Kodachrome trip to West Florida, 1949 (Part 2)

I want to buy an Airstream and take it here for a month!

Old Florida Cracker Shack - Estero Bay?
This slide looked plain at first, but on inspection, you can see an awesome fishing shack on the point under the Coconut palms. I can only imagine how plentiful the birds and fish must have been, not to mention the natural beauty of this spot. To get anywhere this remote and idyllic these days, you most certainly need a boat.

The Royal Palms of McGregor Blvd., entrance to Thomas Edison's and Henry Ford' s winter homes. Across the street is the laboratory where Edison worked with goldenrod to create a natural source of rubber. One of my idols, he holds patents on so many things, it makes your head swim. His favorite was the phonograph. Imagine what he would think about today's music systems.

Edison's third wife Mina's "Moonlight Garden" where she planted white flowers so they could be seen in the Ft. Myers moonlight.

The back yard of Edison's home. He passed away in 1931, so he was only gone for 18 years when these pictures were taken. The grounds are more manicured today, (the Moonlight Garden was re-built by a team of landscape architects in 2006) and the homes repaired, but when you're there, you go back in time a little.

ElectroSpark @ Twitter | Flicker

Kodachrome trip to West Florida, 1949

In response to the sad news that Kodak has formally stopped producing Kodachrome, I felt compelled to post some original scenics and found these in our archives. Scanned from 35mm slides taken on a trip through Florida 60 years ago in 1949, they exhibit remarkable color and sharpness (and a bit of warmth and oversaturation) typical of Kodachrome.

Destination? An unknown trailer park somewhere between Sarasota and Ft. Myers (Anyone know where this is?). Our vacationers look relaxed and happy. To anyone not from Florida, this is a blast from the past. Almost every square inch of Florida sand has been privatized and leveraged to it's monetary fullest with towering condos, private McMansions or corporate chain hotels. (Ok, it's not that bad yet, but you gotta look hard to find that salty strip of paradise where you can enjoy a beverage and a campfire at ease...)

Trailers on a Florida Beach? Gotta be the 40s!

Paradise found!

Dinner around the trailers. Pull up a chair!

Wonderful scenic, probably Charlotte Harbor area.

Aquamaids, Cypress Gardens, posing after a show

Familiar Cypress Gardens Ski logos
Used on almost all mid-century skis. Which one is older?

ElectroSpark @ Twitter | Flicker


Busch Gardens' Hospitality House - 1963

Flamingos and swans accentuate the Hospitality House at Busch Gardens, Tampa in this 1963 original slide. It was designed by William Harvard, a modernist architect who was active on the west-central coast of Florida (He designed the "upside-down pyramid" at the pier in St. Pete, and many MCM homes in the area). Opened in 1959, it was a place to receive two free Budweisers or Michelobs and relax. There were 4 employees and 4 parrots. In January 2009, InBev, the new Belgian owner, stopped the tradition of free beer at the Hospitality House. Ouch!

A trio of smartly-dressed women pose in front of the "Stairway to the Stars" — a somewhat rickety escalator that carried you to the roof of the brewery to begin the famous brew tour. In the early days, there were seals in a pool below. The brewery always reminded me of Willy Wonka's factory. Lots of mint-green tiles and brass boilers. You looked down from windows near the ceiling.

Float at the Fun 'n Sun Parade, Clearwater, FL – March 1960.
A large Hospitality House model shares the attention with the Anheuser-Busch logo, and a number of Ann Margaret lookalikes. Colorful palm trees and swans, flamingos and herons add to the effect. Not sure what the rock-like motif is for, but with pretty girls like the one in front of the eagle, who cares?

Float at the Fun 'n Sun Parade, Clearwater, FL – March 1961.
What a difference a year makes! The Hospitality House model has been re-done and is more true to the original, yet sits on a sea of pink, green and yellow. The natural birds give way to foil peacocks and flamingos while the palms are all snowy white. The dress code obviously changes to southern belle debutante! I can almost see the parade wave now. The eagle logo is also less stylized. McCrorys 5-10-25 store is fighting for my attention here, but the deco looks dated compared to Harvard's modern design.

ElectroSpark @ Twitter | Flicker


Lido Beach Casino, Sarasota, Florida - 1950s

A wonderful, breezy day at the Lido Beach Casino captured on 35mm Kodachrome in the early 50s. The casino was designed by Sarasota School of Architecture icon Ralph Twitchell in 1939-40 as a WPA project. Of note are the precast concrete seahorses barely seen here on the second story. Structure at end (above green benches) is an "entry tower." It was demolished in 1969 at the request of local politicians and businessmen. A good book on the mid-century works coming out of Sarasota is The Sarasota School of Architecture, 1941-1966 by John Howey.

Close-up of the sign from the previous Lido Beach photo. Scanner maxed at 6000 dpi.

Sarasota promotional brochure (Not dated, late 40s?)
Modern youth, ready to be ruined by rock 'n roll, hang out under the precast concrete sea horses on the upper deck of the Casino. Note the delightful lack of development on the south beaches.
ElectroSpark @ Twitter | Flicker


Sahara Motel - Daytona Beach, Florida - 1956

Amateur Kodachrome slides, slightly blurry

An inviting pool, unique stonework, stucco and clerestory windows are the ingredients to this tasteful mid-century modern ranch-style motel. Add palm trees and a cool font for the sign, and it's done!

It's still there! Google Maps

ElectroSpark @ Twitter | Flicker


San Francisco Slides, 1953

Here's an nice view down Taylor St. from Jefferson with pier 45 in the background. Not much has changed over the years, here. Alioto's and Fishermans Grotto are still going strong, and the wharf remains a vital part of San Francisco. Prices on the menu may have changed a bit...

I visited this great American roadhouse in 2000 and was able to enjoy the strange mechanical amusement arcade museum and camera obscura on the bottom floor. (The Mechanical Museum is now at Pier 45!) The red brick and California redwood were gone, but we enjoyed a drink in the restaurant and I gotta say the view was mesmerizing. I didn't see the cool Totem pole, or the pronto pups...

This mid-century structure (Whitney's) was remodeled in an $18-million effort in 2003 resulting in a version similar to the 1909 structure.

Here is the 1896 Victorian Structure Alfed Sutro built that burned in 1906. The baths next door were the largest in the world. More pictures and info here.

Our photographer and west coast explorer stayed here, parking his 1954 Buick Century on the street. Looks like a cozy house!

And his car can go up hills!

ElectroSpark @ Twitter | Flicker