Famous Bridges of Florida Before They Grew Up

Skywayaccident

Skywayaccident” by St. Petersburg Times. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.
With so much water in and around the state it’s not difficult to find famous bridges of Florida.  So I’ll start at the beginning, and list two that I know something about personally.

Right after I moved into the state, I remember the story of the ship that hit the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, over in Tampa (on the west coast), knocking out a section of the road. It happened in 1980 one morning when people were driving to work, or wherever they were headed at 7:30 am.   There was a storm and the downpour of rain, that is typical in the state, left drivers with nearly zero visability.

The ship took out a section of the bridge and vehicles just drove off into the water, never realizing that the bridge had vanished out from under them!  And it was a very long fall into the water below.  Only one person survived, and the picture above shows a car stopped inches from the edge of the broken road.  How lucky was that guy?  Visit the SkywayDisaster.com site for images, video and names of the dead (35).  It was created as a memorial to the horrible accident.

On a more upbeat note, the reason I decided to mention famous bridges of Florida was that my son, who still lives in Florida, told me that Kenny Chesney had made a music video on the old bridge in DeBary.  It crossed one end of Lake Monroe where the water became a more narrow St. John’s River.  We used that bridge often.  It was part of Rt. 17-92 and was electrically operated to open whenever a large boat needed to pass through.  This of course shut down traffic while the bridge did it’s thing. It was like letting a train pass by when the arms descend at the tracks.   I discovered a picture of it on Wikipedia, and the information there calls it a “swing bridge”.

Alas, the state grew larger with the enormous influx of residents and tourists (can you say Disney?) and it was replaced with a tall, modern bridge that would not hold up people who are always in a hurry these days.  But I have a photo (don’t know where) of my little family (only one son at the time) sitting on the edge of the water doing some fishing near this historic landmark, back when it was in use.  Back before Florida changed, and I didn’t know enough to appreciate it for the more quaint place it was.  I was also not as familiar with the nasty wildlife that could live in Florida freshwater, like alligators and water moccasins, or I never would have sat at the edge of Lake Monroe!

I dislike country music, so I had to watch the video on mute (haha), but there it was, the old bridge I used to drive across and fish near, way back when.  It’s now in a famous country singer’s repertoire.  If country music appeals to you, by all means watch it, or just mute it and watch for the bridge scenes. ;)

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The Surf Shop Story

Quiet Flight surf shop

The Surf Shop on Flagler Ave.

My trip to Florida was a good one. I had a chance to visit with my son and go out on his boat, but the weather was not the greatest.  Although my son had warned me that there had been a lot of rainy days, I expected more sun than rain.  It’s the sunshine state!  I lived there for 27 years and got sick of the sun because there was so much of it! Continue reading

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Don’t Let The Other Guys Win

votingWe are lucky to have the privilege of voting. When I was young I barely paid attention to politics of any kind, and usually I only voted in the presidential election. Even then I was very uninformed. I let other people tell me who I should vote for and I followed the advice of friends. I think they were just as uninformed as I was. We voted because of ridiculous qualities that had nothing to do with how well the President could run things. Continue reading

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Shells I Found on New Smyrna Beach

shell in the sand

Sharks Eye Shell

I took advice from the research I’ve done about shelling and pocketed some little seashells from my recent trip to New Smyrna Beach.

I found living shells, like this little shark’s eye, which I photographed and left alone. But not much else down near the water.

We went onto the beach at the Flagler Ave. entrance and headed north to park the car.  I saw a few sea turtle nests roped off with yellow tape, up near the dune area where cars are not allowed.  After swimming and boogie boarding for a bit, I took a break from the water and went in search of treasures at the high tide line. Continue reading

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The Famous Fort in St. Augustine That Was Built of Seashells

the Castillo de San Marcos fort

Tourist Attraction in St. Augustine, Florida

Photo credit: By National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – click the photo to visit the page.

I find the history of the fort  in St. Augustine, Florida fascinating. Located on the east coast of Florida, the Castillo de San Marcos (which means St. Mark’s Castle) is right on the Intracoastal Waterway.  Today it serves as a tourist attraction with many visitors trudging over those thick walls each day, but it was built long ago to protect the people of a Spanish settlement.

The Spanish settled in the St. Augustine in 1565 and built forts of wood which were too easily destroyed.  Flimsy wood was either burned by attackers, or destroyed by storms. They needed a better and sturdier line of defense.  So they came up with an ingenious idea. Continue reading

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