Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail

The Florida Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail is a 64-page, full-color guidebook highlighting more than 50 Spanish heritage and historical sites dating from 1513 to 1821. While St. Augustine and Pensacola are landmark areas, Spanish explorations and legacies are reflected in museums, forts, parks, shipwrecks, memorials and churches throughout the state.

The publication includes color photos and illustrations of sites and artifacts as well as biographical profiles and historical essays examining Native American and Spanish interaction, Spanish missions, forts and outposts, and much more. A timeline traces historical highlights from the periods of exploration, permanent settlement and missionization, and Colonial rivalries, British and Second Spanish Periods.

Important milestones include:

  • One of the first European settlement attempts in the United States was Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna’s 1559 arrival in what today is Pensacola Bay. In February 2009, HM King Juan Carlos I and HM Queen Sofia of Spain visited Pensacola in honor of Pensacola’s 450th Anniversary.
  • The 2013 Quincentennial Celebrations to honor the 1513 arrival and exploration of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon and the 500th Anniversary of Florida.
  • St. Augustine’s 450th Anniversary in 2015 to acknowledge Pedro Menéndez de Avilés’ arrival and settlement in 1565.

The Florida Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail was produced by VISIT FLORIDA with funding from the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development in cooperation with the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. For more information on Florida’s Spanish Colonial history and cultural heritage visit

The guide book is available online at or may be purchased through

Mystery & History: Tampa Style

WEDU presents a special event featuring Gwendolyn Wright and Tukufu Zuberi, two of the detectives from the popular PBS series, History Detectives.  During the event, the hosts will uncover fascinating stories from the hits series, discuss a few special finds from the Tampa Bay area and field questions from the audience.  This special evening includes food, beverage and entertainment.  It is being held at the Tampa Bay History Center on Thursday, June 17th from 6:00pm – 8:30pm.  Tickets are $50 per person or for $65 per person, you can attend a special meet and greet session with the detectives at 5:30pm. For more information and to purchase tickets online, go to the WEDU website.

Also check out this list of Top 10 Historical Facts About the Tampa Bay Area posted on the WEDU site.

Florida Conversations Lecture Series

Florida Conversations gives scholars and writers the opportunity to share their work with a general audience through a series of lectures on various Florida studies subjects. Covering subjects as far-ranging as architecture, literature, the arts, and anthropology, much of the appeal of the lectures is in their diversity. The Florida Conversations Lecture Series is underwritten by the Tampa Bay History Center Endowment Fund at USF with media sponsorship from The Tampa Tribune. The series is co-sponsored by the USF Libraries Florida Studies Center and the Tampa Bay History Center. More information call (813) 228-0097.

September 27th, 3:00 PM – Sunday
An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century

Jack E. Davis

October 22nd, 7:00 PM – Thursday

Florida Cowboys: Keepers of the Last Frontier
Carlton Ward, Jr.

November 10th, 7:00 PM – Tuesday
The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine

Andrew Huse & Richard Gonzmart
Takes place in the Siboney Room, Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City

January 31st, 3:00 PM – Sunday
Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future

Steven Noll & David Tegeder

February 21st, 3:00 PM – Sunday
The Odyssey of an African Slave, by Sitiki.

Patricia C. Gri n

March 21st, 3:00 PM – Sunday
Notes from Cross Creek: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings at her Salty Best

Performed by Betty Jean Steinshouer

April 25th, 3:00 PM – Sunday
Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, the First European Artist in North America

Miles Harvey

May 23rd, 3:00 PM – Sunday
Mama Rides Shotgun

Deborah Sharp, author of the Florida-set Mace Bauer mystery series

June 13th, 3:00 PM – Sunday
Final Countdown: NASA and the End of the Space Shuttle Program

Pat Duggins

National Trust Places That Matter Photo Contest

Bring Tampa’s historic resources to everyone’s attention, and win a camera for yourself as a bonus. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Fireman’s Fund Insurance are proud to announce the start of the Summer 2009 Places that Matter Photo Contest. Submit photos of your favorite places — whether they’re national monuments or right in your own backyard — and be eligible to win one of three digital cameras. You may enter as many digital photos as you wish between now and Tuesday, September 15, 2009. Ten photos will be selected as finalists, after which a public online vote will determine the final winners. The photo with the most votes will win the grand prize of a Panasonic Lumix ZS3 digital camera. Each of two runners-up will receive a Panasonic Lumix ZS1 digital camera, and all three winners will also receive a Sandisk Extreme III 8GB SD memory card. To find more information go to Places That Matter Photo Contest

Great American Teach-In

Tampa Preservation, Inc. participated in the Great American Teach-In this past November. Six fourth grade classes of excellent, eager-to-learn students at Forest Hills Elementary learned about Tampa’s rich history and heritage through the book If Our House Could Talk, featuring the 1914 National Register listed Leiman-Wilson House located in the Hyde Park Historic District.

TPI Education Coordinator and the book’s author, Robin Gonzalez, shared items that she bought on EBay, including stereo-view cards from the Spanish-American War, along with lemonade glasses and a cut glass vase bought at a yard sale from the previous Leiman-Wilson House owners. When asked by one student why anyone would want these old things, Mrs. Gonzalez replied, “I think you just want a little piece of history.”

After reading the book and a lot of Question and Answer time, each student received their own copy of the book to keep. Mrs. Gonzalez asked that they all think about becoming preservationists, and judging from their conversations, some of them are already picking out buildings that need their help!

* If Our House Could Talk is a TPI publication that young and old alike can enjoy. It makes a great Holiday gift or stocking stuffer. The book is available for purchase at Inkwood Books, the Henry B. Plant Museum Store or through TPI for larger orders.