It is Halloween yet?

Old ones and newer ones. Interesting headstones in the Centro Espanol Cemetary near downtown Tampa. The small cemetary backs up to the Italian cemetery that I visited in early September so of course I walked through this one as well. It almost looks the same but many of the headstones and graves have not been kept up. Some of the tombstones were so old, you couldn’t read the names or dates.

It was a little creepy walking around with so many broken covers on the graves. Did storms do this damage? Vandalism? I was walking around on a Saturday morning and it’s on a busy street and there were a few other people walking around so I wasn’t alone but it still felt a little creepy. I wonder if they get a big crowd on Halloween night?

Many of the headstones were tile like the ones in the Italian cemetary next door. Maybe it was the sign of the times.

I left Centro Cemetary and stopped by Woodlawn Cemetary which is close by. This is a big cemetary with some notable Tampa people buried here. I thought the above was interesting. It was on a big plot and it looked like some of their children are buried in it and the couple are facing their children. They are under a huge oak tree so they’ll always be in the shade.

I thought this was another interesting tombstone.

I thought this was Sparkman’s grave, who Sparkman’s Wharf  (a beer garden, food area and live music in downtown) is named after but after doing some research I found out it’s his cousin. This is the grave of George Bascom Sparkman and his wife, who was the mayor of Tampa from 1881 to 1883 and then again from 1887 to 1888. His cousin Stephen was a politician and was noted for created Port Tampa Bay.

Hoping you have a fun and spooky weekend!

My Corner of the World

 

Tales from the Crypt?

I had heard about a cool old Italian cemetary (L’Unione Italiana Cemetary) in Tampa that I had to go check out. I’m half Italian (although I knew none of my relatives would be buried here). I’m one of those weird people who likes to walk around old cemetaries and check out the dates. And, think about who were those people were so long ago. I headed out early in the morning in early September before it got too hot. The first thing I noticed about this cemetary was all of the beautiful crypts. Most of them were not that old, from the 30’s to the 60’s.

I was able to find some information on the first crypt.  Gaetano Spicola was an Italian immigrant from Sicily, born in 1871, coming to American in his early teens. He worked his way down to Tampa and eventually opened the Ybor City Bottling Works. He later opened a hardware store with his son that was open for 66 years. He had a very colorful life that can be read about here.

It was a very crowded cemetary with lots of big ornate headstones. The interesting thing about this cemetary was so many of the headstones had pictures of the people on them. Almost like they were watching you. It almost made the cemetary come to life.

There were several with tall statues over them.

This was the entrance to the oldest part of the cemetary.

Many of the graves were from the early 1900’s to the late 20’s. I noticed that there were a lot of them with tiles on the headstone and many had the tile wreaths on them.

It was a very interesting part of Tampa history. Next door was the older Centro Espanol Cemetary and of course I walked through there as well. More on that later.

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A peek at a new park.

I found a park on the other side of Tampa that I had never been before. Veterans Memorial Park is on the other side of downtown Tampa from me and I had read about it on a walking club site. There are several other parks in the area called Veterans Memorial Park but this one is different. It recognizes all the wars starting with the Spanish War. There are many monuments and there’s a museum although it was closed when I was there in late August.

I think one of my favorite monuments is the World War 1 statue.

Big army tanks are always cool to see up close.

Many of the displays honor Hillsborough county residents.

It was a quiet morning with not many people here. I felt like I almost had the place to myself. I walked around under the trees for a while and took a ton of pictures. More to come on those.

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Painted Wildlife

Spoonbills painted on a water tower in St. Pete.

On the side of a building in downtown Tampa during the Gasparilla Art Festival several years ago. I think there’s a new building blocking it now.

An exit ramp off I75 in central Florida.

My favorite water tower in St Pete.

Above are from Tarpon Springs. The pelican is on the wall at one of our favorite restaurants in Tarpons Springs, Hellas.

One of the many murals in Wynwood Walls, Miami.

I took this years ago on the side of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I was there recently and with all of the renovations and construction that they went through, the mural is still there.

You can find painted turtles and dolphins all over the Tampa Bay area. Most are in heavy tourist traffic areas. The above were at the Clearwater Marina on Clearwater Beach.

The above was at Save Our Seabirds in Sarasota. They rescue and rehabilitate injured birds (all birds, not just seabirds).

A great restaurant in Miami that we ate at years ago.

At Brett’s aunt’s nursing home. The top one is painted on the outside of the building. The bottom is in the main lobby.

A great little take out place in downtown St. Pete.

I was going through some older pictures recently and realized I had a lot of pictures of  painted wildlife. Brett asked if I even remembered where I took them. Yes, every one of them. Although, I can’t remember which exit off I75 that the fish are painted underneath. We were on our way back from Atlanta years ago and had stopped for Blizzards from Dairy Queen. Somewhere between Ocala and Tampa.

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A new preserve close by

I had only recently heard about Lake Dan Preserve through a hiking group. It’s only 30 minutes north so I decided to check it out in early February. It was a colder morning but the sun was warming up. The parking lot was small and hawk was sitting in a tree right over my car. There wasn’t a lot of birds when I first got there.  Only a few yellow-rumped warblers. Probably because that hawk was sitting there out in the open. I hit the trail and walked across the bridge over the lake.

Out on the edge of the lake I could see deer getting a drink.

As I got farther down the trail, I came across a deer that was standing right in front of me. She stared at me for a few seconds before taking off across the field. She did stop and look back for a few seconds before heading into the woods. There were a lot of deer up here roaming around.  All females that I saw this morning.

The only thing I didn’t like about the trail here was that most of it was soft sand which didn’t help my hip. Even walking on the edge didn’t help. I could feel my hip starting to hurt. I really need hard dirt or paved trails for now to keep my hip from going back out again so I didn’t walk as much as I would have liked to.

I found this interesting swamp pond about half way on my walk on a side trail. It was very quiet and I could barely make out deer getting water on the far end. I’m sure lots of critters use this instead of the big lake close by. It was kind of cool to be out here in the quiet and the bald cypress trees in the middle made it feel like winter. It’s amazing what you can find a half hour out of Tampa. First shot is out of the camera, the second I added a filter to make it look more like winter. I wasn’t sure which one I liked better.

My Corner of the World

 

A little Tampa history

Oaklawn Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Tampa. It’s located downtown although north of the current main buildings that is downtown today. There is something peaceful about walking around in an old historic cemetery. I like to walk through and look at the dates. Some of the headstones are so old that you can barely read the names. Some were almost completely worn down. Some have pictures and some tell short stories.  The cemetery was started in 1850 and many of the early grave markers were made of wood. There are a lot of graves without markers due to the wood ones burning or getting damaged in storms.  The cemetery includes many prominent families, pirates, slaves and confederate soldiers.

Thomas Pugh Kennedy arrived in Tampa in 1840 and started the first trading post with the Indians here. Many of his descendants still live here. Kennedy Boulevard that runs through a lot of Tampa was not named after Thomas. It started out as Lafayette Street and the name was changed in 1964 to Kennedy Boulevard after John F Kennedy visited Tampa in November of 1963 right before he was assassinated.

The headstones back then were very ornate.

Vincent Ybor and his family is buried here.  Ybor started the cigar making business here in the area which became Ybor City.

This grave had a lot going on. Looks like it needs some love and attention.

Driving out heading into downtown.  Brett and I went out for a drive on a cool morning in late November. We saw the cemetery and decided to stop in and walk around.

My Corner of the World

Do you believe in fairy tales?

Why are these fairytale characters sitting on the grounds of a cool contemporary restaurant in Tampa? I had to find out. I vaguely remember hearing stories about going to Fairyland when we were visiting the grandparents in the Tampa bay area back in the 60’s. My dad had taken a few pictures of us when we were there. I was a toddler so I don’t remember being there. The original Fairyland Park was at Lowry Park which sat next to the zoo. It closed in the early 90’s and was torn down but some of the characters were stored in a warehouse in Tampa and forgotten. The owner of the restaurant (who also owns the famous Columbia Restaurant) grew up going to the park and when he found out there were characters that had been saved and stored, he was able to buy them and have them restored. It’s a little piece of Tampa history that was saved from oblivion.  Story of the characters being restored here.

A picture above of the original park taken from the Tampapix website. 

Above are some of the statues from the restaurant. The bust is of Princess Ulele, who the restaurant is named after. She lived in the Tampa Bay area in the 1500’s.

We wanted to get out on Thanksgiving morning for a walk before stuffing ourselves so we headed to downtown Tampa to walk along the water.

My Corner of the World

Sunrise in Tampa

I was up early on a Saturday morning in October and headed out to a small beach near my house that sits right under the airplane pathway to the airport. Although it wasn’t that early since the time hadn’t changed yet and the sun wasn’t coming up until 7:30. I stopped at Cypress beach and walked out to catch the sun coming up over the water.

There was hardly any one there this early so I had the little beach area all to myself.

I only saw one plane coming in. The water is mostly grass beds and drops off very deep. I’ve heard there are sharks here so you don’t see a lot of people in the water. I think people come here just to get out and it’s a popular sunset spot.

Pretty butterfly on the ground.

A few of the birds were a hawk and a little blue heron.

Pelicans guarding the slow wake signs. I’m sure there’s also manatees out there with so much of the area being grass beds but I didn’t see any this morning.

SkyWatch Friday

Ybor City

Continuing from my last post about the chickens in Ybor City, a broader picture of the cute courtyard bar where the chickens hang out in the morning.

Ybor City is a neighborhood in Tampa that was started around 1885 by a group of cigar manufacturers and boomed until the Great Depression. It slowly declined and stayed in neglect until the 80’s when artists started to move into the area. Now it’s filled with bars and restaurants and a few shops. It’s a neighborhood with it’s own personality.

It was quiet and empty on a Sunday morning.

A few buildings are vacant including this old Coyote Ugly bar.

The heart of Ybor City is the Columbia Restaurant. Opened in 1905 and still owned by the same family, it’s the oldest restaurant in Florida and takes up a city block. I grew up eating here with my family when we use to come down to Florida from Alabama to visit my grandparents. It was my Dad’s favorite restaurant. I still bring my sisters here when they come to visit and Brett and I come several times a year.

Eclectic stores along the street.

This is the best time to be in Ybor, when it’s just me and the chickens.

SkyWatch Friday

Tampa across the bay.

A fever of stingrays came by just as I walked out on the Safety Harbor fishing pier. They must call a group of stingrays a fever because you’re going to get a fever if you step on one. I’ve seen grown men cry from getting stuck with a barb from one after not doing the stingray shuffle. It’s supposed to be very painful. Luckily I don’t know that personally. Brett and I saw a man get stuck in the ankle at the beach a few years back. He could barely talk and was turning blue. It was a big barb. I helped his wife pack up their stuff and 2 sons and Brett helped him walk back to their car.  We told them to stop at the ranger station on the way out to get some relief. The rangers would have put his foot and ankle in a big bucket with the hottest water he could stand to help stop the pain along with pain relievers.

Standing at the end of the fishing pier, I could see Tampa. Zooming in I could make out the airport and the football stadium. It was hot and hazy in early June.

Not many people on the pier.

I found some osprey taking a break in the water in the shallow area and one flew right over my head.

People have started putting locks on one end of the boardwalk. What they may not know is that so many people were putting love locks on the bridge in Paris that part of the bridge collapsed. They have since removed all of the locks in Paris but now people are putting them everywhere. This is symbolic of “locking” in your love for someone. Eventually the rangers will take them down so the rail of the boardwalk doesn’t collapse and cause injury to someone. And those locks are going to rust quickly in the salt air.

A small mangrove growing along the water.

Grasshoppers are everywhere.

SkyWatch Friday