History of Bradenton Florida

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Written and photographed by Gary Wonning

One of the best kept secrets of Bradenton is the memorial park dedicated to Hernando De Soto early explorer to Florida.

Located off Manatee avenue on the northwest corner of Bradenton, the park is a quiet refuge from the rigors of modern day life. 

 

Sunset on Anna Marie Island

Anna Marie Island offers a beautiful sunset and a view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Advertisements

Key West Florida: A World of it’s Own

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

For more beautiful photos of Florida, please click on the photos below.

Aside from the beauty of the Florida Keys, they have a unique history. Many have forgotten they actually tried to seceded form the union in the 80s. 

Back in the early ’80s, the U.S. Border Patrol set up shop at the top of Highway 1, roadblocking all traffic leaving the Keys and checking cars for illegal drugs and immigrants. This negatively impacted tourism to the area and locals felt it cast an ugly shadow on the free-spirited islands. They demanded this roadblock be removed, and when it wasn’t, they took matters into their own hands. Then-mayor Dennis Wardlow declared war on the U.S. by throwing up a Conch Republic flag in Key West’s Mallory Square and hitting a local Navy officer over the head with a loaf of stale Cuban bread. But within one minute of the tongue-in-cheek bread beating, he surrendered and demanded one billion dollars in foreign aid. While they never received the aid, the roadblocks were soon removed. Each year, Key West still celebrates the anniversary of the Conch Republic independence. What’s more, the Conch Republic adopted the motto, “We seceded where others failed.” 

 

Secession plaque

As you can imagine, the Keys are an important port city. However, you may not know that they used their southernmost positioning differently during the Civil War. Unlike other southern U.S. states, including Florida, Key West rebelled against the Confederacy and remained part of the Union. In fact, it was the only southern city to remain in Union hands during the Civil War. The heavy number of Union supporters at the military base of Fort Zachary Taylor were enough to extinguish any naysayers, and eventually, they held celebrations for the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Fort East Malatto

Robert Eugene Otto – or Gene, as his family called him – was just a young boy in the early 1900s when his family’s maid gave him a strange, straw-filled doll to play with. Gene loved his life-sized doll and brought it along everywhere, even naming it “Robert” after himself. It wasn’t long, however, before people began noticing signs of Robert the Doll’s evil and mischievous nature

As rumor has it, the Ottos and their servants would often hear Gene in his bedroom, having conversations with himself in two entirely different voices. Furthermore, the Ottos would wake up in the middle of the night to Gene’s screaming, only to find the frightened boy in bed, surrounded by overturned furniture. Gene would blame Robert the Doll for messing up the bedroom, while Robert would glare at Gene from the foot of the bed.

Soon after, mutilated toys and mysterious happenings would appear in the home, only to have Gene proclaim each time: “Robert did it!”. Though the Ottos didn’t quite believe Gene, it was reported that they could hear the eerie sound of Robert giggling around the house, and passersby even claimed to see a small doll moving from window to window. Robert was eventually moved to the attic, where he remained for a number of years.

Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll now lives at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, where some believe his hair color – and soul – are both slowly fading. Visitor beware, though, as Robert’s current favorite mischievous act involves casting curses on those who take his photo without first asking permission. To date, the walls near his glass case are covered in numerous letters from previous visitors and naysayers, begging for Robert’s forgiveness and asking him to remove any hex he has cast.

 

For a period in the 19th century, Key West was the country’s most prosperous city, per capita. During this time, the island collected their riches from the numerous shipwrecks off their coast.

During the time when fires were built on the coast to guide the ships away from the reefs, there were some unscrupulous entrepreneurs who would build the fires in the wrong places so the ships would crash on the reefs, thus creating a cash flow for the scoundrels. 

And while all the treasure may be gone, you can still snorkel and dive several of the shipwreck sights. There’s even a Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, maintained by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Here, you’ll find nine historic underwater shipwrecks and artificial reefs extending from Key Largo to Key West.

Ship wreck Museum

The Florida Keys collectively make up a chain of more than 800 islands, though a road trip is fairly convenient thanks to a 113-mile, 42-bridge Overseas Highway that connects all the major Keys. There used to be an Overseas Railroad that connected all above-ground Keys, but it was destroyed by a powerful hurricane in 1935. 

Ship Wreck Museum

The Keys hold the title for the highest year-round average temperature. At a balmy 77.8-degree average, you can almost always count on packing a suitcase full of shorts and dresses. 

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

 

The Beauty of Sarasota Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

Located on the west coast of Florida, about an hour south of Tampa, Sarasota is a beautiful city. Aside from the white quartz crystal sandy beach, it has much beauty to offer. 

A view of the sunset behind sail boats and the John Ringling Bridge taken from Island Park near downtown Sarasota

 

The ever popular dolphin fountain in Island Park lit up by colorful lights at dusk.

 

A photographer taking advantage of the sunset behind Ringling Bridge.

 

Marina Jacks is  a popular restaurant/bar where you can have a sandwich or a complete meal. There are also lunch and dinner cruises available.

 

A view of downtown Sarasota from across Sarasota Bay.

 

The daylight version of the popular dolphin fountain.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Siesta Key; Sarasota Florida

 

Written and photographed by Gary Wonning

Please click on the photos for additional photographs of the area.

Siesta Key Beach located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota Florida is often referred to as the best beach in the United States.

With its crystal quartz white sand and two miles of pristine coastline, it isn’t hard to see why it has earned that distinction. Add to that the fact that Florida receives over three hundred days of sunshine yearly, and the temperature rarely dips below sixty and you have a formula for paradise. 

Siesta Key Beach

The beach seems to go along forever with puffy white clouds floating aimlessly above. 

Sea oats and other  sea life is frequently seen on the beach and shallow waters of the gulf.

An abandoned pier highlights the northern boundary of the beach, leaving one to wonder what came here before.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Fort Lauderdale: Port Everglades

 

Originally known as Lake Mabel, Port Everglades was officially established as a deep water harbor in 1927 and has since grown to become one of South Florida’s strongest economic engines with annual operating revenues of more than $66 million and total waterborne commerce exceeding 23 million tons in liquid, bulk and containerized cargoes.

More than 5,300 ships call at Port Everglades in a year forming the basis of a diverse maritime operation that includes a thriving cruise industry and a reputation as the “world’s best cruise port,”

On December 21, 2003, the port had a record 15 cruise ships.[8] No other port in the world at that time had hosted 10 or more cruise ships on a single day. The closest competitors are: Port of Barcelona with 9 ships the 26 of August 2011 Miami with 8 ships and Port of New York with 7 ships on a single day.

Port Everglades broke its own world record on November 26, 2011, with more than 53,500 guests passing through the Port in a single day.[9] The previous record was set on March 20, 2010, with 53,365 passengers.[10] In 2010, Port Everglades documented 55 cruise ships offering regularly scheduled cruises. With 15 different cruise lines, Port Everglades claims to offer more cruise lines, more sailings, and more itineraries than any other port in the world.[11]

 

Fort Lauderdale is a city on Florida’s southeastern coast, known for its beaches and boating canals. The Strip is a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A. It’s lined with upscale outdoor restaurants, bars, boutiques and luxury hotels. Other attractions include the International Swimming Hall of Fame, with pools and a museum of memorabilia, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, featuring trails and a lagoon.

Cruise ship in Port Everglades

 

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Mom in the Grocery store

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies and her mother told her, “No.” The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, “Now Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through – don’t be upset. It won’t be long now.”

Soon, they came to the candy aisle and the little girl began to shout for candy. When told she couldn’t have any, she began to cry. The mother said, “There, there, Monica, don’t cry – only two more aisles to go and then we’ll be checking out.”

When they got to the checkout stand, the little girl immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there’d be no gum purchased. The mother said serenely, “Monica, we’ll be through this check out stand in 5 minutes and then you can go home and have a nice nap.”

The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Monica,” he began.

The mother replied, “I’m Monica – my little girl’s name is Tammy.”

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

 

Art Prints

Fisherman’s Village Punta Gorda Florida

Photography Prints

 

Fisherman’s Village is a waterfront shopping, entertainment, and resort complex located along Charlotte Harbor in Punta Gorda Florida. It includes over 30 shops and restaurants as well as a resort with 47 timeshare villas on the second floor.

The original pier was built in 1928,and was known as the Maud Street City Dock, which was built to repalce the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad dock at King Street.

 

Today many shops and restaurants line the wharf, Harpoon Harry’s, Hurricane Charleys, and the Fish Market are three of the most popular eating establishments.

Christmas decoration are everywhere, making it quite festive.

The Punta Gorda Fishing Company and the West Coast Fish Company began operating from the Maud Street dock, and later tenants included Gulf Coast Oil Company and Matt Week’s Boat Shop.

The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, who operated the previous dock, connected their track to serve the Maud Street dock via a spur that once served the Long Dock (the Punta Gorda Linear Park adjacent to Fisherman’s Village today runs along the former rail spur).

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.