moving toward Burns Avenue. The transition point from shallow to steep is marked as the starting point. Here, while facing north on the one-way street, a driver is to put their car into neutral, and slowly roll backwards downhill while they feel as if they are being pulled uphill. The illusion is caused by the geography of the area. The view of the horizon is blocked by the higher hill.

 

 

Is Spook Hill Unique?

Lake Wales is not unique in having a Spook Hill. Other similar locations have been
documented such as Confusion Hill in Pennsylvania; Gravity Hill in Maryland; and
Mystery Spot in Michigan.

If you have ever visited Spook Hill, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Want a Spook Hill postcard of your own? Check out these options on ebay!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may
receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views
and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors
providing products.

 

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Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, Florida: A Must See if You are “On the Road”

Jack Kerouac House
1418 Clouser Avenue
Orlando, FL 32804

By Kerouac_by_Palumbo.jpg: Tom Palumbo from New York, NY, USA derivative work: Sir
Richardson at en.wikipedia – This file was derived from: Kerouac by Palumbo.jpg:, CC BY-SA
2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85963062

When most people think of the Beat Generation, certain visuals often come to mind.
Unemployed young adults, sitting around a coffee house in San Francisco, smoking away, rambling on self-importantly about books most of main stream America has never read seems to often fit the description. These descriptors are really about beatniks and not a literary movement. For those a bit more acquainted with the Beat Generation, certain names will come immediately to mind; Kerouac, Burroughs, Kesey, Ginsberg, and maybe even Ferlinghetti. Literature titles such as Howl, Naked Lunch, and On the Road are probably the most famous. Despite the passage of nearly seventy years, these books and others of the movement are still in print and widely read today.

In July of 1957, only months before the groundbreaking On the Road would receive tremendous praise in the New York Times, the then 32-year-old Kerouac rented a small apartment for him and his mother. The home did not have air conditioning and the Florida heat was almost too much for Kerouac, who took to writing at night. Today, visitors to the city of Orlando have the opportunity to see the home where Jack Kerouac and his mother lived during 1957, the year that catapulted him to fame.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac                                                                The praise was not to be long, nor universal. The beatnik movement seemed to take over. Musician David Amram believes that the beatnik movement was a manufactured one, arguing Beat writers such as Kerouac were not the goateed, beret wearing, pretentious types. Rather, he described themselves as hicks, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. Author Bob Kealing, a noted Kerouac expert, has put forth that Kerouac himself claimed that those of the Beat Generation “were searching for spiritual truth and meaning beyond the confines of post-World War II life.” This search is what confounded and worried critics.

Meanwhile, in his small Orlando apartment, Kerouac continued typing away on his follow-up, to
be titled Dharma Bums. In a rapid fire twelve days of output, Kerouac finished the novel on
December 7, 1957, Pearl Harbor Day. Kealing reminds us that to Kerouac, the term “dharma”
meant truth.

In April 1958, Jack and his mother packed into a station wagon owned by Robert Frank and
made off for Long Island, New York. Dharma Bums was published in October of that year.
Fame was not something Kerouac was ever comfortable with, nor does it seem that he sought it
out. Kerouac was to become too familiar with the bottom of a bottle, and on October 21, 1969, at
age 47, he died a painful death from cirrhosis of the liver. His remains were transported to
Lowell, Massachusetts, where he was buried at Edson Cemetery.

Jack Kerouac House, Orlando, FL

Listed today on the National Register of Historic Places, the future of the Orlando, Florida Kerouac House was not always assured. Once it was determined that this location was the residence of Kerouac during a critical time in the author’s life, efforts began in order to purchase and rehabilitate the house. Led by Kealing, former bookstore owners Marty and Jan Cummins, and others, they founded the not-for-profit Kerouac Project of Orlando. With the generous financial support of Jeffrey Cole and Cole National, they were able to purchase and rehabilitate the house. Today, the Project provides several writer in residence opportunities each year, allowing the visiting author to live and work in the home made famous by Jack Kerouac.

The home is not open to the public. Those wishing to see the house may drive by and briefly stop to take it in. There is not public parking available and this is a residential area so please be mindful of those who live in the area and if you are taking photos be on the watch for traffic. A state of Florida historical marker is on-site. The text reads

State of Florida Historic Marker–Jack Kerouac House Orlando, FL

Writer Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) lived and wrote in this 1920s tin-roofed house between 1957 and 1958. It was here that Kerouac received instant fame for publication of his bestselling book, On the Road, which brought him acclaim and controversy as the voice of The Beat Generation. The Beats followed a philosophy of self-reliance and self-expression. The unedited spontaneity of Kerouac’s prose shocked traditional writers, yet it brought attention to a legion of emerging poets, musicians, and artists who lived outside the conventions of post-World War II America. Photographs show Kerouac in the house’s back bedroom, with piles of pocket notebooks in which he scrawled thoughts and dreams while traveling. In April 1958, following completion of his follow-up novel, The Dharma Bums, and a play, the Beat Generation, Kerouac moved to Northport, New York. He died in 1969 at the age of 47. In 1996, author Bob Kealing discovered the house’s significance while researching an article to mark Kerouac’s 75th birthday. In 1998, The Kerouac Project established a retreat here for aspiring writers in tribute to him. In 2013, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To learn more about Jack Kerouac and his time in Florida, readers should find a copy of Bob Kealing’s excellent book, Kerouac in Florida.

Readers wishing to learn more about the Beat Generation, I recommend Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America, or perhaps Women of the Beat Generation: the Writers, Artists, and Muses at the Heart of a Generation. 

Sources:
Florida Master Site File, OR8407

Kealing, Bob. Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends. Arbiter Press, 2004.

Kealing, Bob. “The Road to Kerouac: He Came to Orlando in 1957.” Oorlrlando Sentinel. March 9,
1997.

National Park Service. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Jack Kerouac
House. 2013.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

Desolate Angel

Women of the Beat Generation

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

Allen Ginsberg, Howl
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs




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Personal Updates and a New Start

First off, my apologies. My posts have been erratic at best but they should become more regular soon. Life has been pretty hectic but a couple of things are calming down or going away. I will have more time to devote to this page.

First off, for those who know me, you will know I have been attending graduate school. I am happy to announce that I have completed my degree and shortly will have my diploma for my M.A. in History with a specialization in Public History. Thank you to my professors and fellow students at American Public University System for helping me make this a reality. There was no way I was going to be able to do this at a traditional school with my work and personal demands. The closest institution offering such a degree is an hour and a half drive each way, if not longer due to traffic. Working a full time job and trying to handle that was never going to work.  Don’t be afraid to try one of the major online universities.

Second, I have been hard at work on a manuscript for Arcadia Publishing. I am happy to report that I am in the home stretch on this book and will soon be submitting the manuscript for review. The working title is Hidden History of Civil War Florida. I am working on image captions currently. After that, another read through to find what are no doubt even more errors or areas that need rework. My goal is to submit on Valentine’s Day. We’ll see. This will be my fifth book with Arcadia and I hope it to be my best and most widely received. I will be sure to keep everybody informed and let you see the cover once designed.

So, let me know, what would you like for me to write about in this blog? Are there history or travel subjects you think would be interesting. Florida based is preferred at this point but there’s no real need to limit things. Book reviews? Restaurant or travel reviews? Public art displays? Museum exhibits?