forms_of_tradition.jpg

Florida's Miracle Strip
From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast

By Tim Hollis

238 pp., 140 halftones, 20 color photos, bibliography, index

1878066263 (9781578066261)
Unjacketed cloth $50.00S

1878056271 Paper $25.00T

Unjacketed cloth, $50.00

Paper, $25.00

A nostalgic romp through the tourist attractions and vintage hotels of the Sunshine State's Gulf Coast

Since World War II, tourists have flocked to Florida's northwest Gulf Coast and sun and fun spots at Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, and Pensacola Beach. Every year those visitors number in the millions.

For those who long to recall how the vacationland appeared thirty, forty, or even fifty years ago, Tim Hollis has written Florida's Miracle Strip: From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast.

In a style that informs and entertains, Hollis describes the rise of early developments, such as Long Beach Resort, and major tourist attractions, such as the Gulfarium and the Miracle Strip Amusement Park. With heartfelt nostalgia and a dose of tongue-in-cheek, he reminisces on the motels and tourist cottages; the restaurants, such as Captain Anderson's and Staff's; the elaborate miniature golf courses, such as Goofy Golf and its many imitators. He takes a special delight in recovering the memories of those quirky businesses that now exist only in faded photographs and aging postcards, such wacky tourist traps as Castle Dracula, Petticoat Junction, Tombstone Territory, and the Snake-A-Torium.

In the book, Hollis examines how this area became known as the "Miracle Strip," and how the local chambers of commerce got so tired of that image that the name gradually fell into disuse. The book is illustrated with a profusion of vintage photos and advertisements, most of which have not been seen in print since their original appearances. For the nostalgia lover, the snowbird, the tourist seeking yesteryear, Florida's Miracle Strip: From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast will be a welcome traveling companion.

Tim Hollis is the author of Hi There, Boys and Girls! America's Local Children's TV Programs and Dixie Before Disney: 100 Years of Roadside Fun, both from University Press of Mississippi.

Credit: Miracle Strip Tower postcard courtesy of Tim Hollis

238 pp., 140 halftones, 20 color photos, bibliography, index