Landmarks of Florida

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Fort Jefferson
Fort Jefferson./ Jenni Konrad, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Most interesting landmarks of Florida

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Florida.

Natural landmarks of Florida

Inside the Devil's Den, Florida
Inside the Devil’s Den / Erik Beach, 2007, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Caves, sinkholes

  • Beacon Woods – Waynes World System – Pasco County. Long underwater cave system under a built-up area. The total length of explored passages is 18,289 m.
  • Devil’s Den – Levy County. A karst window: here through a narrow opening opens a view on large subterranean river. Here were found remains of animals, prehistoric human activities.
  • Falling Waters Sink – Washington County. 35 m deep and 6.5 m wide sinkhole. In wet season a stream falls in the sinkhole, forming 22 m high waterfall – the highest in Florida.
  • Lake Jackson – Leon County. Shallow, 12 km long lake with two sinkholes in it. This lake has disappeared underground four times since 1907.
  • Wakulla – Leon Sinks cave system – Leon County. The longest mapped underwater cave system in United States, where one entrance is at Wakulla Springs. Total length of explored passages – 51,483 m.

Springs

De Leon Springs
De Leon Springs./ Amre, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Alapaha Rise – Hamilton County. The largest single spring in the United States, with a discharge of 22,700 l/s. This is a rise of submerged river.
  • Crescent Beach Submarine Spring – St. Johns County. Unique submarine spring with exceptionally high discharge. Spring is some 4 km from the coast, at 18 m depth but on a clear day the bulge of this powerful spring is seen on the surface of the sea.
  • De Leon Springs – Volusia County. Large sulfur spring, discharging 880 l/s of water. Surroundings inhabited since 8000 BC.
  • Little Salt Spring – Sarasota County. Water filled, 61 m deep sinkhole. At the depth of 3 m, the water becomes anoxic. Thanks to this in the spring have been preserved numerous examples of prehistoric fauna and remnants of Palaeo-Indians: hundreds of burials from 4,800 – 3,200 BC.
  • Silver Springs – Marion County. A picturesque, very powerful spring, with a 91 x 59 meters large pool with a depth up to 10.1 meters. Its maximum discharge has reached 36,000 liters per second.
  • Wakulla Spring – Wakulla County. One of the most impressive cold water springs in the world, the diameter of this spring pool is 96 meters, its depth is 56.4 meters. One of the most powerful springs in the world, its discharge has reached up to 54,226 liters per second.
  • Warm Mineral Springs – Sarasota County. Enormous spring of warm mineral water with healing properties. This is one of the candidates for the legendary "Fountain of Youth" in Florida. The diameter of this spring is approximately 75 m, depth – 70 m. Discharging 390 l/s and considered to be the largest warm mineral spring in the whole world. In the spring have been found well preserved skeletal remains of humans, mastodon, sabertooth tiger.
  • Weeki Wachee Springs – Hernando County. Large spring, coming from a cave. The explored depth of the cave is 124 m and thus it is the deepest freshwater filled cave in the United States. Explored length of passages – 7,260 m. Unique underwater theater – mermaid show – operates here since 1947.

Other natural landmarks of Florida

  • Page-Ladson prehistory site – Jefferson County and Taylor County. Rich find of prehistoric fossils of animals and artifacts left by people 12,500 – 10,500 BC. Here were found bones of animals living at the time when people were already here – elephants, mastodons, mammoths, horses, ground sloths. Chop marks on bones show that people hunted mastodons and other animals.
  • Thomas Farm Site – Gilchrist County. One of the richest finds of Miocene (18 million years ago) land animal fossils in the world. Here have been found remnants of rhinoceroses, three species of horses, camels, dogs, and many other extinct animals, in total – more than 100 species.

Man made landmarks of Florida

Archaeological monuments

View from Turtle Mound - the tallest shell midden in United States
View from Turtle Mound – the tallest shell midden in United States / Ebyabe, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Crystal River Rock Art – Citrus County. Three large upright boulders with petrolgyphs. These carved images resemble humans. Possible time of creation: 100 BC. Nearby are burial mounds, platforms.
  • Green Mound – Volusia County. One of the largest Pre-Columbian shell midden (waste) mounds in the United States. Once it was 15 m high, now some 12 m high, built approximately in 800 AD.
  • Horr’s Island archaeological site – Collier County. One of the oldest settlements and mound burials in this part of United States. Permanently occupied sometimes around 8000 – 1000 BC, when it was the largest settlement in the area of south-eastern United States. In one mound the burials were made approximately at 3,400 BC.
  • Letchworth-Love Mounds – Jefferson County. The tallest prehistoric mound in Florida – 14 m high. Built sometimes around 200 – 900 AD, most likely by Weedon Island Culture.
  • Miami Circle – Miami-Dade County. A circle formed by 24 postholes, made sometimes around 0 – 300 AD. Diameter of this perfect circle is 11.5 m. Postholes are cut in limestone bedrock – a unique feature of Pre-Columbian structures in Florida. Most likely these are remnants of structure built by Tequesta culture and are located in their ancient capital.
  • Mud Lake Canal – Monroe County. Large scale prehistoric structure – artificially made canal for canoes to simplify yearly migrations – to avoid rough waters of Mexico Gulf. Canal is 6.3 km long.
  • Turtle Mound – Volusia County. The tallest shell midden mound in the United States. Now it is 15 m high, but before the shellrock mining – 23 m high.

Urban planning monuments

Ocean Drive, Miami
Ocean Drive, Miami./ Phillip Pessar, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Biscayne Boulevard Historic District (MIMO district) – Miami-Dade County. Showcase of Miami Modernist Architecture style, contains numerous significant buildings of this style built in the 1950ies – 1960ies.
  • Key West Old Town – Monroe Country. Historical district of a town which was developed on a tropical island in the late 19th – early 20th century.
  • Ocean Drive – Miami-Dade County. A part of Miami Beach with more than 800 buildings in Art Deco and Streamline Modern style, built in 1923 – 1943.
  • St Augustine – St. Johns County. The oldest European founded and continuously inhabited city in the continental United States. Established by Spaniards in 1565 in the site of earlier local settlement. One of the most interesting historical cities in Florida. Spanish colonial architecture and luxurious architecture from the late 19th century.

Fortifications

  • Castillo de San Marco (Fort Marion) – St. Johns County. The oldest masonry fort in the United States. It was constructed in 1672 – 1695 by Spaniards and Brits. A star fort built to protect St. Augustine city from attacks of pirates.
  • Fort Jefferson – Monroe County. Large, unfinished sea fortress on a remote island. Construction was started in 1846 and was not finished. The garrison here has been more than 1,700 soldiers large.
  • Fort Zachary Taylor – Monroe Country. This massive fort was built at very south of Florida Keys in 1845 – 1866. Here was discovered the largest collection of cannons from American Civil War period.

Private residences

Ca' d'Zan
Ca’ d’Zan./ Dan Lundberg, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Ca’ d’Zan – Sarasota County. Gorgeous, ornate villa in Venetian Gothic Revival style, designed by Dwight James Baum and built in 1926. It is located at the waterfront, in Ringling Estate, which contains several outstanding structures and gardens.
  • Cohen House – Sarasota County. This large private house was constructed in 1955 and designed by Paul Rudolph. Its architecture has left a huge influence on modern architecture worldwide and represents a very modern architecture up to this day.
  • Villa Vizcaya – Miami-Dade County. Large estate of businessman James Deering, built in 1914-1922. The large Neo-Renaissance style house is surrounded by large Italian Renaissance styled gardens and represents an ambitious replica of Italian cultural landscape in Florida.
  • Villa Zorayda (Zorayda Castle) – St. Johns County. Private home of Boston millionaire Franklin W. Smith. It was built in 1883 in resemblance to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. One of the first buildings in the world built of poured concrete and also one of the first Spanish Neo-Renaissance buildings. Beautiful interiors. Also the first example of fantasy architecture, characteristic for Florida.

Historical hotel buildings

  • Fontainebleau Miami Beach – Miami-Dade County. This enormous hotel building was built in 1954 as designed by Morris Lapidus. It is a significant monument in the post-war history of American architecture, an early example of Miami Modernist Architecture style.
  • Lightner Museum (Hotel Alcazar) – St. Johns County. One of two neighboring hotel buildings, constructed in the Spanish Neo-Renaissance style in 1887. One of the earliest examples of poured concrete buildings in the world. Here was the largest indoor swimming pool in the world.
  • Ponce de León Hotel – St. Johns County. One of two neighboring hotel buildings, constructed in the Spanish Neo-Renaissance style in 1887. One of the earliest examples of poured concrete buildings in the world.
  • Tampa Bay Hotel (Henry B. Plant Museum) – Hillsborough County. Historical, pompous hotel building. Constructed in Moorish Revival style in 1888 – 1891. This structure marks the beginnings of the tourism industry in this part of Florida.

Museums

  • John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota County. Enormous art museum which was established in 1927 with very rich collections of European and American art. Museum has an extensive collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings as well as paintings of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Thomas Gainsborough, and many other famous artists. Fine gardens and numerous beautiful buildings.
  • Pirate and Treasure Museum in St Augustine – St. Johns County. One of the most interesting pirate-related museums in the world. Contains one of two remaining authentic Jolly Roger flags in the world, authentic pirate treasure chest and other valuables.

Other man-made landmarks of Florida

Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle./ Joe Penniston, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Bok Tower and its gardens – Polk County. Ornate, 62 m tall tower, constructed in 1929 in Art Deco and Neo-Gothic styles. Around the tower in the 1920ies has been set a beautiful garden.
  • Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine – St. Johns County. A beautiful bridge in Venetian Neo-Renaissance style, constructed in 1925 – 1927. Rebuilt in extended version in 2010.
  • Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World Resort – Orange County. One of the most iconic buildings in the entertainment industry. This structure was built in 1971 and represents a fusion of different fairytale castles – both real and imaginary. This luxurious castle has 27 towers.
  • Coral Castle – Miami-Dade County. An unusual stone structure, created by Latvian eccentric Edward Leedskalnin (Eduards Liedskalniņš) in the 1920ies. The structure includes stones, each weighing several tons. He built it alone, without the assistance of heavy machinery. For a while, this caused rumors about the supernatural forces of Leedskalnin, but now the construction technologies have been explained.
  • Spaceship Earth in Walt Disney World Resort – Orange County. Enormous, 18 floors high ball-shaped structure, constructed in 1982 using numerous innovative technologies. The exposition inside informs about the history of science.
  • St Augustine Memorial Presbyterian Church – St. Johns County. One of most beautiful churches in the southern states of United States, built in Neo-Renaissance style in 1889.
  • Tree of Life in Walt Disney World Resort – Orange County. The centerpiece of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – animal theme park. A sculpted, 44 m high and 15 m wide tree (artificial structure) with 14 stories. In the bark are carved 325 animals.
  • Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center – Brevard County. The seventh largest building in the world by volume, constructed in 1966 for assembling American manned space vehicles. The building is 160.3 m tall, covers 3 ha.

Described landmarks of Florida

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Florida is the tropical paradise of mainland United States. Over the last century, it has experienced fabulous changes, turning from forgotten, swampy badlands into densely populated and rich land.
Highlights of Florida are:

  • Architecture of the late 19th and 20th century. The rich people want to live in warm places and they want to live in beautiful places. Thus Florida has been a showcase of Moorish and Spanish Revival, Art Deco and more recent architecture styles.
  • Natural springs and underwater caves. In Florida are located some of the most powerful springs of the world. It is not that rare to see rivers disappearing underground and after some kilometers turning up again.

Featured: Silver Springs, Ocala

Silver Springs, Florida in 1901
Silver Springs, Florida in 1901 / From "Florida and Nassau in Sunlight Pictures"

Florida has some of the most powerful springs in the world and one of the most powerful springs with a main mouth are the Silver Springs; a well known natural monument historically developed as a resort. It is possible that this is the most powerful spring in the world.

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