Silver Springs: When the Water Was Clear and the Mermaids Near 01/31/11
I remember tubing down the Ichetucknee Springs when I was young, as well as swimming at Wekiwa, and I remember how absolutely crystal clear the water was. Heck! Even Lakes Maitland and Osceola had see-through water, instead of the murky, over-grown-weedy water you see today.
For Northerners who came to visit Central Florida in the past, this glass-like water was a window to an entirely different world! So, places like Silver Springs and Weeki Wachee became Florida’s original tourist attractions.
Last year I attended the memorial services for Mary Rose, one of the original mermaids at Weeki Wachee. A beautiful woman, Mary had starred alongside MGM movie star Esther Williams before going on to coach Orlando’s competitive Loreleis Synchronized Swim team, which has sent swimmers to the Olympics. Mary was definitely one of Central Florida’s crown jewels from history!
This week an exhibit opens at the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden featuring photographs from this bygone era. Photographs of Silver Springs’ underwater attractions taken by the legendary Bruce Mozert have also found a home in the Smithsonian.
Be sure to stop by and see a bit of true Central Florida history!