The John F. Tenney Home and the Groveland Hotel are in view. The Hotel was recently devestated by fire
Post cards from collection of Meri-lin MacGibbon email@example.com
Editors Note: growing up on the St. Johns,
I can remember Hyacinths on the river as far as the eye could see. Navigation was impossible as also was our favorite pastime
of swimming and fishing.
Many years later in California while on canoe treks on the Merced, San Joaquin
and Stanislaus Rivers with Scout Troop 252 we found that the small steams were being choked with these plants.
We wrote many letters to the State Offices warning them of the consequences and were ignored. Now they are suffering
as Florida did 100 years ago.
The Water Hyacinth "The Green Menace"
IN the late 1880s or early 1890s (sources are vague as to the exact time), people living along the St. Johns River were
enthralled by the addition of a beautiful floating water plant to the river's scenery. Above a luxuriant green base towered
a spike of purple flowers. Steamboat operators were pleased when the tourists admired the drifting bouquets gliding by their
vessels. Cattlemen along the river were enthused at the prospect of a new cheap fodder for their stock. They gathered bundles
of the floating greenery to carry upriver for propagation in their ponds and streams. Mr. Fuller, owner of the Edgewater Grove,
seven miles above Palatka, claimed to have brought this beauty to the St. Johns River, and he believed that "the people of
Florida ought to thank me for putting these plants here."
A Deep Creek TaleIn 1957 I was in the U.S. Air Force and stationed
at Pinecastle (McCoy) AFB in Orlando. Occasionally during hunting season I would bring one of my fellow airmen up to
my beloved Federal Point on a hunting trip. We would always hunt Deep Creek Swamp. On one of these trips we decided to hunt
squirrels by drifting in a boat along the creek shore. It was a warm, lazy, sunny day for late November. All along the shore
on the trees over-hanging the water were moccasins sunning themselves in the warm sun. We had a very successful day with the
squirrels and we were contemplating heading back to the dock and Grammas house for lunch. I spotted two squirrels up a tall
cypress and I told Ernie to shoot, which he did and he got one squirrel, but the other decided to hide. The fallen squirrel
fell right in the edge of the water under the trees within reach of the boat. We sat still for quite a while to see if we
could out wait the other squirrel to no avail, so I pushed the rear of the boat up under the overhanging trees to where I
could reach the squirrel that he shot. At that time Ernie says quite anxiously, "Theres one!" I said. "Shoot him." At that
time Ernie lowered his gun and fired and much to my chagrin I was decorated with the blood and guts of a moccasin. He was
right over my head on a tree branch. When my friend said, "Theres one.", I thought he meant a squirrel but that isn't exactly
what he had in mind. From that time forth I was a little more careful when I said, "Shoot him!" John Brown
Whitney's Florida Pathfinder Season of 1876-77...