Joy Wallace Dickinson
December 21, 2014
If you've lived in these parts for any length of time, you know that sooner rather than later, company will be coming, often around the winter holidays.
December 14, 2014
Judging from the voting for Orlando's most-loved "icons" for 1960-1985, plenty of Central Floridians wish they could still pop into the Langford Hotel's Empire Room this holiday season, or any time. When the Historic Icons of Orlando project began releasing voting results last month, the Langford made the top 100 at No. 73.
December 7, 2014
The Beacham was a busy movie theater, diners packed Morrison's Cafeteria on Central, and most Orlandoans did their holiday shopping downtown when the city's big star came out to shine in 1955.
November 30, 2014
Most of the year, tranquility marks the east Orange community of Christmas, where the pines are tall and the history runs deep. But on the first weekend in December — this year, Dec. 6 and 7 — it's another scene altogether, as crowds descend on Fort Christmas Historical Park to munch old-time food, listen to fiddle music, and shop for crafty gifts. This year marks the 37th Cracker Christmas.
November 23, 2014
Thanksgiving, the homegrown American celebration of gratitude inspired by a 1621 harvest feast in Plymouth Colony, marks a rare nod on the calendar to U.S. colonial history.
November 16, 2014
When news broke in late 2012 that Orlando's venerable Merita Bread Bakery would close, reaction ranged from concern for workers losing their jobs to questions about the fate of the huge Merita sign overlooking Interstate 4 — a Central Florida icon since the 1960s.
November 9, 2014
The young men photographed by a plane dubbed "Thunder Mug" are handsome enough to be the cast of a World War II movie, but they're the real thing: part of the 451st Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, on July 18, 1944.
November 2, 2014
It's only a short walk from the grand home where the Phillips family long lived on Orlando's Lake Lucerne to the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which celebrates its ribbon-cutting Nov. 6.
October 26, 2014
At Halloween or any time, ghosts seem to be big business. Walking tours follow Florida's spirits from Pensacola to Key West, and volumes of spooky legends abound. In one, Jack Powell's "Haunting Sunshine," I read that Arthur, the spirit of an Irish tenor, is said to frequent the Cassadaga Hotel, leaving behind aromatic traces of gin and cigars.
October 19, 2014
A dip into the Flashback mailbag finds letters about the Orlando Youth Center, the 1935 Labor Day hurricane (and some good that came from it for one Orlando family), and the mom-and-pop motel days of the Orange Blossom Trail.
October 12, 2014
It's not even mid-October, but these days Halloween seems to begin in August, and Christmas starts soon after. Thanksgiving is in danger of become "the day before Black Friday."
October 27, 2013
We're moved into prime day-trip weather, when cooler temperatures brighten the prospect of strolling historic streets, and none are more historic than St. Augustine's.
September 22, 2013
I skipped the recent "Lone Ranger" movie, even though nothing thrilled me more in childhood than the cry of "Hi Ho Silver" on the radio. I'm fascinated by the idea of Johnny Depp as Tonto — and that crow on his head. But these days, I'm fascinated even more by the historical headgear of Florida's Seminoles — those exotic fabric turbans — and by so much more about our state's Native American heritage.
April 14, 2012
Strolling behind tour leader Scott Deitche through Tampa's Ybor City on a spring evening, I found my feet in the present but my brain back in a dark past — say, Nov. 10, 1936.
December 30, 2011
Residents of tourism meccas often trade stories of the surprising things visitors can do or say.
December 26, 2011
"The sun is shining, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway." We may seldom hear those introductory lines to Irving Berlin's holiday anthem "White Christmas," but that's how the song begins.
October 28, 2011
Folks who write or talk about Central Florida's past have often quipped that our area has a fascinating history "B.D."—Before Disney.
March 29, 2009
Seminole: The word is everywhere in Florida, from college jerseys to gambling casinos.
October 28, 2007
For decades, Orlando-area folks have taken a drive to visit the remarkable Volusia County community of Cassadaga, which scholars deem the oldest active religious community of its kind in the Southeast.
October 7, 2007
Folks "seeking health and wealth" couldn't find a better home than Maitland, Florida, an enterprising copywriter wrote about 1890.
September 16, 2007
Last week, we started a fresh year on the Jewish calendar, when the HighHoly Days started at sundown Wednesday with Rosh Hashana, the New Year of5768.