“Hollis plunges readers into the nostalgic waters of Florida’s most famous springs. Lavishly illustrated with rare photos and flyers, this beautiful book celebrates the classic years of twentieth-century Florida tourism.”–Brian R. Rucker, author of Treasures of the Panhandle: A Journey through West Florida
“A collection of quaint, curious, and sometimes wonderfully ridiculous advertisements and memorabilia from Florida’s ‘big five’ springs. This volume will delight readers who can remember these roadside attractions in their heyday and inspire current visitors to support their new incarnations as Florida State Parks.”–Tracy J. Revels, author of Sunshine Paradise: A History of Florida Tourism
Discover the mermaids, alligators, underwater mountains, and glass-bottom and submarine boats of one of Florida’s most fascinating natural wonders! In this visual tour of the state’s five largest springs, collector-extraordinaire Tim Hollis brings together postcards, advertisements, brochures, signs, flyers, and souvenirs from the early days of these popular roadside attractions.
Since tourists first started visiting the Sunshine State, they were drawn to these liquid gems–Silver Springs, Wakulla Springs, Rainbow Springs, Weeki Wachee Spring, and Homosassa Springs. Commercially owned, the springs toed the line between mini theme park and natural attraction; today they are protected as state parks and continue to lure tourists and nature lovers alike.
Remembering Florida Springs explores the curious intersection of tourist mecca and wildlife wonderland. Sit back and take a tour of these unique and beloved features of the state’s natural landscape through eye-catching photographs and memorabilia. You may just want to change your next vacation plans and hop in your car to see Florida’s natural springs.
TIM HOLLIS is the author of several books, including Selling the Sunshine State: A Celebration of Florida Tourism Advertising, The Minibook of Minigolf, and Wish You Were Here: Classic Florida Motel and Restaurant Advertising.
Read our interview with Tim Hollis as he discusses collecting memorabilia and his own memories at Florida Springs
What is your favorite memory of the Springs?
There are so many, but I must say the fondest would probably be my family’s first visit to Silver Springs in the summer of 1967. It was only our third family vacation ever. We finally made it to Weeki Wachee, Homosassa, and Rainbow Springs in 1969. I never saw Wakulla Springs until about twelve years ago.
When did you first start collecting memorabilia and what was one of the first items you saved purely for its sentimental value?
I have quite a few souvenirs, brochures, and postcards dating back to those first 1967–69 trips, but it was the 1980s before I started actually going out and looking for such items in antique stores. My family, especially my dad, was very keen on saving everything we could, so I guess it all falls under the “sentimental value” label.
Many of the items created for attractions—like park maps—may seem disposable at the end of the day. How do we know, at the outset, what will be worth saving?
That is a very good point, but people do seem to have saved postcards and brochures more often than actual souvenirs. That could be because they take up less room, and many souvenirs were manufactured from rather fragile material. Maybe the best rule is to be like my dad and save everything!
What is it about the items you showcase in your book—vintage postcards, advertisements, brochures, signs, flyers, and souvenirs—that drove you to collect them?
We originally saved them just because they were keepsakes of our own vacations, but later I came to realize how valuable they were in documenting a largely lost era of tourism history. I had already begun collecting vintage toys in 1981, so it did not take long before I expanded the scope to include tourism memorabilia as well.
What do you think the collection you’ve presented in your book says about Florida’s famous springs that visiting them might not?
The material in the book shows how these attractions were once marketed and experienced, and not so much how a visitor will find them today. Some, such as Weeki Wachee and Wakulla, are virtually the same, but Homosassa, Rainbow and Silver Springs were once far more commercial than in their current State Parks status.