Halloween in the 50s

When your birthday is on Halloween, you have a party!! Here's three Kodachrome slides from 3 years 1958-1960. Put on your favorite party hat and have some real pumpkin pie!

This photo is from the inside of a diner in Clearwater, FL. Outside is a crisp October day; a Fina gas station is visible through the trees. This is probably on Ft. Harrison drive.


Chris' Seafood Restaurant, Ocean City — 1966

This first thing you would see as you entered Ocean City island on the 9th Street Bridge, was the landmark Chris' Seafood Restaurant. The owner, Chris Montagna, was a fisherman who ran excursion boats for many years. The restaurant was open from 1932 to 1972 and he supplied his own sea food. Many kids remember the PT boats he modified and the thrill rides he gave folks in them.

The Flying Saucer was a converted World War II mahogany-bottomed PT boat that held up to 125 passengers and burned 300 gallons of high octane airplane fuel an hour at full-throttle (1,200 gal. capacity). It had air-fins synchronized with her rudders for responsiveness. He said it reached 90 miles an hour, and most agreed. It was a wet ride up to 21st St. and back. The Coast guard retired it in 1973 for safety reasons, even though it was outfitted with excursion-boat safety equipment. More photos here.

Chris would always talk to the passengers and slowly give a little tour before heading out to the open sea. The truly adventurous would grab the front seats and get a screaming soaking ride. It had 3 big Packard engines.

Under the green fiberglass roof.

The much beloved Chris passed away in 1987, but will always be remembered by anyone who had the pleasure of joining him for a wonderful trip and a delicious meal. Condos now stand where this restaurant once was.


Eagle's Nest Gardens - Bellair, Florida Pt. 2

I was recently contacted through this blog by the grand-daughter of John Dean, who lived in the wonderful waterfront Bellair bluff house (see earlier post here) located in Eagle's Nest Gardens prior to Mr. Alvord (who developed the garden as an attraction). Her grandfather built most of the wooden elements of the gardens: the little temples, pagodas, bridges, etc. Her father was born in the house in 1930 (note: what a great place to start your life!). She refers to her father's childhood home as the grove house. In fact, she has extensive family in the area dating back more than 150 years!

She writes “Yes my dad has lots of memories of playing in the gardens — taking my grandfather his lunch, having tea with the aunties at the little Japanese teahouse… he also remembered distinctively the "Hound of the Baskervilles," so I was tickled when I found a picture of it. My grandfather had found a large eagle's nest that had blown down out of a tall tree during a storm and had climbed back up the tree to reposition it — amazingly enough, the eagles had returned. Considering my grandfather was only about 5'-5" and eagle's nests are very large and heavy that was quite an accomplishment.” (Electrospark's note: Bald Eagles build the largest nests in the world that are made by a single pair of birds. Some nests weigh over a thousand pounds. A large nest could be 12' deep.)

It's great to hear from people with personal stories connected to history such as yours. Thanks for sharing the photos and the stories with us, Lisa!

This photo (circa 1937) shows an exterior treatment given to the Dean/Alvord house by Mr. Dean to make it look tropical by using bamboo as exterior cladding. There was no power on the property, so Mr. Dean had the fabricate all the bamboo by hand.

Tea House

Trolleys came here from the lavish Belleview Biltmore resort hotel; note the upper-class clothing on the visitors in this photo.