Central Florida is a unique place. Diversity exists throughout the spectrum of population, neighborhoods, tourism, and attractions. Because of our uniqueness and seemingly never-ending list of things to do, we tend to overlook the things that make us unique. We tend to overlook our past. We walk through parks, down the street, and around lakes, catch a glimpse of a commemorative plaque or statue, but it stops there. Central Florida is rich of monuments and memorials, yet very rarely do we know why it is there and who put it there.
Our small University of Central Florida Public History class selected a number of memorials and monuments around Central Florida. We found busts, markers, structures, and statues that stand tall. Some of these are obvious, but others are hidden amongst the brush. We had no idea what we would find in regards to these gems; some of us found very little, but others found gold. We found that monuments in places like Kissimmee, Lake Eola, and Sanford offer a glimpse into our past that has been overlooked, and in some cases untouched. Through the history of our monuments and memorials, we have been able to gauge social sentiment, populations, but more importantly, the reasons why our predecessors have commemorated what they have.
Our sampling in no way represents all of the history Central Florida has to offer, but we can offer you a glimpse and hope that you dig further through the history our region has to offer. Come into our exhibit and look through our shared past and see what was important, and what has been forgotten. Come in and see for yourself a familiar statue to which you can finally give meaning. Come in and see Central Florida in a new light— a light that will take you through the years and the changes of our region.
Gianna Borawski, Katherine Bowers, Robin Dunn, Daniel Fitzsimons, Carly Kittel, Kyle Messamore, Kristal Schell, Cody Schuppe, Anne Lindsay