|A man escapes an alligator |
by climbing a palm tree
in St. Augustine
Source: Univ. of Florida
Digital Archives as seen at
Old Florida’s Facebook page
Larger than life vintage
Florida postcards outside
the Orange County Regional
History Center, Orlando, Florida
Original “tin-can” travel camper turned into a display
at the Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando, Florida
Vintage Florida tourism collage at the Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando, Florida
Last week we visited Orlando, a city that represents more than any in Florida the effects of tourism, for better or worse, on the state. We avoided the Big Mouse and the other theme parks far from the city center, and stayed at an original art deco apartment building within walking distance of downtown. We had a nice meal of delicious Thai food, watched an acoustic guitar player in a pub and walked around the lake at twilight as a hundred ibises settled in the trees for the night.
The next day we visited the charming and well-done Orange County Regional History Center housed in the former county courthouse, built in 1927. It had about a half dozen visitors, in contrast to the tens of thousands at the theme parks and outlet malls a few miles away. We enjoyed the display dedicated to the tin-can tourists who started the tide of travelers almost a century ago. Aptly called “Destination Florida: Tourism Before Disney,” it reminded us that whether at home or on the road, we prefer real places with real histories and people who care about them.