New YouTube Channel

I am happy to let readers know that I have created a YouTube channel. I only have a couple of videos up at this point. I am not a videographer at this time but I am planning to learn more and learn to use my digital camera to take videos in addition to using my cell phone. If you have experience with a GoPro please let me know. I’d love to hear what you think and if it’s worth purchasing one.

Please feel free to visit and subscribe. If you have a channel please let me know, I’d love to take a look. You can find my channel by clicking HERE.

Library Addition: Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C.

Lincoln’s Wartime
Tours from Washington D.C.

Schildt, John W. Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2020. 172 pages, b/w photos, index, bibliography, notes. ISBN 9781467145718, $21.99.

From the publisher website:

Abraham Lincoln spent much of his presidency traveling. His visits to Antietam to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and to Pennsylvania for the famed Gettysburg Address are well remembered. During the course of the war, Lincoln also traveled to West Point and Harpers Ferry. As hostilities drew to a close, he spent time on the Virginia battlefields, from Petersburg to Richmond and beyond. In this new edition of Lincoln’s Wartime Travels, John W. Schildt details visits to wounded soldiers both Union and Confederate, conferences with generals and the logistics of getting a wartime president from place to place.

John W. Schildt grew up in Walkersville, Maryland, and is a graduate of Shepherd University and Wesley Theological Seminary. He has been a pastor, teacher and chaplain of the Twenty-Ninth Division Association. He is a founding member of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland, as well as the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Among his many books are Drums Along the Antietam, Roads to Gettysburg, These Honored Dead and others. As a certified guide at Antietam, he has led tours of individuals, colleges, military groups and others for fifty years.

Disclaimer: Arcadia Publishing has generously provided a complimentary copy of this book for me to review. Any comments or opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. Links provided in this post may be affiliate links and any purchase made through them may earn me a small commission which does not influence the price you pay.

Book Review: Florida Roadside Attractions History

Florida Roadside Attractions

Breslauer, Ken. Florida Roadside Attractions History: The Complete Guide to Florida Tourist Attractions Before Disney. N.P., 2018. ISBN 9781532363337. Hardcover, 208 pages, color and b/w photos. $32.

For those who long for the days of getting in the car and driving, only stopping at at a Stuckey’s for a pecan log roll and a Coke and at every roadside attraction along the way, I have the book for you. Ken Breslauer has compiled a large collection of these often times cheesy and yet classic locations that were located in the state of Florida. In an easy to use A-Z format armchair travelers will be taken back to the days before Disney, Sea World, and Universal ruled the tourist market of Florida.

In his introductory chapters the author outlines Florida tourism in the years before the invasion of Walt Disney World. Early Florida attractions tended to focus on natural resources. Gardens, animals, and water were the standard draw. By the 1870s glass bottom boats were already attracting visitors to Silver Springs. Attractions held several things in common no matter the location or subject. Colorful billboards, mass distributed brochures, and a well stocked gift shop selling souvenirs and postcards to entice the folks back home were a standard.

Florida was somewhat an isolated area until water and rail transport opened the state to wider visitation. The belief in the medicinal benefits of sunshine and warm weather drew northerners by the thousands in the late 1800s. Wealthy northerners help line the pockets of men like Henry Flagler who built grand hotels up and down the east coast of the state. His Florida East Coast Railway would deliver tourists practically to the hotel doorstep.

By the 1920s travel by car was exploding and “tin can tourists” took over from the rail lines. The Florida Land Boom/Bust helped push the state into depression several years ahead of the country and the state was able to recover in a quicker fashion due to tourism and the coming of World War II. While the war was a disaster for roadside attractions as people were not travelling and millions were drawn into the service, the ending of the war was a boom time and returning soldiers and their families visited and often moved to the state.

So great was the recovery that in 1949 the Florida Attractions Association was born in an attempt to develop standards and weed out attractions that did not live up to their advertised promises to visitors.

At this time attractions were built close to the major roadways in the state; US1, US41, and US27. Changes were coming to Florida tourism however as interstate construction drew road travelers away from the prior routes and previously successful attractions. A second trend was corporate ownership. No longer were family owned attractions the norm. Many of the smaller attractions could not keep up financially and their offerings became less interesting. This is certainly coupled with the third change which is the increase in expectations of visitors. Tourists were becoming harder to please and expected more. They wanted to be entertained and not just see nature. A fourth change is the increase in land values and developmental pressures. For many owners the chance to sell their land at large profits was too great to pass up and many attractions fell to the wrecking ball only to be replaced by strip shopping centers and fast food restaurants. A fifth change is the increase in air traffic. As flying became a more accepted travel expense tourists would fly directly, or very close to, their destination. The era of the road trip was declining. A final change was the arrival of Walt Disney and his mammoth Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom became the destination and was not just a stop in a larger vacation. Kids were more interested in seeing the animatronic Country Bears rather than an alligator farm and parents were happy to oblige.

While there are some of these incredible attractions sill in operation the vast majority are only memories; available to us today in photos, postcards, and surviving souvenirs. In this book Mr. Breslauer introduces us to more than one hundred of these beloved locations. Each location receives one to four pages including a brief text and several amazing images. Some, such as Bok Tower, Gatorland, and Six Gun Territory may be familiar, the majority such as Musa Isle, Seville Peacock Farm, and Pirate’s World are unknown to most of us.

Breslauer appears to be missing an opportunity by not selling his book on Amazon. Rather, visit his web page for further information or purchase the book by going to ebay where you can order a signed copy. Highly recommended for travel enthusiasts, Florida historians, or those looking to relive a simpler time before the days of $100 admission prices and $15 cheeseburgers.

Affiliate links are used in this post. I may receive a small referral fee that does not impact any purchase you make.

In Memory: Sgt. Adam Quinn

Sgt. Adam Quinn’s headstone located in Oakdale Cemetery,
DeLand, FL
Photo: Robert Redd

After a serious storm that tore through DeLand recently, I stopped to check on the headstone for my grandparents at Oakdale Cemetery. It was on this visit I noticed the headstone for a young man by the name of Adam Quinn. Quinn had served as a Corporal in the United States army and was posthumously promoted to Sergeant. He was only 22 when he died so I thought he could easily have been a casualty of war.

Sgt. Quinn’s military issued headstone
Photo: Robert Redd

Adam Quinn was born June 7, 1985 and was raised in Volusia County, FL. He and his family were active members in the First United Methodist Church of DeLand. In high school Quinn was a member of the Junior ROTC where his instructor, Gary Cornwell, described him as “…a good kid, always trying to do his best. He served in several different leadership roles, and he did well in all of them.”

Sgt. Adam Quinn
Photo courtesy

Joining the army after graduating in 2003, Quinn completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Quinn served as an automation specialist, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. Sergeant Quinn was killed when a car bomb detonated near a vehicle he was travelling in near Kabul, Afghanistan on October 6, 2007.

Captain Eric Von Fischer-Benzon, his company commander, said of Quinn after his death, “Quinn was extremely popular and respected by his peers and superiors alike. To him, nothing was a bother, and helping out a fellow soldier or civilian was a genuine pleasure for him.”

Quinn’s numerous awards and decorations included the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist’s Badge.

In October 2014, the DeLand American Legion Post 6 was rededicated and named American Legion Adam Quinn Post 6. Volusia County, Florida proclaimed October 5, 2014 to be Sgt. Adam Quinn Day in honor of this rededication.

Sources: Daytona Beach News Journal Orlando Sentinel

Library Addition: Fort Clinch, Fernandina, and the Civil War

Ofeldt III, Frank A. Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War (Civil War Series) Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2020. B/W images, notes, bibliography. 140 pages, 136 pages text. $21.99.

Thank you to my friends at Arcadia Publishing for sending a complimentary review copy of this title. Knowing my interest in Florida and the Civil War this is a book I am looking forward to cracking open.


From the publisher website:

Even though Fernandina was tucked away in the far southern reaches of the Confederacy, Fort Clinch had been abandoned to Federal forces by March 1862. It proved a boon to the Union war effort, and the island became a haven for runaway slaves, with many joining the Federal army. The military occupation of this vital seaport helped end the war, and the Reconstruction period that followed bore witness to Union and Confederate veterans working together to bring Fernandina into a golden era of prosperity. Author and local historian Frank A. Ofeldt III captures the vital and under-told story of Amelia Island during the Civil War.

About the author:

Frank A. Ofeldt III began as a volunteer with the Florida Park Service in the late 1980s as a historical interpreter in the Fort Clinch living history program. After college, he accepted a position with the agency and was assigned to Fort Taylor State Historic site at Key West, Florida, later transferring to Fort Clinch State Park, where he currently serves as a park service specialist, having served twenty-seven years with the agency. He is a published author of two books with Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. He continues to serve the community of Fernandina Beach as a local historian on military history of the island, was president of the Duncan Lamont Clinch Historical Society, former board member of the Amelia Island Museum of History and is member of the American Historical Association, Society for Military History and Council on America’s Military Past. He is avid reader, lecturer and collector of American military antiques.

DISCLAIMER: Links on this blog may generate a small affiliate/referral fee to me which help offset the cost of this site. This does not increase the cost of your purchase.

Richard Nixon Resignation Letter August 9, 1974

Richard M. Nixon’s Resignation Letter, 08/09/1974 (National Archives Identifier: 302035); Letters of Resignation and Declination of Federal Office, 1789 – 1974; General Records of the Department of State, 1756 – 1979; Record Group 59; National Archives and Records Administration.

During the night of June 17, 1972, five burglars broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC. Investigation into the break-in exposed a trail of abuses that led to the highest levels of the Nixon administration and ultimately to the President himself. President Nixon resigned from office under threat of impeachment on August 9, 1974.

The break-in and the resignation form the boundaries of the events we know as the Watergate affair. For 2 years, public revelations of wrongdoing inside the White House convulsed the nation in a series of confrontations that pitted the President against the media, executive agencies, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. The Watergate affair was a national trauma, a constitutional crisis that tested and affirmed the rule of law.

Text courtesy

Press Release–An We Ob Jubilee The First South Carolina Volunteers

Saucier, John. An We Ob Jubilee: The First South Carolina Volunteers. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing  2019. 320 pages, 268 pages of text. B/W illustrations, end notes, bibliography. ISBN 9781634991261, $22.99.

Thank you to Arcadia Publishing for sending along a complimentary review copy.

From the publisher website:

“Oh, praise an’ tanks! De Lord he come

To set de people free;

An’ massa tink it day ob doom,

An we ob jubilee.”

During the American Civil War more than 2,000 regiments of infantry, cavalry and artillery mustered to fight in the conflict. Re-discover a regiment very little is known about: The first black regiment in the Union Army, the first to fight against Confederate soldiers and the first to be brigaded with white regiments–the 1st South Carolina Volunteers.

If you are interested in the role of African American troops in the Union army during the Civil War this looks like a book you would enjoy.

If this book is of interest to you I would also recommend Army Life in a Black Regiment: and Other Writings (Penguin Classics), written by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the white Colonel who was the first commander of the regiment.

Graduate School Here I Come

After some starts and stops, mostly in trying to figure out how to pay for it, I have taken the plunge and will be starting graduate school in August. I will be in the Public History program at American Public University. This is both exciting and also a bit nerve wracking as I haven’t been in school in more years than I care to think about.

2019-07-09 09.04.31My first course is Historical Research Methods. Take a look at the books for the course in the photo to the left.

While I already have plenty to write about that I never seem to get to hopefully my course work will get me to focus and put more content here.

In Memory: Memorial to 9/11 Firefighter Eugene Whelan Located at Gemini Springs

eugene whelan marker
Memorial located at Gemini Springs in DeBary, FL. Photo: Robert Redd

eugene.whelan image cnn
Firefighter Eugene Michael Whelan Photo: CNN

This memorial to fire fighter Eugene Whelan, who perished as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, is located at Gemini Springs in DeBary, FL.





      Dedicated with love to

                                                          F.F. Eugene Whelan                                                            Engine Co. 230 FDNY

On September 11, 2001, Eugene was among the hundreds of rescue workers who responded to the terrorist attack upon the World Trade Center in New York City. Sadly for his family in NY and here locally in Volusia County, he never returned home. Although too many lives were tragically cut short that day, amazingly, more than 20,000 people were saved as a result of the immediate mobilization of the NYFD. In planting this tree, we honor the countless acts of selflessness and determination demonstrated by them that day, and the supreme sacrifice made by 343 of their brothers.

We Will Never Forget

Press Release:Thunder on Bataan: The First American Tank Battles of World War II

Cover Image

Here’s a new WWII title from Stackpole Books that looks quite interesting. The press release below is from the publisher.

Caldwell, Donald L.Thunder on Bataan: The First American Tank Battles of World War II . Hardcover, 320 pages, ISBN 9780811737715, $32.95.

The American Provisional Tank Group had been in the Philippines only three weeks when the Japanese attacked the islands hours after the raid on Pearl Harbor.

The men of this group, still learning their way around an M3 tank, found themselves thrust into a critical role when the Philippine Army could not hold back the Japanese.

The 1941-42 campaign in the Philippines has taken a backseat in the popular historical imagination to what came after, and the role of tanks in that campaign has been largely ignored.

In an evocatively written book that conjures the sights, sounds, and smells of battle in the Philippines, Caldwell restores tanks to their rightful place in the history of this campaign while also giving attention to the horrors that followed. He has conducted impressive primary research to bring to life the short but noteworthy combat history of the Provisional Tank Group, and he has dug even deeper to tell the stories of the individuals who did the fighting, selecting soldiers from each of the group’s six companies and recounting, throughout the book, the entire arc of their service, from enlistment, training, and combat to imprisonment, liberation, and return home.