Fun in the Sunshine City! Society for Commercial Archeology, St. Petersburg


Fun in the Sunshine City! Society for Commercial Archeology, St. Petersburg

How thrilled was I when I made the decision to attend my first conference with the folks that I now have come to know as “my tribe”?! “Extremely thrilled”, would be the answer. Knowing only one person who would be attending the conference, I had lots of people to get to know – and more important – lots of great Florida roadside attractions to see. The planners had lined up an action packed schedule that had us on two all day bus trips visiting the best remaining tourist destinations, plus extremely knowledgeable historians and preservationists who told us the stories of the great buildings and signs – some still functioning and others no longer with us – along the route.
The day in between the bus trips was the “papers day”, when members of the group had signed up in advance to deliver short talks on their specific roadside passions and interests. The most challenging part of this for me was the fact that there were two rooms with presentations going on at the same time – How to bio-locate and be in both places at the same time? So I missed some great stuff – heard some great stuff too.

Here’s a recap of the material covered:

  • Bring your Camera: A Pictorial History of Florida Roadside Attractions, Signs, and Entrances, by Ken Breslauer
  • Florida’s Grapefruit League: Preserving Baseball’s Southern Spring Training Site, by Matthew Hayes
Wigwam Village in Orlando, Florida, by Joy Wallace Dickson
  • Go to the Dogs: A History of St. Petersburg’s Derby Lane, by Chris Berger
Sunken Gardens: Paradise Preserved, by Bill O’Grady
Mid-Century Makeover: The Florida Quadricentennial, by Rick Kilby
  • The Curious Tale of Jack Kerouac’s Death in St. Petersburg: Iconography, Commemoration, and Defining a Legacy, by Jonathan Tallon
From Mineral Spa to Midcentury Modern: An Architectural Tour of Palm Springs, by Barbara Gossett
  • Preserving MiMo as a Revitalization Strategy: Success and Contradiction in Miami, by Megan McLaughlin
  • Roadside Romance: The Architecture of Robert Reichert, by Jeffrey Murdock
  • For Personal Satisfaction: Looking for the Lost on the Doorstep of Yellowstone National Park (The Cody Road), by Keith Sculle
  • Time Travel along US Route 40: A Half-Century of Landscape Changes along America’s Midsection, by Frank Brusca
  • Modern Relics: Roadside Remnants of the Sunshine State, by Dick Bjornseth
  • Diners and the Suburbanization of New Jersey, by Kevin Patrick
  • Storybook Ending: The Many Lives of the Enchanted Forest Theme Park, by Christine Henry
  • Neon Icons: Vintage Roadside Signs along Florida’s Scenic Byways, by Penny Perkins
The End of the Trail: Three Visions for Sarasota’s Historic Gateway, by Martin Treu
  • Tampa Changing: A Pictorial Evolution of Tampa’s Built Environment, by Bryan Weinstein
  • Exploring America’s Lost National Park Unit, by Joe Weber


You can see the challenge! And the excitement – I want IT ALL!!!!!


I’m planning a series of blogs to share photos from this wonderful Florida conference – and for today will start with our opening night reception and dinner at the oldest and largest shuffleboard club in America: The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, founded in 1924 and boasting 116 courts! What a sight to behold on a warm breezy evening. Enjoy!




1 Comment
  • erik
    Posted at 05:02h, 09 May Reply

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