Think you know about Florida? Well, whether you are a native or visitor to the ‘Sunshine State’, there are many surprising facts and interesting stories about the state. Selected below are many of the tales about locations and people in Florida.
Seahunt, the TV show, starring Lloyd Bridges was filmed at Silver Springs (central west portion of FL) between 1958 and 1961.
Before the U. S. Coast Guard, there were stations built along the Atlantic coast to help ships and crews in distress. Only one remains, Gilbert’s House of Refuge in Martin County, north of Palm Beach.
The Everglades National Park borders the city of Greater Miami to the west and the Biscayne National Park is to the east of the city.
Florida has two rivers with the same name but in different locations. The Withlacoochee River in central Florida near Orlando is 86 miles long and flows out into the Gulf of Mexico. Withlacoochee River in the northern section of Florida originates in Georgia and flows into northern Florida.
The Prins Valdemar was a well-known sailing ship from the late 1800s into the 1920s. After it was turned on its side by strong winds in the Miami Channel, the owner converted it into a marine-life aquarium, known for decades as the “Miami Aquarium.”
The construction of the first graded road in Florida was in 1765. It is named ‘Old Kings Road’ and was named for King George of England. It was constructed with crushed coquina shells. It runs from the southeastern border of Georgia south to New Smyrna Beach.
Delray Beach has the only museum in the United States solely to promote Japanese lifestyle and culture. It is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
The longest continuous sidewalk in the world is located in Tampa. It is near Tampa Bay and is called Bayshore Boulevard. It is four and half miles long.
One of the nine conspirators in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and other governmental officials in 1865 was a 21-year-old Florida boy named Lewis Thornton Powell, from Live Oak and Oviedo, Florida. All the other conspirators were from the Maryland, Washington, D.C. or Pennsylvania regions.
The state song for Florida is Old Folks at Home which refers to the Suwannee River in northern Florida. The author was Stephen Foster, who never visited Florida or viewed the Suwannee River.
The oldest liberal arts college in Florida is Rollins College located in Winter Park and opened in 1885.
Florida has over 800 miles of beaches.
Some towns have changed their names over the years. Gainesville was once called “Hogtown”, Stuart was known as “Potsdam” and Jacksonville was once named “Cowford.”
The village of Boggy (named for the nearby bayou) was renamed Niceville in November 1910. By May 1910 it was renamed Valparaiso. A New Valparaiso town sprang up a mile away and caused confusion. The original Valparaiso returned to its second name, Niceville, in November 1925. Today it is still Niceville, located in Florida’s panhandle, near Eglin’s Air Force Base.
The St. John’s River in northeast Florida flows north and is 273 miles in length.
The town of Christmas was originally named Fort Christmas because it was constructed around Christmas in 1837.
The city of Key West refers to themselves as “The Conch Republic”, with the slogan, ‘We Seceded Where Others Failed.’
Many German POW camps were scattered across Florida during World War II, including one near the sugarcane fields south of Lake Okeechobee. The prisoners worked at harvesting the sugar.
Refrigeration and eventually air-conditioning was developed by Dr. John Gorrie around 1851 in Apalachicola to help his patients who suffered from malaria and yellow fever.
The smallest populated county in Florida is Liberty, west of Tallahassee. It has about 7,775 citizens.
Where Alabama and Florida meet along the gulf coast there is annual fundraiser called ‘The Mullet Toss’ held every April. Individuals on the beach, standing on the Alabama side tossing a dead mullet (a fish) over the state border into Florida. All the fish are later fed to the birds.
Pink flamingos get their color from eating shrimp.
The Thunderbird Drive-In theater in Fort Lauderdale had 13 screens in 1963 and was one of the largest in the country.
Less than one-third of Florida’s present-day population were born in Florida.
The official state pie is Key Lime Pie, which was first developed in the late 1880s.
Spook Hill in Lake Wales is amazing. Cars can place their vehicle in neutral and then the car will roll uphill on its own. It is actual a gravity hill where what you see is an optical illusion.
To drive from Pensacola in the panhandle of Florida to Key West is a total of 792 miles.
The highest rate of lightening strikes per capita not only in Florida but in the United States occur in Clearwater (near St. Petersburg).
Lake Okeechobee is 700 square miles in size.
The warmest temperature recorded in Florida was 109 in June 1931.