Home of President Carter

Violet Sky at the Home of President Carter, Plains, GA

Just a short walk from downtown Plains, Georgia leads to the home of the 39th President. Still in residence at the place, Jimmy Carter has made this average ranch home in rural America his home for decades.

History

James and Rosalynn Carter purchased and built this home just on the city limits of Plains in 1961. It has been the only house they have every owned. Married over 70 years, the Carters have raised their children, ran elections and political events from their Plains home. This modest house is valued at around $200,000 based on the local area.

The architecture and design of the residence gives a glimpse to the Carter’s past. It resembles his time of presidency and political significance.

Violet Sky at the Home of President Carter, Plains, GA

Violet Sky’s Visit

First driving past the home I noticed all the black cars. Very official and secure for a retired president. The signs in front of the home state there is no stopping in front of the home and traffic to keep moving.

The only place that you can view the home is from a distance at the park that offers a small platform overlooking the yard.

How to Visit

The site is free to visit and is located on U.S. Highway 280 just west of Plains, Georgia. The home is on the west bound left side of the road.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Dinner at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe

Violet Sky at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe, Tampa, Florida

About

Enjoying a meal at a Hard Rock Cafe is a fun experience! Not only do music lovers get to be immersed in awesome tunes, but also dine while being surrounded with lots of memrobilia from decades gone by!

Located inside the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, this restaurant is filled with musical history and delicious food! It’s atmosphere is soothing as you can sit back and listen to live music. There is also a full bar and gaming options inside the restaurant.

Violet Sky’s Visit

During my first casino visit I stopped into the Hard Rock Café for a quick bite to eat. I immediately noticed the live music and the fun atmosphere.

If you are a seafood lover I would highly recommend the One Night in Bangkok Spicy Shrimp. It was an amazing appetizer to start the meal off right. Also the Grilled Chicken Sandwich is scrumptious for a dinner option. One thing that I really love about their menu is the fact that it is diverse with options.

How to Visit

Step right off the casino floor and into this rockin’ restaurant. The hours for the restaurant are 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Also be sure to explore the nearby Rock Shop to catch up on merchandise from this unique eatery!

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Elvis was Here! Follow That Dream Film Site

Violet Sky at the Follow that Dream Film Site, Yankeetown, Florida

Back in 1961 Elvis Presley came to the quaint community of Yankeetown, Florida. It was during that summer that he spent filming his 9th movie, “Follow that Dream”. Visitors come from all over to explore this small town that hosted one of the most popular celebrities of the 20th century to the area.

Violet Sky at the Follow that Dream Film Site, Yankeetown, Florida

History

Elvis Presley was casted for the role as “Toby” in the 1962 film “Follow that Dream”. The movie was based on a 1959 novel called, “Pioneer, Go Home!” by Richard Powell. After careful consideration “Follow that Dream” was scheduled to be filmed in the quiet coastal areas of Levy County, Florida.

During the filming, young girls made the trek from miles around to see if they could catch a glimpse of Elvis. During the filming he stayed in nearby Crystal River at the Port Hotel.

While filming lasted the two months of July and August of 1961, Elvis spent most of his time in the Yankeetown area. Now known as Follow that Dream Parkway, State Road 40 was used in the filming as Elvis cruised through the countryside towards the Gulf of Mexico.

On the southwest shore of Pumpkin Island is the site where the Kwimper homestead was located. In fact the Bird Creek Bridge still stands today.

Violet Sky on the Bird Creek Bridge, Follow that Dream Film Site, Yankeetown, Florida

Violet Sky’s Visit

Being an Elvis fan myself I found it exciting to see a film location from one of his most popular movies. It surprised me to see that the film was shot in a quite area and that much of it still looks the same. The bridge, the view out to the Gulf and the scattered palm trees of what is left of the Kwimper homestead is interesting.

So much history and film action must have took place in what is now a desolate fishing bridge and woods. The quietness of the calm waters and rustling palm trees makes way for your imagination to run wild on what it must have been like here during the summer of 1961.

Kwimper Homestead, Follow that Dream Film Site, Yankeetown, Florida

How to Visit

The tourist signs for the “Follow that Dream” film site are located in front of the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce. This building is located at 167 Highway 40 in Inglis.

The Kwimper Homestead and the Bird Creek Bridge are located on Highway 40 (Follow that Dream Parkway). The last bridge before reaching the Bird Creek Boat Launch is the site of the filming location. It is the south end of Pumpkin Island.

Both sites are free to visit and definitely worth a stop if you are in the area!

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

An Adventure on the TECO Line Streetcar

Violet Sky at the TECO Line Streetcar, Tampa, Florida

A fun way to explore the sights and scenery of Tampa, Florida is to hop on the historic rail line. This rail line takes visitors through various parts of the city at no cost to the rider!

History

When the streetcar line opened in 1885, it ran its route from Tampa downtown area to Ybor City. The first cars were pulled by steam engines. In 1893 the streetcars were converted to all electric power.

Over the next several decades the line grew. By 1913 there was 50 miles of rail line running through the area operated by Tampa Electric Company. Over 20 million people a year used the benefits of this rail line until its closure after World War II. As cars were becoming a more popular transportation route, people opted to not hop on the rail cars. The last streetcar ended its route in 1949.

It was not until 2002 that the streetcars reemerged into existence. The Heritage Line was opened with 2.4 miles of track. Today, the line runs daily taking locals and visitors from downtown Tampa to Ybor City.

Violet Sky at the TECO Line Streetcar, Tampa, Florida

Violet Sky’s Visit

Every time I visit a city that has trolley or streetcar, I can’t wait to hop on! What better was to explore a new place than by an old-fashioned railcar. The best part about the trolley is that you can park anywhere and hop on.

While staying at a hotel downtown, I was able to get on the trolley and get off on various stops all the way to historic Ybor City. The streetcars have their own part of the roadway and visitors can get the feel of nostalgia while exploring this urban landscape.

How to Visit

The TECO Line Streetcar is free to ride and has various stops through the downtown area. Be sure to look for their stops while in Tampa to hop for a ride around the city.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Birthplace of President Jimmy Carter

Violet Sky at Jimmy Carter’s Birthplace

While the Wise Sanitarium may seem like a small local hospital, it actually has a lot of historical significance. In its day it was the birthplace of an American President and the place of work of his mother.

History

The Wise Sanitarium was built in 1921 by the Wise brothers. These brothers were all doctors and the children of local farmers. Together they opened the 60 bed hospital that would serve the residents of Plains, Georgia. It was at this hospital that many nurses for miles around would come to be trained in the sciences of human health and care.

In 1924, Lillian Carter was employed at Wise Sanitorium as a nurse when she gave birth to her son, James Carter on October 1. James “Jimmy” Carter grew up to be the 39th President of the United States. The significance of his birth is in the fact that he was the first president to be born in a hospital.

After years of caring for citizens of the local community, Wise Sanitorium was renamed in 1976. It reopened as the Lillian G. Carter Health and Rehabilitation Center, in honor of President Carter’s mother. The facility is still in business and continues to care for people of the area.

Violet Sky at Jimmy Carter’s Birthplace, Plains, Georgia

Violet Sky’s Visit

I found the stop at Jimmy Carter’s birthplace to be a fun excursion! After all it isn’t every day you get to see the birthplace of a president! Discovering that he was the first president to be born in a hospital was a neat fact that I learned during the visit.

Even though tours of the facility are not available it is still interesting to see the historic building.

How to Visit

While the Lillian G. Carter Health and Rehabilitation Center is not open for tours, there is a memorial plaque out front that makes for a fun photo. The sign is free to visit and is located in front of the center on Hospital Street.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Lost Community of Archery, Georgia

Violet Sky in Archery, Georgia

The lost community of Archery, Georgia seems to have faded away to a ghost town. The buildings are still standing that were once abundantly filled with members of the area. Left to bear the tests of time, passerby wonder what happened to the once thriving little community.

History

Established in 1913, Archery was designed to be a farming community in rural southwest Georgia. It was only a short drive to what is now known as Plains. The community was extremely close to the railroad. The residents of Archery were predominantly African American. Most of these residents were farmers who sustained themselves on the business of sharecropping.

The Archery area also was bordered by the farm of the Carter’s. The Carter family was most commonly known for their son, James Carter who would grow up to be the 39th President of the United States. In fact, he spent the time from age 4 to 17 at the farm just down the road.

As the railroad became less in demand and larger farms took over, the community of Archery faded into the past. The families of these farms moved on and left their homes behind.

Violet Sky’s Visit

Driving down the rural roads of Georgia I stumbled across this small community. Having just toured the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm, I found it fascinating that this community was abandoned just down the road.

It feels as though this community is lost in time. All the buildings are still standing as though they were just left a short time ago. Seeing places such as this really give a vision of how changing times lead to the abandonment of communities such as Archery.

Archery, Georgia

How to Visit

Archery is free to visit and located just down the road from Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Farm. The community lies on Old Plains Highway at the corner of 61.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Cajun Corner

Violet Sky at the Cajun Corner, Eufaula, Alabama

The Cajun Corner Restaurant is a cute dining spot in the historic city of Eufaula, Alabama. After all, when in the deep south, why not try some local cuisine? With a variety of menu options this place has an excellent blend of seafood, Creole and Cajun cuisines.

History

This restaurant is very historic in style and is located inside an old hotel. The brick walls and corner location make it nearby the center of all the downtown action. The architecture gives visitors the feeling of stepping back in time in the South.

Violet Sky’s Visit

My visit to the site was in the evening during dinner time. I was really surprised by the variety of menu options. The atmosphere was also intriguing as it shed light on a New Orleans style restaurant.

Violet Sky at the Cajun Corner, Eufaula, Alabama

How to Visit

The restaurant is located at the corner of Eufaula Avenue and Broad Street. The restaurant has dining options both indoors and outside for those beautiful summer nights.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Tree That Owns Itself in Eufaula, Alabama

Defined by its location at an intersection in Eufaula, Alabama, the “Tree that Owns Itself” has stood at the site since April 19, 1961. Originally there was a historic oak tree that was at the same spot. The initial tree had stood over over 200 years and it fell during a wind storm just days before this tree was planted at the site.

The plaque in front of the tree reads, “Only God can make a Tree”. The city of Eufaula granted the tree the spot of land and named it the Post Oak Tree, after the death of the Walker Oak Tree.

The tree stands at 512 Cotton Avenue, Eufaula, Alabama. It is free to visit but watch for traffic as it is located on the corner.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Shorter Mansion

Violet Sky at the Shorter Mansion, Eufaula, Alabama

This beautiful Classic-Revival mansion was built in 1906, after the previous home at the site had burnt in a devastating fire. Known as the Shorter Mansion, the Eufaula Heritage Association has preserved this landmark for visitors to explore and even reserve for events.

Violet Sky at the Shorter Mansion, Eufaula, Alabama

The home was built by Eli Sims Shorter II along with his wife Wileyna Lamar. Eli was a lawyer and had graduated from the Howard College in 1874. In 1884 he married Wileyna and raised three children. It cost over $100,000 at the turn of the century to build the elegant mansion. It sprawls nearly 9,000 square feet. The house was completed and the Shorter family made their residence at the home in downtown Eufaula. When Eli died in 1908, his wife took over the home where she continued to live until her death in 1927. The home was then past to the next few generations of granddaughters until the final transfer was made in a 1965 auction. The Eufaula Heritage Association purchased the mansion for $33,000. In 1972

The museum is occasionally open for tours led by volunteers of the Eufaula Heritage Association.

Violet Sky at the Shorter Mansion, Eufaula, Alabama

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Billy Carter’s Service Station

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

Most popularly known as the younger brother of Jimmy Carter, Billy Carter ran this service station in downtown Plains. He is thought to be the only sibling of a president to have his own museum. Billy always hung out at the service station and eventually ended up buying the place to have it for his very own.

Billy opened the service station under his management in 1972. It was not used for its gasoline as much as it was for the bar inside and the barbeque out in the backyard. People assumed that Billy was using his popularity after his brother but locals told visitors that he had always been like that. In fact, reporters would drive out to Plains just to talk to Billy about his brother and the small town.

When Billy died in 1988, his service station was left empty. With money from local charities and Jimmy Carter, the service station was reopened as a museum to preserve the legacy of his late brother. The gas pumps are the only items left in the original spot and the prices on them show prices from 1979.

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

The museum is free to visit and is open most days.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Jimmy Carter’s Campaign Headquarters

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

This historic train depot lies in downtown Plains, Georgia, an area known to be the birthplace and lifelong residence of Jimmy Carter. The depot has been standing at this site since 1888. It’s main purpose was initially for passengers and the transportation of agricultural harvests.

In 1975, Jimmy Carter took over this small depot as his campaign headquarters for the presidency of the United States. This establishment saw one of the first surges of major interest in the Plains area and tourists began searching to visit the city that Carter came from.

While Carter’s campaign was managed mostly by local friends and family, his national attention grew quickly. Today you can explore the train depot to explore the years of memorabilia from Carter’s campaign. Visitors even have to option to listen to the tale of his rise to presidency.

The museum is free to visit and is open to guests from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except for major holidays.

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Plains, Georgia: Home of the 39th President

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

Tucked away in rural farming community in Southern Georgia lies the city of Plains. Known most famously to be the birthplace and lifelong home of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. Less than 1,000 people call Plains, Georgia their home yet thousands of people each year make the journey to the small city to explore.

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

The area upon which the city of Plains lies was once home to a village for Muscogee people. It was here that the Native Americans hunted, gathered and raised their families. It was not until the 1840s when settlers began moving into the region. They found the soil to be excellent for farming and raising crops. Originally the city was called Plains of Dura, but the name simply changed to Plains in 1896.

Violet Sky in Plains, Georgia

As the train was introduced into the city a station was built which now serves as a museum in legacy to the previous president. During the height of Jimmy Carter’s campaign and presidency, thousands of people would flock to the city almost every day just to see what the hometown of a major figure looked like.

In response to this surge in tourism, Plains and the surrounding area have worked to preserve the legacy of Jimmy Carter while monetizing on his name to generate interest in the quaint community.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Birthplace of John Wellborn Root

Violet Sky at the John Wellborn Root Birthplace, Lumpkin, Georgia

John Wellborn Root was born at this site in Lumpkin, Georgia in 1850 to Sidney and Mary Root. His parents were local planters and soon moved to Atlanta. In the city is where John learned a love for large buildings.

Coming into his teen years, the Root’s faced the struggles of the Civil War. Living in Atlanta they witnessed the takeover of the city by Union forces. Worrying about the safety of his children, Root sent his son John and two other young men on a steamer to England. It was in England that John’s father ran a shipping business.

While living in Liverpool, John attended school and watched the construction of elegant buildings being erected. Soon after the war he moved back to the United States, staying in New York City where he attended a university.

It was after his graduation in 1869, the John Root began working with one of the greatest architects in America, James Renwick Jr as an unpaid intern. Later he worked for several other firms eventually helping with construction on Grand Central Depot, which was the original Grand Central Terminal that stands today.

In 1871, Root moved to Chicago where he formed an architectural firm with Daniel Burnham. While designing buildings he played as an organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago. Throughout his work in invented the floating raft system which helped to allow construction of tall buildings without sinking into the ground. He also worked on buildings used in the 1893 Columbian Exposition and Fine Arts Building which now houses the Chicago Museum of Fine Art.

After Root married Mary Walker in 1879, he lost her just six weeks later to tuberculosis. In 1882, he married Dora Louise Monroe with whom he had his son John Wellborn Root Jr. His son grew up to also be an architect.

While working on the plans for the Columbian Exchange to take place in 1893, John Wellborn Root died from a case of pneumonia in 1891.

He left behind years of architectural work some buildings still standing in Chicago and another in Cleveland.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain

Violet Sky at Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain, Lumpkin, Georgia

Tucked away in downtown Lumpkin, Georgia you will find this very intact, historic drug store and soda fountain. At this musuem you can explore what it would be like to step back in time at a place like this!

On display is one of the largest collections of apothecary jars in the U.S. Most of the items in the store are from the 1960s or older. Some items even date back to the late 1800s.

Violet Sky at Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain, Lumpkin, Georgia

History of Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain

The history of Dr. James Hatchett’s work dates back to the 1860s, where he worked as a surgeon and later pharmacist during the Civil War. After the war he opened a drug store in Fort Gaines, a city near Lumpkin. Dr. James Hatchett passed away in 1894 and his son, Samuel took ownership of the business.

Samuel greatly expanded the family business and gained quite a reputation with his customers. He ran the store in Fort Gaines until his death in 1957. He left his store in the hands of his wife Emogene who simply locked up the building, leaving everything where Samuel had left it.

Violet Sky at Dr. Hatchett’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain, Lumpkin, Georgia

For Lumpkin, the historical society remodeled an old drugstore, as seen in the photos, that once was a booming business in downtown Lumpkin. The store looked quite similar to that of Hatchett’s in Fort Gaines.

The entire collection was moved from Fort Gaines to the restored shop in Lumpkin. Today the collection is on display for visitors and history lovers.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Historic Bedingfield Inn

Violet Sky at the Historic Bedingfield Inn, Lumpkin, Georgia

Built in 1836 in a quaint stagecoach town of Lumpkin, Georgia stands the Bedingfield Inn. It is known today as a symbol of Lumpkin history and a popular Antebellum era building.

The city of Lumpkin was a small frontier town that served as a stagecoach stop for people passing through from Indiana to Florida. It was the increased frequency is passerby that drove the motive to build this inn. In 1836, Dr. Bryan Bedingfield was the first physician in the area of Lumpkin.

Historic Bedingfield Inn, Lumpkin, Georgia

While the Bedingfield Inn was quite large, it served as a home for the doctor and his wife as well as a place for travelers to rest. The area was becoming more and more popular as people began homesteading the area with cotton farms.

The stagecoach driver would blow a horn as he passed by to announce to the inn how many guests they could expect for the evening. The rate to stay at the inn was only 12 cents a night and most of the rooms contained a bed and fireplace.

Route 27 was built in the 1920s upon old popular routes and connected the Midwest to Miami. This drove more people to pass through the area. The Bedingfield Inn remained open until the 1930s when it closed.

Historic Bedingfield Inn, Lumpkin, Georgia

After years of being unused and neglected, the Stewart County Historical Commission purchased the inn, restored the building and since has offered tours and events to take place.

For more information about visiting the Bedingfield Inn, please visit https://bedingfieldinn.wordpress.com/.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

A Visit to Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon”

Violet Sky at Providence Canyon State Park, Stewart County, Georgia

Spanning over 1,000 acres in rural western Georgia is the unique Providence Canyon State Park. The park is often referred to as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” for its picturesque views. In fact, the canyon is even claimed to be one of the states seven wonders with its 16 beautiful canyons.

While most people are led to believe that Providence Canyon is made from natural causes, it is actually the result of poor farming. What is referred to as the canyon is actually gullies. These gullies were formed by erosion which occurred after farmers did not use proper farming techniques in the 1800s. The gullies are deep and some are nearly 150′ from top to bottom.

When the treaty of Indian Springs was signed in 1825, Stewart County saw an increase in settlers moving to the area. In 1836, the first record of these canyons being existent was noted by a deed transfer that year. In 1850, ditches up to five feet in depth were used to irrigate water which further harmed the location.

There was also one a community here where the park lies today. Left behind is an old church, cemetery and homestead. At the homestead are several 1950s era cars. While the original church was established in 1832, the present Providence Methodist Church was built in 1859. The residents moved the church as the canyon was increasing in size. Stewart County was one of the largest cotton producing areas.

The earliest known photo of the canyon was taken in 1893 and it wasn’t until the 1930s that it was coined Georgia’s “Grand Little Canyon”. Although, the community feared the spread of the canyon popularity due to its origins.

Violet Sky at Providence Canyon State Park, Stewart County, Georgia

The beautiful soil layers exposed reveal layers of white, brown, yellow, pink and orange hues. The Plumleaf Azalea grows in the area and is an extremely rare plant. During the seasonal blooms many photographers seek to beauty of these plants.

Camping at Providence Canyon State Park is available by reservation. Day admission into the park is on $5 a car load.

Providence Canyon State Park, Stewart County, Georgia

Despite the history of being a result of poor farming practices, Providence Canyon State Park makes for a scenic destination. It is a wonderful place to explore if you are in the area.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Yoholo Micco: Creek Indian Trail

Winding 3.2 miles along through meadows and along Lake Eufaula lies the Yoholo Micco, The Creek Indian Trail. The trail follows along what used to be a rail line through the city of Eufaula, but now the trail offers a place for bird watchers, bicyclists and other passerby.

The trail is named after Yoholo Micco who was a chief of the Creek Indian Tribe that once lived in the area. He lived here with his tribe until 1836, when settlers took over. The trail ends at Old Creek Village which is the location at which the people of Yoholo Micco’s tribe lived. For nature observers it is an excellent place to see Bald Eagles and even migratory birds such as loons and doves.

The trail is asphalt paved which allows for easy accessibility and even leads out to Lake Eufaula where you can venture to an old train bridge that once led cargo across the water to Georgia. There is accessible parking just off from Broad Street in downtown Eufaula.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Fishing Lure Capital of the World

Violet Sky in the Fishing Lure Capital of the World, Eufaula, Alabama

Fishing legend Tom Mann moved his lure manufacturing to Eufaula, Alabama in 1967. It was here that his business grew and he produced popular lures such as the jellyworm and “Little George”. From these simple lures Mann became a millionaire off his work. What once started as a kitchen table production grew to produce lures for around the world anglers.

When Lake Eufaula was created from the Walter F. George Dam in the late 1950s, Tom Mann who lived in nearby Enterprise would often spend time each week fishing the new lake. While he was in town he made deals with local marinas and stores to sell his bait. Mann then had workers living in his backyard in a barracks style building to accommodate the manufacturing demand for his products.

Mann soon moved from Enterprise to Eufaula, building a home on the lake. Also in the city he opened up his manufacturing facilities, upgrading from a backyard factory.

Today, Eufaula, Alabama is home to five leading lure manufacturers. Also the popular Humminbird depth finder was invented in the city.

This sign is free to visit and located in the middle of the boulevard on Broad Street near downtown.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Big Bass Capital of the World

Violet Sky at the Big Bass Capital of the World, Eufaula, Alabama

Located on the banks of Lake Eufaula, the city of Eufaula, Alabama is known to be home of the Big Bass Capital of the World. The lake is loved by anglers who traverse the over 45,000 acre lake in search of the best fishing spots. This statue was placed in 2018 as a symbol of the large bass that have been caught in the nearby lake. It stands 12 feet tall from the base to the top.

The statue was made in nearby Dothan, Alabama with funds from an Alabama Department of Tourism grant. The tall fish atop of the statue has been named “Manny”. The name “Manny” comes from the local fishing legend, Tom Mann, who was native to Eufaula and a world famous televised angler. The purpose of the statue was to not only honor Tom Mann, but also the many other anglers that flock to Eufaula each year to try their luck at catching a huge bass.

The statue is free to visit and is located just off from Broad Street between Livingston and Forsyth Avenue near downtown Eufaula.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida

Standing as the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, Castillo de San Marcos is a symbol to Florida’s past. Visitors from around the world come each year to visit this unique fortress that has been a symbol of St. Augustine for over several centuries.

History of Castillo de San Marcos

As the settlement of Spanish colonists began here in St. Augustine, the need for a fort to secure their city began a necessity. The community began with a wooden fort which followed the walls of the town and gave a barrier to the outside world. Although in 1668, a British pirate by the name of Robert Searle stormed the city. In his path he burnt what was left of St. Augustine to the ground including the wooden walls of the original fortress.

This fire devastated St. Augustine and the Queen of Spain granted the colonists the ability to construct a new fort made from stone that would withstand such attacks and disasters. The new fortress was designed and construction began in 1672. Brick by brick that foundation and towering walls were built overlooking the Matanzas Bay.

Castillo de San Marcos is made from a type of material called “coquina”. This is done by the bonding of small seashells taken from the nearby shores of the Atlantic Ocean which complied together make a strong rock wall. It took 23 years for the entire structure to be completed in 1695.

Over the course of the next few centuries the fort experienced several sieges, changing hands from both Spanish and British control. When the Spanish finally had Florida back under their control they had the expanding United States after the land. In 1819, Adams-Onis Treaty granted the land to the U.S. in 1821.

The U.S. government changed the name of the fort to Fort Marion and used as a prison during the Second Seminole Wars. Most of the rooms were turned into cells for these prisoners of war. During the Civil War, the Confederacy took hold of the location in 1861, but the Union Navy reconquered the fort in 1862.

Following the Civil War during the late 1800s, Native Americans were held prisoner at the fort along with deserters of the Spanish-American War. In 1924, several years after being decommissioned, Castillo de San Marcos was declared a national monument and made into a 2.5 acre National Park in 1933.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida

Ghosts of Castillo de San Marcos

Whether they are ghosts of soldiers, prisoners or doomed lovers, Castillo de San Marcos is known for its haunted history. The fort has been featured on several documentaries and paranormal investigations.

Spooky occurrences have happened while guests and workers alike were at the fort. Shadow apparitions, faint smells of perfume and headless corpses.

The most popular story that is told comes from the tale of Colonel Marti and his much younger wife Dolores. The two had moved to St. Augustine in hopes of starting a new life together in the colony in 1784. Soon after their arrival to the city the Colonel was granted the assistance of a young Captain Abela.

It was reported that Captain Abela and Dolores got along quite well. The Colonel was known for his stoic and cold nature and disliked the fondness the two showed for each other. One day when Captain Abela met with the Colonel for a routine meeting, Marti smelled the distant scent of his wife’s perfume on the mans jacket. The next day, Captain Abela and Dolores were not to be found. The Colonel told people of the fort that his wife had left to live with her Aunt after contracting an illness and Captain Abela had been reassigned to Cuba. The people of St. Augustine found the story to be suspicious but never questioned their Colonel.

Years later the bodies of a man and woman were found trapped inside a stone room hidden in the walls of the fort. It was assumed that these were the bodies of Captain Abela and Dolores. Today their is a spot in the fort that marks this location and people tell stories of mysterious perfume scents about the spot.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida

Visiting Castillo de San Marcos

The fort is conveniently located in downtown St. Augustine and has a parking lot in front of the fort. Parking is metered and can fill up quickly so early morning is the best time to find a space. The fort is free to walk around the outside but admission is charged for the interior. For more information regarding admission and hours, please visit https://www.nps.gov/casa/planyourvisit/hours.htm.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky