State park to host 'old timers' Saturday
By JORGE SANCHEZ, Times Staff Writer
History buffs will be able to examine photographs and other documents from the early days of Homosassa during Saturday's Old Timers Day reunion at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
Each year the park invites former employees and other guests to reminisce about the park's early days, when it was a commercial tourist attraction. Park staffers will host interviews and discussions with some of these "old timers" in the Garden of the Springs on the porch of the Old Cabin stage.
The Old Timers Day also includes special exhibits of old photos and memorabilia which will be in the Florida Room of the Visitors Center at U.S 19 and Halls River Road.
Among the exhibits at previous Old Timers Days has been a family photo album from Irene Ivory, which contains rare photographs of old schools and other historic sites. Ivory was born on an island in the Homosassa River in 1941.
One photo shows Ivory posed outside an old school, which had a fence around it. The fence was constructed not to keep the students in, but to keep the cows out.
Another picture showed her grandfather, George Shiver, at a long-gone site known as Hell's Gate. It was a dam, probably used to corral and trap mullet, built in the gulf about a mile off the mouth of the river. The famous photo is often duplicated without her permission on T-shirts and logos.
Other famous Homosassa photographs include the shot by Times photographer Bob Moreland that shows a huge alligator gnawing on a sign that reads "No Swimming." The photo has been used in countless ads and collectibles at the park.
A history of the site's ownership through the years is also presented, tracing the park's changes of ownership over the past half-century. Early records show the park was purchased for $150 in 1937 and purchased by the state for $3.8-million in 1987.
Admission at the park is $7.95 for adults, $4.95 for children age 3 to 12 and free for children under 3. Call 628-5343.
-- Jorge Sanchez can be reached at at 860-7313 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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