Cabinet of Curiosities

Godwin Family Cane Syrup

Godwin Family Cane Syrup. In the years before modern grocery stores, sugar was made from locally grown sugar cane. The process was labor intensive and involved preparing the land, planting “seed” cane, harvesting by hand, grinding the stalks to squeeze out the raw cane juice and boiling the juice into syrup. While cane syrup is …

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Fossil Mastodon Tooth

Fossil Mastodon Tooth. Mastodons lived in Florida during the last ice age (Pleistocene Epoch) and were ancient relatives of the modern elephant. These massive creatures ate leaves, twigs and brush, and had large dental cusps to grind their plant diet. We know Mastodons, along with other now-extinct animals like camels, saber-tooth cats, and giant ground …

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Souvenir Felt Pennant

Souvenir Felt Pennant, Silver Springs. As football became a popular college sport during the early 1900s the production of felt pennants soared. Early pennants featured a school or team name and were popular with college students (likely displayed on the walls of dorms across the country). Several decades later the fad caught on with tourist …

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Prehistoric Stone Tools

Prehistoric Stone Tools. These stone points, typically referred to as “arrow heads,” were actually not used on arrows (they were made by Native Americans many years before the bow and arrow were developed in North America). Prehistoric people in Florida had no access to metals like iron and used local chert (also called flint) to …

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“Palm Springs” Water Can

Can of “Palm Springs” brand spring water. This vintage can of Florida spring water likely dates to the early 1960s and was a sign of things to come. Although this can was probably sold as a souvenir or novelty, selling bottled water has become a multibillion dollar industry and is the source of much debate. …

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Sunset at Silver Springs Postcard

Hand colored postcard of “Sunset at Silver Springs.” Prior to the development of color photographs, black and white images were hand colored using paints or dyes to make images more life-like. In this scene, an early glass bottom boat carries tourists down the Silver River framed by a glowing sunset. The earliest glass bottom boat …

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Carmichael & Son Whiskey Jug

Carmichael & Son Whiskey jug. George Carmichael and his son Columbus Ed (known as C. Ed) were successful whiskey distillers in Ocala during the late 1800s. Although alcohol was illegal in many Florida counties, a loop-hole in interstate commerce laws allowed for the shipment of spirits to these areas. The Carmichaels moved their product by …

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Steamboat Hiawatha

Postcard of steamboat Hiawatha at night, Silver Springs. The steam-powered paddle wheeler Hiawatha was built in Palatka, Florida in 1904 by Hubbard L. Hart and transported tourists from Palatka to Silver Springs up until about 1920. At 89 feet in length, the Hiawatha was the largest boat in the Hart Line and could carry up …

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Hand-colored Photo Postcard

Hand-colored photo postcard of the steamboat “Princess” on the Ocklawaha River by William Henry Jackson (1843-1942). Jackson was a famous American painter, explorer, Civil War veteran and photographer. In 1899, Jackson visited the Ocklawaha River and Silver Springs aboard the small steamboat Princess and produced a series of photographs. Some photos were used for hand-colored …

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Big Claw River Shrimp

The largest freshwater river shrimp found in Florida can reach 12′, not including the claws.