Geanie L.W. Brooks with her Four Children in Front of Weeki Wachee's Mermaid Villa

Dublin Core

Title

Geanie L.W. Brooks with her Four Children in Front of Weeki Wachee's Mermaid Villa

Alternative Title

B&W Photograph: Mermaid Geanie L.W. Brooks and Children posing under a Weeki Wachee Sign, c.1950s

Subject

Weeki Wachee Springs (Fla.)
Tourism--Florida
Photograph albums--1960-1970
tourism & museum
Tourism--1960-1980
Mermaids--Florida--Weeki Wachee--History
Theater--20th century

Description

Weeki Wachee Mermaid Geanie L. W. Brooks and her four children, 2 sons and 2 daughters, sitting under a Weeki Wachee Sign outside of the Mermaid Villa. Geanie learned how to weld andoperate heavy machinery at the McCloskey Shipyard during World War II. In the 1950s, Geanie worked as a waitress at the Patio Restuarant at Weeki Wachee Springs and later became a mermaid. She left this position in 1957. After Weeki Wachee, Geanie drove bulldozers, repaired bulldozer tracks, and drove a dump trunk. Even later she worked as a bookkeeper, real estate agent, bowling instructor, and department store manager. Her last job was at Home Depot, she left the workforce upon turning eighty-years-old.

Along with a group of investors, Newton Perry opened Weeki Wachee Springs to the public in October of 1947. At the time, roadside attractions were becoming popular stops along Florida roadways. The attraction consisted of an amalgamation of vendors, an orchid garden, a river boat tour, as well as the star attraction: a mermaid show that took place in an underwater theater. Eventually, the May Museum of the Tropics, an "abandoned Seminole village", a show called “Birds of Prey”, and a petting zoo were added. After peaking in the 1950s and 1960s, attendance began to decline as theme parks and highways changed the dynamics of Florida's tourism. The State of Florida took over the attraction as a state park in 2008. Since then, the park has focused on appealing to a modern audience while preserving its history.

Abstract

Black and white photograph of Geanie L. W. Brooks and Children

Creator

Weeki Wachee Spring State Park

Source

Original Black and white photograph of Geanie Brooks and her children, c.1950s: Private Collection of Shirley Herdge.

Publisher

Date Created

ca. 1950-1960

Date Copyrighted

ca. 1950-1960

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original photograph: c. 1950s. Scanned by RICHES team. RICHES, Orlando, Florida.

Is Part Of

Format

image/jpeg

Extent

21.7 MB

Medium

B&W Photograph

Language

eng

Type

Still Image

Coverage

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill, Florida

Accrual Method

Donation

Mediator

History Teacher
Humanitites Teacher
Visual Arts Teacher
Theater Teacher

Provenance

Originally created by Weeki Wachee Springs, owned by Shirley Herdge, and published by RICHES.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by Shirley Herdfe and is provided here by RICHES for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Florida Humanities Council Community Grant Program and Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Curator

Schwandt, Rebecca

Digital Collection

Source Repository

Private Collection of Shirley Herdge.

External Reference

Allman, T.D. Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013.
Ammidown, Margot. “Edens, Underworlds, and Shrines: Florida’s Small Tourist Attractions.” The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 23, (1998): 238-259.
Georgiadis, Bonnie and Lu Vickers. Weeki Wachee Mermaids. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012.
Hollis, Tim. Glass Bottom Boats and Mermaid Tails: Florida’s Tourist Springs. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2006.
Pelland, Dan and Maryan Pelland. Images of America: Weeki Wachee. Mount Pleasant: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
Revels, Tracy J. Sunshine Paradise: A History of Florida Tourism. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011.
Vickers, Lu. Weeki Wachee City of Mermaids: A History of One of Florida’s Oldest Roadside Attractions. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.

Locations

Categories

Transcribe This Item

  1. FOWWSSP036.jpg