Winner of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Statewide Award for 2009. This account of growing up on Caladesi Island by the only child ever born there captures the natural wonders, discomforts, challenges, and joys of pioneer life on a Florida West Coast barrier island. Betz narrates the story from when her father, Henry Scharrer, first arrived in America from Switzerland in 1883 until his death in 1934. More than 130 historic illustrations and a comprehensive timeline complete the story.
It was a time when the United States exploded in war and its people battled for the nation’s soul after peace finally arrived; yet, up until now no one has lifted for Tampans the heavy curtain that has barred them from the sight of their own dynamic Civil War and Reconstruction past. Instead of the mostly tranquil scenes of early Tampa previously depicted as the remote Gulf village of the 1860s and 1870s, historian Canter Brown Jr., here reveals a place and time teeming with conflict, danger, treachery, privations, and disasters natural and man-made. But, that is not all. The book sensitively explores the quiet and sometimes not-so-quiet heroism of men and women, black and white, who held their community together and who doggedly persisted in the belief that a better day would come. Brown’s narrative style draws the reader into the lives and experiences of historical characters and pursues the twists and turns that often reveal seemingly clear actions and motivations to be something else entirely. One remarkable passage typifies many others as it explores how a lionized Confederate hero’s heralded defiance of Union authority actually constituted a blunder that almost resulted in Tampa’s complete destruction. Based on superb research into previously neglected primary sources, Tampa in Civil War and Reconstruction offers a compelling and complex view of the period’s impact upon a tiny civilian outpost that would grow to be one of Florida’s and the nation’s great cities. This is a history that resonates with insight and humanity. This is a story that you will want to read and to share.
Tampa’s story stretches back 175 years to a remote military outpost carved from Florida’s untamed swamps and jungles. Early residents survived intense heat, humidity, tropical diseases, hurricanes, and even Indian attacks to establish Fort Brooke, and later to develop the village they called Tampa. As historian Canter Brown, Jr., observes in his introduction, “Its subsequent history involved fascinating tales of remarkable people engaged in significant events that continue to resonate in our lives today.”
Tampa Before the Civil War provides the best available account of the early years of one of Florida’s most important cities. And while it communicates the dates and facts, including the results of the latest historical research, it does much more than that. This book captures the drama, adventure, and complexity of the early pioneers and soldiers. At its heart are the people who gave the settlement its character and culture: “Those people, much more so than with the populations of many Florida and southern cities, hailed from a broad range of backgrounds, origins, and ethnic roots. Diverse from its beginnings, the city grew to occupy a special place in Florida’s history and in the hearts of its residents.” Here is history you can bring to life and take to heart.
Edited with an introduction and notes by R. Wayne Ayers
Though Spanish fishermen from Cuba camped on the key, and native Tocobaga Indians visited in an earlier era, the beaches were virtually unsettled when George Lizotte arrived. An early postcard of Lizotte on a fishing skiff shows the island’s only two structures. They were the home of original settler Captain Zephaniah Phillips and a tent erected by Lizotte to house workers building his Hotel Bonhomie. George Lizotte would figure prominently in the barrier islands’ history, both as an observer and participant. As an eyewitness to the events taking place, Lizotte gives a fascinating inside look at the Gulf beaches’ transformation from a primitive settlement to a major tourist destination.
“The African American experience in Florida from the Spanish era to today, within the regional and national context, is presented by Florida A&M University in original scholarly essays and classic selections in Go Sound The Trumpet! Selections in Florida’s African American History edited by David H. Jackson Jr. and Canter Brown Jr . . . A much needed addition to Florida history as an African American history reader, ideally suited for schools. Clearly written, it contains 367 pages, 55 illustrations, and index.” —Book Reviewer Spessard Stone in Cracker Barrel
Rediscovered after more than a century of neglect, this important 1879 collection of poems by the first African American ever elected to the U.S. Congress will surprise and move new generations of readers. J. Willis Menard grew up in frontier Illinois as a virtual neighbor of Abraham Lincoln, went on to serve in the Lincoln administration, and later became an influential editor, journalist, and political activist in Florida, where he was also elected to the Florida State Legislature.
For the first time in print since the 1879 edition, the poems gain new resonance thanks to accompanying essays and notes by the editors—Larry Eugene Rivers, Richard Mathews, and Canter Brown Jr. Here is a rich and inspiring book brimming with history, intellect, emotion, and literary grace.
Compiled by Myrtle Scharrer Betz’s granddaughters Terry Fortner and Suzanne Thorp
“Caladesi Cookbook: Recipes from a Florida Lifetime is pure delight. More than simply a good cookbook, it is a touching story of a lost and vanishing Florida—Myrtle’s granddaughters, Terry Fortner and Suzanne Thorp, have lovingly compiled not simply the recipes, but the memories and stories that make Caladesi Cookbook: Recipes from a Florida Lifetime a culinary and historic treasure.” – from the foreword by Gary Mormino
Zephyrhills has a rich history that is full of surprising facts and engaging anecdotes. The story of its people and what they have achieved is told here in a collection of articles arranged from A to Z, spanning more than a hundred years of dynamic change in the Sunshine State.
Read about the city’s earliest days in the late 1800s when it was known as Abbott; its settlement by Civil War veterans; the pioneer citizens who found happiness around idyllic Zephyr Lake; the successes and trials of the entrepreneurs who sought their fortunes in endeavors as diverse as manufacturing, the lumber industry, and roadside attractions. Follow the story from A to Z — from Abbott to Zephyrhills — and discover how a whistle-stop dot on the map grew into the charming “City of Pure Water,” whose name has become synonymous with the country’s best spring water.
The book is generously illustrated with nearly 100 photographs and other images.
The Letters and Journals of Col. William S. Foster in the Second Seminole War, 1836-1839
Col. William S. Foster arrived in Florida after the commencement of the Second Seminole War and served under such famous generals as Edmund Gaines, Thomas Jesup, and Zachary Taylor. Using recently discovered letters and journals of Colonel Foster, John and Mary Lou Missal have brought to life an important chapter in the history of the nation’s longest, costliest, and deadliest Indian war.
“This book has proven beyond question the rich diversity of Tampa’s heritage and the lasting contribution of African Americans to our city. Rowena Brady’s accomplishment is an outstanding one, and her book is a delightful journey through Tampa’s past.” —The Honorable Dick Greco, Mayor, City of Tampa
Memoirs of a University Presidency, 1958-1971
Dr. David Delo presents a vivid picture of the scope of problems and issues that a successful university president must address. These memoirs bring to life a man who did successfully encompass that full spectrum with intelligence, leadership, and grace.
This classic history of the Second Seminole War has been a rare collector’s item, and nearly impossible to find at any price. Now this affordable reproduction in a quality paperback edition from the Seminole Wars Historic Foundation adds a portrait of the author and a drawing of Fort King from his journal.
Dr. Joe Knetsch, Historian for the Florida Governor and Cabinet, writes: “The study of the Second Seminole War begins and ends with the writings of John T. Sprague. . . . It can truly be said that without this volume, any understanding of the Second Seminole War has no foundation. It is simply that essential.”
In 1905, Sam Stein, a young Jewish immigrant from Russia, arrived in New York with $43 in his pocket and dreams of building a better life. David J. Ginzl documents the history of a company that is also the story of a remarkable family and the business three generations built together, from an immigrant peddler working the Mississippi Delta to a national retail chain with corporate offices in Jacksonville, Florida. Reading the book, one realizes that the mythical Horatio Alger success story popularized in the nineteenth century was reenacted in real life by young immigrants and American dreamers well into the twentieth century.
They created a civilized society long before Europeans arrived in the New World, helped establish Tampa as the nation’s cigar capital, led Florida’s first statewide suffrage movement, built ships during World War II, and pioneered movements in fields ranging from real estate development to social service that forged the community’s character. These are the Real Women whose lives and times author Doris Weatherford has collected for this comprehensive review of Tampa and Hillsborough County women from prehistory to the millennium.
This revised and updated edition, now for the first time in paperback, includes a new foreword by Pam Iorio, mayor of Tampa from 2003-2011, and a new afterword by historian Canter Brown, Jr., who offers a look at the decade since the original publication of the book in 2004.
Distinguished historian Canter Brown Jr., combines interviews and meticulous research to preserve and convey the rich history of Polk County, Florida, in the second half of the twentieth century. “Canter Brown’s prose crackles with pulsating human energy,” writes James M. Denham, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Florida History at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. “This excellent, well-written, comprehensive study of Polk County, Florida, will inform natives, newcomers, public policy makers, or anyone else who yearns to understand the bracing—and sometimes unsettling—changes in Florida’s central heart since the Great Depression.”
This long-awaited companion volume to Citrus, Sawmills, Critters, & Crackers: Life in Early Lutz and Central Pasco County (now out of print) will be treasured by historians and residents alike. The authors have compiled a remarkable collection of unique documents, family photographs, oral histories, significant facts, and illuminating commentaries that preserve a rapidly vanishing Florida pioneer history. Here is a milestone work that traces agriculture and commerce, presents original maps of businesses and historic landmarks, affirms local customs and traditions, and sets new standards for local and regional history in the years to come.
Illustrated with dozens of rare photographs and enlivened by scores of dramatic stories, this handsome hardcover book will serve as a basic reference for years to come. It preserves the family histories of 107 Tampa Bay area pioneers and includes a comprehensive index for easy access to more than 2,000 individual names.
Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco wrote of it: “The stories of Tampa-area African American pioneers are tales of compelling drama, courage, determination, and sacrifice. Yet, much of the vital information contained in this volume has become available to us only with this publication. This achievement is long overdue and most welcome.”
“The Florida NAACP has played a very crucial role in the movement for social justice. Robert W. “Bob” Saunders has opened that history for all of us to share in this book . . . . that should be read by all Floridians as we seek to outline our path to the future. Without this strong insight from our past, our journey forward would be uncharted and misdirected. This work explains in great detail why we must continue the struggle for justice until victory is won.” —Leon W. Russell, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors
“Take time to read this book. Learn the true details of Florida’s hard-fought civil rights battle from the mind and pen of the state’s premier civil rights leader.”—Dr. Larry Rivers, President, Fort Valley State University
A fascinating and readable history of the Barnett Bank from its founding by William Boyd Barnett with his son and one clerk on a sandy unpaved road in frontier Jacksonville in 1877 to its glory days as Florida’s premier banking institution. Historian David Ginzl offers both anecdotes and insights as he recounts the story of the bank and the remarkable executives who led it. The book includes 76 photographs and illustrations.
The University of Tampa from Its Inception to Adolescence, 1929-1936
The Seventy-fifth Anniversary edition of the memoirs of the first president of the University of Tampa. Foreword by Dr. Ronald L. Vaughn. Prologue by Frederick W. Spaulding. Illustrated with photographs.
This comprehensive history of a National Historic Landmark town was written by native son Frank Trebín Lastra, born and raised in Ybor City. With 488 pages and 633 photographs and illustrations, this book is sure to be a favorite for years to come. E. J. Salcines, Vice President of the Tampa Historical Society, writes: “Ybor City: The Making of a Landmark Town is a book that everyone interested in Tampa history should read and pass on together with family heirlooms. It is full of treasures of our past.”