Before the theme parks central Florida had the "Monument of States", a monolith built of rock and concrete in celebration of the USA.
The monument was the brainchild of Dr. Charles Bressler-Pettis, a local tourist booster who wanted to show the solidarity of the states after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Construction began in 1942 and continued over the years. While the theme parks drew attention away from the monument, it was refurbished in 2001. A local park has grown around the monument and attracts both locals and tourists alike.
All 50 states as well as several foreign countries are part of the monument and surrounding walkways. It is well worth a side trip if visiting the Orlando area.
Two Tampa, Florida Icons built in 1926 are still in use today. The Tampa Theater hosts movies and other events on a regular basis. The Hotel Floridan has been fully refurbished and serves as a hotel, conference center and banquet hall.
Clam Bayou is a small waterway in Gulf Port, Florida. There is a nature park along the bayou that serves as a perfect spot for kayaking, paddle boarding and bird watching. The park includes several boardwalks and observation platforms.
The brown anole is a common sight across Florida. Often referred to as lizards, this highly invasive species was imported to the state from Cuba or the Bahamas. Most Floridians don't mind the little creatures as they eat a lot of bugs.
The distinctive markings on the back of this individual identify it as a female.
This picture was taken at Clam Bayou in Gulf Port, Florida on the west coast of Florida.
When Tropical Storm Debby moved up the west coast of Florida in June of 2012 the storm brought high waters along the shore. The water along the intracoastal waterway rose enough to cover the bottoms of the warning signs on this bridge on Casey Key.
Florida is known as a transplant haven for retirees and folks looking for a warmer client. Because of this many don't think of Florida as a southern state. While this may be true of the coastal areas, the spine of the state is home to old Florida families proud of their southern heritage.
During the United States' Civil War the Confederate Army called on Florida to provide cattle, hogs and other supplies vital to the war effort. Moving these animals north was hard and dangerous work as bears, panthers and humans would spook the animals and kill strays. To protect the caravans the Confederate Army created the "Cow Cavalry" in 1864. Many of the members of these special units were either too old or two young to serve in the regular army.
A monument to local men who served in the "Cow Cavalry" is located outside the old Plant City High School in Plant City, Florida. The school now serves as a community center and is a federal registered historic site.
As hurricanes spin they create "feeder bands", long strings of stormy weather that bring moisture into the storm. These bands can create tornadoes, high winds and heavy rains as they stream overhead. This is one rain storm caused by Hurricane Gustav in 2008 offshore of Venice, Florida.
Many places around the country have signs declaring "Washington slept here" or "On this site" something great happened. In Florida, we commemorate what we can, but is this really something to brag about?
This is a real marker in Ponce de Leon park in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Standpipe connections are used by fire department to supply water to a building's sprinkler system. This connection is on the old Kress building in downtown Tampa. The building was vacant at the time this photo was taken.
Hurricane Sandy never made landfall in the state of Florida, staying well offshore the state's east coast. Still, the massive storm raised high winds and waves on Florida's west coast as it moved northward along the east coast. Here a lone gull avoids the waves crashing over the jetty in Venice, Florida.
This little beach is at the end of the Port Canaveral Barge Canal, a waterway used by cargo and cruise ships as well as naval vessels. Perched along the fringes of an air force base, this is not a public beach.
The Franklin Building in downtown Tampa, Florida is most likely the city's second oldest building. Records are sparse, but it seems the building was built in 1895 and was originally a shoe store. Since then it has been occupied by everything from a ticket office for the railroad to a Burger King. Today it hosts a juice bar and spa.
Fishermen and tourists alike flock to the Anna Maria pier year round. The pier features a restaurant with a great view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Egrets, herons, pelicans and seagulls flock to the pier as well.
In August of 2008 Hurricane Gustav moved past Venice Florida. While The category 2 storm never made landfall in Florida, the high winds and waves caused damage up and down Florida's west coast.
In Venice the waves crashed over the jetty's protecting the Venice Inlet. Here a girl sits on a bench seemingly unaware of the waves crashing behind her.
Black and white view of a beach at the end of the Canaveral Barge Canal on the west coast of Florida. Located on the fringe of an air force base, this beach is not public. The Barge canal serves port Canaveral.
While this particular standpipe connection is no longer in use, it would have been used by the fire department to supply water to the building's sprinkler system in case of fire. This was on the old Kress building in downtown Tampa, Florida.
In coastal towns and cities of Florida's coasts signs such as this are common although newer signs do not specify that the route is for hurricane evacuation.
This particular sign was in Gulf Port, Florida.
The knots rising from the ground around cypress trees are known as cypress knees. The rise from the roots of the trees, but their purpose is not known. They are a common sight in the swamps of Florida.