On September 5, 1836, the Lake Wimico & St. Joseph Railroad ran its first train from the Apalachicola River to St. Joseph. It took about 25 minutes to move the eight cars and 300 passengers along the eight-mile stretch of track. An enthusiastic crowd met the train at its destination, delighted in both the local and statewide implications of this short voyage. In addition to boosting the local economy, the Lake Wimico & St. Joseph Railroad had the honor of being the first steam-powered railroad to operate in Florida.
These hand-tinted glass lantern slides are from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Collection. The 53 slides in the collection show a variety of Florida’s natural features, including scenes of rivers and river banks, forests, nature trails, fishing, sand dunes, and swimming.
The image of the Gregory House went unidentified until it was recognized by a patron on our Florida Memory Flickr page. We were able to match the image with another in our collection and confirm that this was indeed the house in the slide.
The Gregory House, built in 1849 by Planter Jason Gregory, stood at Ochesee Landing across the river from the Torreya State Park. In 1935, the house was dismantled and moved to its present location in the park by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was developing the park.
The remaining 52 images have very little identifying information. However, they are a beautiful example of Florida landscapes depicted on glass lantern slides, ca. 1940s.
Glass lantern slide shows were popular both as home entertainment and as an accompaniment to speakers on the lecture circuit. They reached their popularity about 1900, but continued to be widely used until the 1930s when they were gradually replaced by the more convenient 35-milimeter slides.
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection Collection (Florida Memory)
- Daguerreotype to Digital: A Brief History of the Photographic Process (Florida Memory)
- Lantern Slides: History & Manufacture (Library of Congress)
- About Lantern Slides (University of South Florida)
- Torreya State Park (Florida State Parks)
Although not part of the United States during the War of 1812, Florida witnessed its share of fighting between Spanish, British, American, African and Native American belligerents involved in the protracted conflict.