Virtual Travel – Florida

I have had the opportunity to travel many places outside of the United States. When I speak with people in foreign countries and ask if they have ever been in the United States, those that answer yes usually have been to two places – New York City and Florida.

Florida is another state I have been to only a few times, and then mostly for Spring Training baseball. This posting will once again depend on the internet for additional photos.

Since the late 1800s Florida has been the east coast place to go to escape winter. Our virtual tour starts with the 1948 map.

Florida has had population growth that rivals the western states. In 1948 there were about 2.5 million people living in the state; today there are about 22 million, making it the 3rd most populated state.

The cover of the 1948 map is showing the Overseas Highway – U.S. Route 1. This road travels 113 miles from the southern tip of the Florida peninsula to Key West.

Originally a railroad route, it was partially destroyed in a 1935 hurricane. When the Florida East Coast Railway was unable to afford to rebuild, they sold the bridges and roadbed to the state of Florida, where it was eventually rebuilt as a highway.

Government State Florida 1948

 

This photo from the South Florida Sentinel newspaper gives a good aerial view of one section of the road.

The Overseas Highway to Key West was ranked as one of the best scenic drives in the world. (Pisa Photography/Shutterstock)

 

 

The backside of the 1948 map has a cartoon map featuring many of the attractions of the state. While there has been tremendous growth, many of these features are still there.

Government State Florida 1948 4.jpg

 

 

Government State Florida 1948 3.jpg

 

 

 

The 1954 edition shows a beach scene, most likely from the Miami Beach area. By the 1950s the Art Deco area was thought of as old, and new ‘modern’ development was taking over.

Government State Florida 1954

 

This photo shows the main street in Miami Beach, Collins Avenue, in 1954

Post image

 

 

 

1963 – A creative approach, the beach has been formed in the shape of the state.

Government State Florida 1963

 

Our 1963 additional photo is from the Castaways Bar in Miami Beach – corutesy of Pintrest.

Castaways Bar ~ Miami Beach 1963

 

 

 

1965 – More beach scenes.

Government State Florida 1965

 

 

Most of the 1970s were generic, unidentified scenes.

Government State Florida 1970   Government State Florida 1973

 

1971 and 1972 used the same map, just adding 1972 to the later one.

Government State Florida 1971

 

 

For the American Bicentennial in 1976 Florida looks back at the nearly 400 years since the Spanish first landed in what became the state.

The Spanish arrived in 1513 when Ponce de Leon landed near St Augustine. He named the area la Florida in honor of Spain’s Easter time celebration Pascua florida (feast of the flowers).

St Augustine is proud of the fact they are the oldest continuously inhabited (European descent) city in the Western Hemisphere, having been established in 1565.

Government State Florida 1976

 

St Augustine’s most famous historic site is Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish stone fortress built more than 300 years ago. Photo from Visitstaugustine.com

 

 

The nondescript maps continued through the rest of the 1970s.

Government State Florida 1977.jpg      Government State Florida 1979.jpg

 

 

1983 – Cape Canaveral has always been the home of manned space flight launches, so when the Space Shuttle program started in 1981, it was natural that they launched from here as well.

Government State Florida 1983

 

 

1985 – Cape Florida Lighthouse at Key Biscayne in Miami. This lighthouse was originally built in 1825.

Government State Florida 1985.jpg

 

 

 

1991 – The Sunshine Skyway. This bridge crosses lower Tampa Bay, spanning a distance of over 4 miles. The towers rise over 400 feet above the water level, with the road deck being 180′ high.

The original bridge was built in 1954 as a two lane bridge. In 1969 an additional span was added. In 1980 a freighter hit the bridge, causing a collapse that killed 35 people as their cars and a bus plunged into the bay. Afterward they decided to replace both spans with the new bridge. Note the large barriers in the water to prevent this from happening again.

Government State Florida 1991.jpg

 

 

Once again in 1993 and 1994 Florida used the same cover.

Government State Florida 1993.jpg

 

 

In the early 2000s Florida sold out totally and included advertising on the cover of their maps as each one had a happy family at Universal Studios.

Government State Florida 2001.jpg       Government State Florida 2002.jpg

 

Government State Florida 2004.jpg       Government State Florida 2005.jpg

 

Universal Studios in Florida  was designed from the start to be both a working studio and an amusement park. Today it is the 6th most visited park in the United States (the 5 ahead of it are all Disney parks).

Universal Studios Florida - Harry Potter

 

 

 

2006 – Finally some love for northern Florida. This view of Jacksonville shows the John Alsop Bridge and the Wells Fargo Center.

Government State Florida 2006.jpg

 

 

 

2009 – Sea World is featured. This park opened in 1973, not long after Disneyworld.

Government State Florida 2009.jpg

 

 

Since 2010 all Florida maps have the happy families at the beach. This has been their meal ticket for 150 years, and will continue to be forever.

Government State Florida 2010.jpg       Government State Florida 2011.jpg

 

Government State Florida 2012      Government State Florida 2013.jpg

 

 

Government State Florida 2014.jpg       Government State Florida 2016.jpg

 

Government State Florida 2017.jpg       Government State Florida 2018.jpg

 

All these maps and not one mention of Spring Training baseball. While there are still a number of teams training in Florida, the ones below have been lost to Arizona.

 

Vero Beach – Los Angeles Dodgers

2007 03 10 13 Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training Vero Beach Florida.jpg

 

 

Sarasota – Cincinnati Reds

2007 03 09 32 Cincinnati Reds Spring Training Sarasota Florida.jpg

 

 

 

Lake Wales – Cleveland Indians

2007 03 09 37 Cleveland Indians Spring Training Winter Haven Florida.jpg

 

 

 

Among those still there

Bradenton – Pittsburgh Pirates

2007 03 09 2 Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Bradenton Florida.jpg

 

 

Viero – Washington Nationals

2007 03 08 10 Washington Nationals Spring Training Viero Florida.jpg

 

 

Kissimmee – Houston Astros

2007 03 06 Houston Astros Spring Training Site Kissimmee Florida 10.jpg

 

 

Disneyworld – Atlanta Braves

2007 03 02 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Disney 50.jpg

 

 

And finally – Lakeland – Detroit Tigers

2007 03 04 1 Detroit Tigers Spring Training Lakeland.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huntsville, Alabama – May 2019 – Marshall Space Flight Center

The George C Marshall Space Flight Center is NASA’s largest complex, where rocketry and propulsion are researched and developed.

Tours are available with proper ID as it is located on Redstone Arsenal. The tour departs from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum via a NASA bus.



The administration building is where Werner Von Braun and others made space travel possible.



Most manufacturing companies have displays of their products at their corporate headquarters and NASA is no different, only theirs are far more interesting than others.

A display of 3 of the engines greet visitors to the building.





While most people think ‘Houston’ when it comes to NASA Mission Control in reality there are three – Houston, Kennedy Space Center in Florida for ‘Launch Control’, and Huntsville for ‘Payload Control’.

Within this building are the staff that manages the day to day workings on the International Space Station.



The lobby of the building have models of the ISS and an astronaut at work.



A commonly used expression throughout NASA are ‘racks’. Each rack of equipment has specific roles, and teams of engineers are responsible for their rack.



The Payload Operations Center was amazingly small given the critical nature of their work. Just a handful of people are monitoring and managing the effort.



The structures that support the testing of rockets during development are known as ‘stands’. This is likely the most famous stand in the history of rocket development – The Redstone Interim Test Stand.

It was built in 1953 for just $25,000 out of materials scavenged from around the arsenal. They had to do it this way because the government wouldn’t give them any more money than that.



A total of 362 static rocket tests were completed here. Their budget was so low they took railroad tank cars that had been used to transport chemicals – cleaned them and buried them 300′ away from the test stand for their bunker to monitor the tests from.



Nearby you could see some of the much larger, much more expensive newer test stands.



One of the biggest challenges in long duration space flight is water. Because humans need water to survive, they had to come up with a way to conserve water in many ways one would not expect.



They have developed systems to recycle urine and washing water onboard that result in potable water.



The system is held in these three racks. The rotating distillation unit separate liquid from gases, then is sent to another unit for solid removals before the liquid go through a number of filtration’s that remove micro organisms.

They continue to research and develop even more efficient units, and the men’s room has a special urinal that they collect samples from for further testing – so I contributed to science.



As we rode around the complex we passed a number of interesting structures including this small, but very long wind tunnel.



Our final stop was the rocket park where they have examples of the various rockets used in space travel over the years.



While the museum portion was interesting, the additional tour of the Marshall Space Flight Center was by far the best part of the day.






Huntsville, Alabama – May 2019 – U.S. Space and Rocket Center

The city of Huntsville, Alabama is located in the northern Alabama hills. For many years it was a cotton producing town like many others nearby. All that changed in the 1940s when the military started using a nearby arsenal for rocket development.

After the war many German engineers were relocated here and together with American engineers began developing rockets. The most famous of these engineers was Werner von Braun. This effort has lead to Huntsville’s nickname – The Rocket City.



Fortunately not all of the efforts in rocket development was for the military. This technology has allowed man to explore space.

As you approach the museum you can’t help but notice the massive Saturn V rocket.



Inside the museum there is a plethora of space related artifacts including Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s space suit.



The museum showcases the development of the equipment used in space flight including these early prototypes for gloves and boots.



One of the few items you can touch, a replica of the Apollo Lunar Rover is on display for inspection. The seats felt like cheap lawn chairs but served their purpose for the astronauts in their bulky space suits.



Apollo 13’s challenges have been made famous by Hollywood, but Huntsville has a couple of the components from the real space craft.



The museum has a couple of the early EVA (Extravehicular Activity) units.



Another large display has mock ups of the International Space Station.



When the space shuttle program was decommissioned there was a fierce competition amongst museums for the remaining shuttles. Huntsville did not get one of the four that actually flew in space, but they did get Pathfinder’.

This full scale simulator was built here in Huntsville and was used in the development of the facilities required for shuttle launches.

While the shuttle itself is a mock up, the fuel tanks and boosters are very much real.



A closer view of the Saturn V shows it’s massive size, with a height of 363′.



This mock up of the lunar lander on the moon’s surface is located outside near a couple of amusement rides. The rides are there to entertain the thousands of tweens and teens who come every year for Space Camp.

The outdoor exhibits are showing the wear of being in northern Alabama weather for the last 30-40 years.



The second major building on the campus is the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. It was designed to house a horizontal Saturn V rocket, as well as numerous other larger items, including other engines.




Skylab was the first space station used, having been launched in the 1970s. After just 6 years it was discontinued and eventually fell back to earth. While most of it was destroyed during re-entry, this large piece was recovered in the desert in Western Australia.



The Davidson Center has more examples of space suits.



Their prized possession is the Apollo 16 command module. This view shows the damage from re-entry that the space capsules incur.



The NASA program has had 3 major accidents with loss of life. The first of these was during the development of Apollo 1. A cabin fire during launch rehearsal killed the three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee.

A memorial and tribute is on display in the Davidson Center to the three.



Outside the Davidson Center are large concrete pieces that commemorate each of the Apollo flights.



In addition the wall that surrounds the courtyard have plaques describing each of the flights.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center has a great collection of space related items. While it is very busy with ‘Space Campers’, it is a must see for any space travel or history fan.