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Florida Portrait: A Pictorial History of Florida

by Jerrell Shofner

Packed with hundreds of rare photographs, this book traces the history of Florida from the Paleoindians to the rampant growth of the late 20th century. It is both an important reference and a delight to browse through -- a fascinating way to gain a sense of place.

Vacationing in Ormond Beach near Daytona in 1902, James Hatheway noticed that bicycle left little imprint on the ocean beach. Reasoning that the impacted sand would also be a good surface for automobiles, he began promoting an auto race there. Within a few months, Barney Oldfield, Alexander Winston, William K. Vanderbilt, and other enthusiasts were racing their cars on the beach at speeds as high as 57 miles per hour. The idea caught on quickly, and races were soon attracting drivers from all over the world.

Beach racing continued intermittently until after World War II, by which time automobiles had become so powerful that beach racing was simply too dangerous. During the 1950s, Bill France built the Daytona International Speedway, and the first Daytona 500 was held in 1959. Jerrell Shofner is president of the Florida Historical Society and one of the state's best-known historians.

Hardcover $24.95 ISBN 1-56164-121-9 Size: 9 x 12   256 Pages 270 b&w photos

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