Odd Florida, Part 2

Florida is an odd state. This second collection of photos continues to prove it!

ACME Industrial Surplus sells metal to anybody. They have what looks like a concrete astronaut in their yard. It's visible from I-4 in Sanford. I took an exit and stopped for a better look, because it reminds me of MTV. They're open to anyone. If only they did business in my home state!

Not far away is the town of Cassadaga. It was founded by a Northerner to be a camp for trances, mediums, and other spiritualists. I intended to visit the cemetery. There's something there that is called the Devil's Chair. But the cemetery was locked. There was a break in the fence; but, I'm not into trespassing. The town center was crowded with signs for palm readings and healing centers.

In New Smyrna, I found some interesting history. In fact, some believe that this town is older than St. Augustine. Above is a stitched photo of the Turnbull ruins. Some believe it was a Spanish fortress, protecting a colony. Now, it's in Old Fort Park. Click for a larger view.

Before the War Between the States, a hotel was built on the ruins. It was destroyed by Union shelling, as you can read on the plaque, by clicking the photo.

Across the river, there's a grave right in the middle of the road! Young Charles Dummett died at the age of 16 and was buried in a field. Well, Florida, being largely a developer's dream, means that today houses and a street surround his vault. Palm trees and colorful plants provide some sort of reverence, though.

Above is a closer view of the grave.

On the way out of town, I visited the ruins of the Cruger-dePeyster Sugar Mill. A steam-powered mill was funded by New Yorkers in 1830. But the Seminoles burned it down with help of the plantation slaves. Today, it is preserved by the State.

The fields have since been reclaimed by native plants. There's a short nature trail. As I walked it, I wondered if a dinosaur would poke its head out of the foliage!

One weekend, I visited a co-worker's place. He lives outside of the city, so I felt at home. As we were driving on the roads around the Dunnellon Airport--I had expressed interest--we found a grave in the woods. It had been there since before the Army purchased the land and constructed airport, which was used for training pilots during World War II.

I think the first thing most people notice is the Stars and Bars. T.B. Jester obviously had served in the Civil War. Research on the Internet suggests that he was buried in the-now-ghost town of Heidtville. He was born in August of 1841 and died in the same month in 1909. There's nothing left of the town. Click for a view of the headstone.

I'm not being morbid; however, here's another grave! In the Lemon Bay Cemetery, H.H. "Bill" Ainger's grave is shaped like a motorboat. How cool is that?! He was influencial in the shaping of Englewood into a fishing community. Englewood is also in two counties, Sarasota and Charlotte. I'm sure that's some trivial you'll never use, or cared to know Click for a view from the aft.

Examining maps is one of my pasttimes. So when I found this unsual, and large, street configuration; I had to visit it. The two-and-a-half-mile "wheel" is filled with single-family houses and strip malls. Sigh, and I thought I had found something cool. Nope, it's just more of Florida in an arranged format!

The next stop was the Koreshan Historic Site in Estero. This Site is administered by rude Florida State Park Rangers. Originally, a religious sect called this area home, back when it was in the middle of nowhere. The map above shows the layout of the buildings. Established by Dr. Cyrus R. Teed in 1893, the residents believed in communal living with equal education and social equality for all.

That's all well and good; but, what attracted me is their belief that the universe was entirely contained inside the earth! Yup, the lights in the night sky are reflections that escape from inside our planet. It's a good thing they died out before the moon landings of the 1960s. Though, I think they may have been partaking of "the goodies" of the Swinging Sixties! And it wasn't sex, because their religion specified celebacy. Click for an informative explanation of this out of--er, into-this earth theory.

They did know a thing or two about generating electricity. One the outbuildings still houses a steam-power electric generator. Two cylinders burned diesel and turned a flywheel, and a series of belts.

Belts were run to the two, nearby machine shops. The machines in one are pictured above. That's cool and made the $4 entrance fee worthwhile.

My final stop was Manatee Park in Morse Shores. The nearby power plant (to the right, out of frame) discharges warm water into a canal. Manatees swim into the channel and hang out when the Gulf of Mexico becomes too cool. The Park has observation areas with thermometers that show the temperature of the canal water. I saw many manatees. Unfortunately, it's difficult to take a photograph of one. This is the best shot I got!

The hour just flew by. I enjoyed watching these mammals. According to the informational plaques around the Park, they're surprisingly similar to humans. What a pleasant way to round out a trip page!

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