By Natalie Strom
The Museum of the Everglades celebrated its 14th birthday on Saturday, April 28th. The birthday party also paid homage to the 84th anniversary of the opening of the Tamiami Trail.
Dozens gathered to celebrate the Museum’s birthday, celebrating with free hot dogs, chips, beverages and a grand birthday cake. Georgia Garrett, volunteer to the Museum of the Everglades and Martha Hutcheson, Assistant Manager at the Museum, offered up hot dogs and cake with a smile.
Gator Nate, one of Coastal Breeze’s exceptional columnists, performed for the crowd. Basing his original tunes around the history and beauty of Southwest Florida, his music blended perfectly with the rest of the festivities.
Jack Shealy was on hand to demonstrate old-fashioned pole boating. This form of travel was originally used by the Gladesmen of South Florida to navigate the Ten Thousand Islands. Shealy runs pole boat tours, explaining, “it’s a nice way to preserve the heritage of the area by operating these pole boat tours. It’s a relevant piece of our culture.”
Model cars were also on display, demonstrating the necessity for the Tamiami Trail, which was completed on April 26, 1928. Billed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” at the time, the Tamiami Trail took 13 years to complete. Barron Collier, pioneer for the development of Southwest Florida, funded the completion of the trail. Due to his efforts, Collier County was established, and named after him, in 1923.
Those in attendance watched a number of short films which described not only the building of the Tamiami Trail, but also the development of Everglades City.
As the skies began to turn dark, visitors gathered inside the Museum for storytelling based on the rich and diverse history of the Everglades.
The celebration of both the birthday of the Museum of the Everglades and the opening of the Tamiami Trail was not only fun, but also educational. All in attendance had a great time listening to live music, snacking on delicious food and birthday cake and learning more of the history of one of the most influential towns and roadway within the state of Florida.