Announcement: Hernando History Festival

We have done a good bit to detail much of the area’s history here on the site, but we are not the only ones dedicated to preserving this history. The Hernando County Public Library has done more than we could hope to accomplish on the matter. They are once again providing a great service to the community through their organizing of the Hernando History Festival. This year’s theme is Ghosts From Our Past. The festival will be held on Saturday, November 8 from 11AM to 2:30PM at the Sand Hill Scout Reservation at 11210 Cortez Blvd. in Brooksville.

There are four featured presentations at the event. The first, Alligators in B Flat: Improbable Tales from Real Florida, will be presented by Jeff Klinkenberg. Mr. Klinkenberg is a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times and the presentation will tie into his new book, Alligators in B Flat, published by University Press of Florida.

The next presentation is Archaeology Works: Materials Science by Nigel Rudolph of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. The Florida Public Archaeology Network does a great deal to promote the conservation of and education on Florida’s archaeological heritage.

From there we have blood on the Burial Mound, which is a presentation by David Letasi. Mr. Letasi is president of the Hernando Preservation Society. The Hernando Preservation Society is dedicated to the preservation of historical sites across Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties, which made up the landmass of the original Hernando County as we have covered here.

Finally, we have DIY Oral History, by Reese Bernier of the Hernando County Public Library System.

There will also be exhibits, vendors and crafts for people to check out. Bring the family and learn about region’s rich historical heritage.

A Video History of Weeki Wachee Springs

This video, from the site, showcases some of the history behind Hernando County’s most famous attraction, Weeki Wachee Springs. If you wanted to know more about the background of this world famous attraction, this is a good place to start.

Historic Tampa Bay: Tampa Origins Part 4

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The discovery of rich phosphate reserves and the build-up of a rail system to accommodate trade led to increased prosperity in the waning years of the 1800s. The early stages of the burgeoning tourism industry were coming into play and Tampa was on the rise again. This period of growth was bolstered the Tampa Board of Trade striking a deal with Vicente Martinez Ybor to relocate his cigar manufacturing facilities to Tampa from their previous home in Key West. Between steamships to attain tobacco from Cuba and railroads for distribution, Tampa had become an ideal location for such a business, and Ybor City grew as a community of Spanish and Cuban workers for Ybor’s cigar factory. While originally conceived as a separate community, Tampa annexed Ybor City in an attempt to secure larger tax revenue. The same steamships that had benefitted trade with Cuba would eventually be used to send troops there during the Spanish-American War. The war led to the removal of Spain as a colonial ruler in Cuba, a result that pleased many in Ybor City.

In 1904, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival was established as an annual tradition that is still vastly popular in the area to this day. However, the early 1900s were not all prosperity and celebrations, as local crime bosses became highly influential in the region, including Charlie Wall’s organization, who ran illegal lotteries, speakeasies, and even prostitution in the area during the prohibition era. Wall’s influence eventually faded after bloody wars with rival families, and Santo Trafficante Sr. and later his son, Santo Trafficante Jr. became the prominent mob bosses in the area. The Trafficante family had powerful connections in both New York, with ties to “Lucky” Luciano, and Cuba. Charlie Wall turned informant for a Senate investigation into corruption that severely weakened the local crime bosses in the 1950s. The 1950s also saw the opening of Busch Gardens and the University of South Florida.

These are some of the major events that shaped Tampa into the city it is today. Check back here often for more of the history of the Tampa Bay area.

Photo by Holmes Palacios Jr.

Historic Tampa Bay: Tampa Origins Part 3

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The United States would take control of Florida in 1821, purchasing the land from Spain, ending a haven for escaped slaves that were finding refuge in Spanish territory. This led to periods of great economic growth, as American settlement and industry led to a population boom and greater economic expansion. We have covered this in other articles, see specifically, the one on the origins of Pasco County. By 1845, florida had qualified for statehood, becoming the twenty-seventh state. Tampa was incorporated as a village in 1849. It was later reincorporated as a town in late-1855. The first mayor, Judge Joseph B. Lancaster was elected the following year.

During the Civil War, Union blockades hurt the growing economy of Tampa. Some sought ways around the blockades, like former mayor James McKay, who was eventually captured by Union forces while trading for supplies with Spanish-controlled Cuba. The biggest blow to the region came with the Battle of Fort Brooke. Fort Brooke had been a major trade post since the days of the Seminole Wars. The fort was hit hard during the offensive, and trade in the region suffered.

While the city slowly rebuilt following the Civil War, several new challenges presented themselves. Many settlers fled the area during the war, and trade had slowed substantially. Yellow fever had become a constant threat as the disease ravaged the already depleted population. The swampy environment was prime breeding ground for mosquitoes that carried the disease, and many more settlers fled the region rather than face another outbreak.

Photo by State Library and Archives of Florida

Historic Tampa Bay: Tampa Origins Part 2


“AN OLD PORTRAIT OF HERNANDO DE SOTO (ca. 1500-1542). Engraving from Retratos de los Españoles Illustres con un Epítome de sus Vidas, Madrid, Imprenta real, 1791.” Literal translation of the Spanish caption: “HERNANDO DE SOTO: Extremaduran, one of the discoverers and conquerors of Peru: he travelled across all the Florida and defeated its still invincible natives, he died in his expedition in the year of 1543 at the 42 of his age”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1528, the Narvaez expedition landed near what is now Tampa. They were tricked by the natives into heading north in search of a non-existent wealthy civilization. The Narvaez expedition, while ultimately ending in failure as all but four of the six-hundred member crew survived the journey, was successful in being the first Europeans to discover the Mississippi River and even the first to cross the Gulf of Mexico. One of the surviving members of the expedition was found by Hernando de Soto and his expedition. Juan Ortiz, who was also enslaved by the Tocobaga, joined up with de Soto’s forces and related his experiences to the explorer. De Soto would establish a treaty with the Tocobaga Tribe and establish a colony in the area. The colony would not last, however, as de Soto found little value in the region. Spain would eventually claim Florida for their own, but their attempts at expansion angered another colonial power, Great Britain. This led to war between the nations over colonial supremacy.

The British took over control of Florida in 1763, by virtue of the treaty that ended the Seven Years’ War. Wills Hill, a member of the British nobility, would ascend through the ranks of power within the British colonial system, becoming Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies, in February of 1768. Much of the Tampa Bay region was renamed after him, and of course, Hillsborough County still remains his namesake to this day. After the American Revolution, Spain regained control of Florida through the Treaties of Versailles in 1783. The treaties were negotiations between Great Britain, Spain and France to end territorial disputes that had raged since before the American Revolution. The treaties were part of a larger set of negotiations, referred to as the Peace of Paris, which included the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution, formally recognizing the United States of America as an independent nation for the first time.

Historic Tampa Bay: Tampa Origins Part 1

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The city of Tampa has an extensive and rich history that dates back centuries. There is  confusion regarding the origins of the name. Many attribute the name to a word in the Calusa tribe, meaning “sticks of fire.” The first recorded usage of the name appears to be in the memoir of Hernando de Escalante Fontenada. He was a survivor of a shipwreck in the area now known as the Tampa Bay region. The survivors were picked up by the Calusa tribe, being sacrificed after being determined to be poor slaves by the Calusa. Fontenada was allegedly spared because he was able to understand orders given to him.He remained captive for seventeen years. This memoir, written in 1575, detailed the experience. He described the region he was held in as Tanpa. However, Tanpa was determined by archaeologists to be further south. The change from Tanpa to Tampa in the current location was attributed to translation errors when drawing maps of the region.

Native American tribes had inhabited the area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European explorers. When the Spanish first arrived in Florida in 1500s, there were three tribes confirmed to be living in the primary segment of the Tampa Bay area. Evidence suggests there may have been a fourth tribe. The Tocobaga Tribe had their settlement near what is Safety Harbor in Pinellas County today. The Uzita Tribe controlled a region around Sarasota Bay. The Mocoso Tribe were located between Alafia and Hillsborough Rivers in Hillsborough County. The potential fourth tribe was called either Pohoy or Capaloey. There is not much certainty in regards to which was the correct name or even if they were truly an independent chiefdom.

Photo by State Library and Archives of Florida

Making Money Online: Writing Part 4

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Here is the final part in our series about making money online. The sites listed in these four parts are the predominant sites to go to when looking to make money writing online. There are others, but these are generally regarded as the best.

Listverse: Listverse is like Cracked’s more serious cousin. They too do list-based articles, but they do them without the comedic focus. They pay a hundred dollars per article accepted, which is pretty decent. The time it takes to get accepted can be a bit slow in my experience, so be prepared to have to wait for a reply on if they like your article or not. If you write considerable amounts of content fairly quickly, you can make reasonable money from getting published there.

GhostBloggers: allows people purchase ghost-written articles for their blogs. The pay is not as high as some of the prior options on this list, but you can still earn a fairly reasonable amount for longer articles.

Helium Content Source: Helium Content Source publishes freelance writing not just online, but also in various print media as well. Everything from newspapers to department stores have purchased content from them, so there is potential to get your work published in various print media, vastly expanding your portfolio.

Demand Media Studios: Much like GhostBloggers or Helium Content Source, Demand Media Studios is a content provider that provides content for all sorts of other sites. There is always work to be found on a site like this, and if you have the drive and determination, you can string together enough material to really make decent money at it.

The Motley Fool Blog Network: If you know a good deal about finance and investing, sharing your knowledge with The Motley Fool Blog Network can be a decent way to make money sharing that knowledge. If you are successful, you can see your work syndicated to several high profile financial sites. They pay $50 or $100, depending on the quality of the accepted article. If you can do well there, you can build a fairly successful portfolio (possibly in the stock market as well as for your writing).

These are about the best sites you will find to make money online writing. We will cover other avenues for online incomes in the coming weeks, so be sure to bookmark  in order to have easy access to our future articles. We have already provided multiple articles about ways to save money and protect the investment you have made in your home. These can be found in our archives or through the search. We hope you find them useful.

Photo by Charles Jeffrey Danoff