FLORIDA NOSTALGIA

Updated January 30, 2021

Florida Nostalgia is all about the memories of Florida the way it used to be, especially within our own lifetime. The older you are, the more memories you have.

The rapid growth of the state has left many people - especially natives and long time residents - feeling lost and bewildered.

Washing a 1937 Packard in FloridaWashing a 1937 Packard in Florida

Many memories of old Florida places and times trigger our sense of nostalgia.  Many times we look back longingly at the way things used to be. 

Florida has grown so quickly in our lifetimes, that we take comfort in remembering these things.  We have a sentimental yearning for the happiness of former places and times.

The collection of images, postcards, stories, history, and culture on this website try to take us back to these times. 


FLORIDA NOSTALGIA FOR YOU TO ENJOY



Florida Cracker Cowboys by Frederic RemingtonFlorida Cracker Cowboys by Frederic Remington

FLORIDA AUTHORS, BOOKS, and CHARACTERS


Florida Authors.  Learn about writers and how they saw the Florida of their time and place.  Here are biographies and bibliographies of 50 or more authors.

Carl HiassenCarl Hiassen
John D. MacDonaldJohn D. MacDonald
Randy Wayne WhiteRandy Wayne White
Stetson KennedyStetson Kennedy

A Land Remembered
A best selling novel by Patrick Smith that recounts the lives or three generations of a Florida pioneer family as they tame the wilderness and evolve into modern times.   It is perhaps the most popular book ever written about Florida.  


Alas Babylon
This best selling novel from the late 1950s, written by Pat Frank, is based in a town that many think is a thinly disguised Mount Dora, Florida, and describes the way that desperate survivors of a nuclear war struggle to exist.


Naked Came the Manatee
This hilarious crime satirical novel was written by a collaboration of 12 famous Florida authors, each working independently based on the previous chapter they had been give.  Carl Hiassen, Dave Barry, and other well know authors were involved.


Travis McGee
John D MacDonald is the creator of Travis McGee, an adventurer who lives on his houseboat in Fort Lauderdale and is the star of 21 best selling novels.



FLORIDA EPHEMERA: POSTCARDS AND MORE


Florida Citrus Labels are works of art and give you a glimpse into the colorful history of citrus in our state.

Florida Vintage Maps is a collection of maps, including road maps, that show you the way the state was from the very earliest times up until now.


Florida Vintage Postcards capture earlier times and places that are a colorful way to help you enjoy the past.  Some you will remember.



NOSTALGIA FOR PLACES THAT REMAIN ONLY IN MEMORY




LONG GONE FLORIDA RESTAURANTS & LODGING


Branch Ranch Dining Room
This was a traditional old farmhouse restaurant in Plant City that delighted diners for 50 years until closing in 2006.


Brevard Hotel 
This postcard shows the Brevard Hotel on the Indian River in Cocoa, Florida about 1940. It was torn down in 1999 and replaced by a modern high rise …


Chalet Suzanne 
When I first moved to Florida, my job as a civil engineer took me all over the state. When I was down in the Lake Wales area, a special treat was to have …


Church Street Station
This popular entertainment and dining attraction in downtown Orlando prospered from the 1970s to 1990s.  Rosie O'Grady's, Cheyenne Saloon and many others were so popular Church Street Station at its peak was the fourth largest tourist attraction in Florida.


Cobb's Corner
This historic old fish camp became a popular stop for snacks and drinks on the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.  It went out of business in 1972 and was torn down in 2007.


Frances Langford's Outrigger Resort 
In 1969 I was working on the foundation investigation for the future St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Hutchinson Island. I stayed in nearby Fort Pierce …


Gary's Duck Inn
For almost 50 years this Orlando restaurant was a favorite for locals and tourists.  It became the inspiration for the Red Lobster chain.


Holiday House Restaurant
This popular chain once had 14 Central Florida locations.  Now they are gone, but have been superceded by a family owned one under a different name in DeLand.



Horne's Restaurants and Motor Lodges
The chain was once a common sight along Florida roadways.  The yellow roof was their distinctive feature.


Howard Johnson AdHoward Johnson Ad

Howard Johnson's
This popular restaurant and hotel chain was once almost everywhere you'd travel in Florida.  Now they are sadly lost to history.


Kapok Tree
This unusual restaurant in Clearwater was one of the most popular destinations in Florida. It operated from 1958 to 1991.


Lum's Restaurants
This chain started in Miami Beach and grew to 500 stores.  Now all that remains is the memory of its beer steamed hot dogs.


Mama Sagy's Pleasant View Inn 
In 1968 I was working on the foundation exploration for the new nuclear power plant. It was being built on Hutchinson Island about halfway between Fort …


Mathers Bridge Restaurant
Memories of a favorite Merritt Island waterfront treasure that was demolished in 1992.


Top of the Pier, Pier 66, Fort LauderdaleTop of the Pier, Pier 66, Fort Lauderdale

Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale
A favorite spot for a drink was the rotating lounge on top of this Fort Lauderdale landmark.  What a fantastic view it was!


Rainbow Ranch
Located near Big Tree Park in Longwood north of Orlando, this was a popular country western music and dance club that opened in 1960.  It closed after twenty years of entertaining locals and tourist.


Siple's Garden Seat Inn
A Clearwater tradition for 70 years that was voted No. 1 restaurant in Florida 10 times by Florida Trend Magazin.  Closed in 1990.


Webb's City and Doc Webb
This St. Petersburg store was like a Walmart before there was a Walmart. It was also a popular tourist attraction from 1925-1979.


Florida Places We Loved and Lost
This page is a listing summary of the Florida places described in the entries above.


PLACES, THINGS, and STORIES FROM THE PAST


Genius Drive, Winter Park
This canopied drive through an undeveloped Florida estate was loved by peacocks and the many Floridians and tourists who visited.


Christo and the Surrounded Islands
A floating work of art on Miami's Biscayne Bay may have been a turning point in the city's turbulent history.


Espanola, Florida and the Old Brick Road 
Espanola is a little old crossroads community in Flagler County about 5 miles northwest of Bunnell on County Road 13. When you get to Espanola, take …


Flavet Villages at the University of Florida 
I attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida from 1963 until graduation in 1966. It probably would have been too expensive for me to …


"Bullet Bob" Hayes

Florida Black Football Pioneers
It wasn't until the late 1960s that major Florida colleges began to allow black athletes on their teams. Here are some of the first.


Galloping Ghost of Indian Lake Estates
The most famous American athlete of his time chose to live in this isolated lot sales development in the middle of nowhere.


Kenansville: Henry Flagler's Divorce 
Kenansville is a spot on US-441 about halfway between Yeehaw Junction and Holopaw. Most travelers whiz through without knowing anything about the history of how it got its name.


Marco Polo Park PosterMarco Polo Park Poster

Lost Florida Tourist Attractions
Places that were once popular but have now faded into history.  Many of them put out of business when Walt Disney World opened in 1971. Pirate's World, Six Gun Territory, Floridaland, Marco Polo Park and many more.


Nalcrest Florida and The Former Fedhaven
A stretch of Florida State Road 60 runs 45 lonely miles between Lake Wales and Yeehaw Junction. Lots of cattle land on both sides of the road, and few …


Old Wabasso Bridge
A historic bridge across the Indian River north of Vero Beach was dismantled and is in use today at Walt Disney World.


Orange Blossom Special
This luxury train ran from New York to Miami from 1926 to 1953.  Its speed and luxurious features made it famous, but not nearly as famous as the song it inspired.


Florida Backroads Travel Videos
These short 1 to 2 minute videos give you an entertaining preview of what our website is all about.


FLORIDA TALES, BITS AND PIECES


Frank Lloyd Wright Child of the Sun.
The largest single collection of the great architects' buildings is on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Florida Snakes Are Usually Harmless. Usually.
If you are going to travel or live in Florida it is useful to know which snakes are okay and which ones to be afraid of.

Hitler's Yacht
Built in 1938 as Ostwind, she ended up in a Jacksonville boat yard and was scrapped in a watery grave off Miami Beach.

The Mount Dora Unity Archway
The children of Mount Dora got together and created a monument to a beloved woman citizen of the city.

The Galvanized Yankee From Florida
The story of a captured Confederate soldier who was released and served with the Union fighting Indians.

Lewis Plantation and Turpentine Still
This old tourist attraction did okay for a while. It was not in good taste for the changing times, and finally had to close its doors.

Jackie Gleason's Grave
The great entertainer and actor rests peacefully in Doral, Florida.  His epitaph demonstrates his sense of humor.

My Life in the Everglades 
My family has lived in the Florida Everglades for generations. When I was born, my destiny was pretty much the same as everyone in my family who had come …

Brevard Good Ole Boys 
Viera is a sprawling Brevard County planned development located between Rockledge and Melbourne on both sides of I-95. Thousands of people live in the …

Brevard Hotel 
This postcard shows the Brevard Hotel on the Indian River in Cocoa, Florida about 1940. It was torn down in 1999 and replaced by a modern high rise …

Chalet Suzanne 
When I first moved to Florida, my job as a civil engineer took me all over the state. When I was down in the Lake Wales area, a special treat was to have …

Mama Sagy's Pleasant View Inn 
In 1968 I was working on the foundation exploration for the new nuclear power plant. It was being built on Hutchinson Island about halfway between Fort …

The Day I Chased Away The Highwaymen 
I went to school to become a civil engineer. There were no art appreciation courses for engineers back in the days I attended the University of Florida. …

Tales of Old Tampa Stadium 
A high school friend of mine, Bill Rademacher, died on April 2, 2018. His death brought back memories of the original Tampa Stadium. I graduated from …

Frances Langford's Outrigger Resort 
In 1969 I was working on the foundation investigation for the future St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Hutchinson Island. I stayed in nearby Fort Pierce …

Frederick Delius House, Jacksonville University 
Some 40 miles south of Jacksonville along SR-13 on the St Johns River is a plaque marking the location of Solano Grove, the home of composer Frederick …

The Old Wabasso Bridge Finds a New Home at Walt Disney World 
To read the full article about the bridge, go to Old Wabasso Bridge This page is for people who would like to comment about their experiences …

Fort Ogden, Arcadia and Ziba King The Florida Cattle Baron 
When Ziba King died in 1901 he reportedly owned 50,000 head of cattle worth $500,000. This represented 10 percent of all the cattle in Florida. He was …

Flavet Villages at the University of Florida 
I attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida from 1963 until graduation in 1966. It probably would have been too expensive for me to …

Kanapaha Botanical Garden, Gainesville, Florida  
I had seen photos of giant water lily pads in a brochure for the 62 acre Kanapaha Botanical Garden many times. I was especially anxious to see them in …

Lake Apopka Loop Trail 
Not long ago I took a nice day trip to Magnolia Park on County Road 437 south of Apopka. The park straddles the highway; on the west side it fronts on …

Silver Springs: Florida Tourist Attraction Closes 
Sunday, September 15, 2013 was the last day of operation for Silver Springs as a private entity. Starting on October 1, 2013 it will be operated as a …

La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie, Gainesville, FL 
Located on the north side of the prairie, not at the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park main entrance on 441 in Micanopy. Pets are not allowed. Open 7 …

Mathers Bridge Restaurant Merritt Island Florida 
You can read the article about the Mathers Bridge Restaurant on our site at MATHERS BRIDGE RESTAURANT The article includes memories that other …

Nalcrest Florida and The Former Fedhaven Florida 
A stretch of Florida State Road 60 runs 45 lonely miles between Lake Wales and Yeehaw Junction. Lots of cattle land on both sides of the road, and few …

Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church
Mount Dora, Florida
 
This old church was built in 1896 and is on Old US-441 south of Mount Dora right behind a Circle K convenience store. Thousands of motorists go by every …

Vernon, Florida. The Movie. 
Vernon is a small town in the Florida panhandle not too far south of the Alabama border. Larger towns in that part of Florida are DeFuniak Springs and …

Eglin Air Force Base: Florida Family History 
Genealogy and family history have always interested me. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized my family has a link with Eglin Air Force Base …

Mount Plymouth, Florida. Al Capone Loved It. 
You can read the article about Mount Plymouth, Florida and Al Capone on our site at MOUNT PLYMOUTH, FLORIDA The article includes memories that …

Theatre of the Sea: A Florida Keys Landmark 
No visit to the Florida Keys was complete without stopping at THEATRE OF THE SEA. Billed as "The World's Second Oldest Marine Life Park", this attraction …

Gamble Plantation Ellenton Florida 
The Gamble Plantation is mentioned in the Heritage section of your website, but I also consider it to be a significant tourist attraction. After the …

The Bee Line Ferry From Bradenton To St Pete 
Do any of you oldtimers remember when the Bee Line Ferry crossed Tampa Bay from Bradenton to St Petersburg? In the old days before the first Sunshine …

Before "Jaws" There Was Gatorland! 
Before Mickey Mouse came to Orlando, the only tourist attraction around to entertain our company was GATORLAND. Walking through the immense open jaws …

Boulogne, Florida
The Town That Lived On Speeders
 
Somewhere just south of the St. Mary's River and the Florida-Georgia border there was a sleepy little wide spot in the road named Boulogne. Rhymes with …

Fort Lauderdale
Pier 66 Where Are You?
 
This page is for you to share your memories of Pier 66. You can visit our page on the history of Pier 66 for more information. Pier 66 Remembered …

Old Venus, A Florida Ghost Town 
Take US-27 north out of Moore Haven and it won't be many miles before you come to Palmdale, a sign on the road, and a little bit further is the road that …

Lake Wales and Small Town Hotels 
Bok Tower Gardens is near Lake Wales, a great little place to visit after your communion with the serenity of Bok Tower. The 1920's were boom times …

Yeehaw Junction 
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED AFTER THE DESERT INN WAS ALMOST DEMOLISHED BY A TRUCK CRASHING INTO IT ON DECEMBER 22, 2019. IT'S PUZZLING IT COULD …

Homosassa: Lost In Time 
Weeki Wachee is a fun place to visit. After you have enjoyed this classic attraction, you might run up US-19 to Homosassa and take a look at the real …

The Darker Side of Jim Crow Florida 
Gus was one of the best men I ever knew. He worked for me on one of the soil testing drill rigs that I ran out of Tampa shortly after I graduated from …



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