The Ancient Spanish Monastery, officially St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church, was originally built in the Spanish town of Sacramenia in Segovia in the 12th century and named Santa María la Real. It was closed some time between 1836 and 1840 during the reign of Isabella II of Spain and as a result of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. William Randolph Hearst purchased the structure in 1925 and was subsequently dismantled and shipped to the United States. However, as a result of an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in Segovia, the 11,000 crates containing the historic monastery building were quarantined in New York. Though he planned to relocate it to his Hearst Castle in San Simeon, because of Hearst’s financial difficulties, the building remained in storage in New York. Raymond Moss and William Edgemon purchased the building in 1952, a year after Hearst died. The building was re-assembled on a plant nursery north of Miami.
The Clermont Citrus Tower first opened to visitors in 1956. It took 13 months, roughly $300,000, five million pounds of concrete and 149,000 pounds of reinforced steel to build the tower. Counting its antenna, the tower reaches over 500 feet above sea level, making it the highest observation point in the Sunshine State. At one point, more than 500,000 people visited the tower every year. However, the 1964 extension of the Florida Turnpike provided a waste route for motorists and the tower’s popular among travelers began to wane. Then, that roadside oddity called Walt Disney World opened. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Manatee Observation and Education Center is located on the waterfront in downtown Fort Pierce, Fla. The environmental education and wildlife viewing center opened on Nov. 1, 1996, in time for Manatee Awareness Month. The mission of the Manatee Observation and Education Center is to promote understanding and responsible actions for the protection of the Treasure Coast’s fragile ecosystems and their inhabitants. It does that through exhibits and an outdoor viewing platform where visitors can watch manatee.
Dr. Charles Bressler-Pettis conceive the idea for the Monument of States in the dark days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Bressler-Pettis wrote to governors and asked them to send stones for a monument; they obliged. The 40-foot-tall monument is topped by a 562-pound bald eagle made of concrete and was built using stones from all 48 states (at the time of its completion). Bressler-Petti also included stones he and his wife collected from other places. The structure, dedicated in March 1943 and located at the corner of Monument Avenue and Johnston Street, contains 1,500 rocks from all 50 states and 22 countries. A number of parties, including tourists, governors, a prime minister and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, also donated stones to the cause. While it can’t be confirmed, a human skull is also alleged to be included in the mix. Interestingly some of Bressler-Petti’s ashes are said to be buried in the monument.