We are up to writing about 1911 and have come across some interesting tidbits that may not necessarily make it into the book but thought they were very interesting anyway. We apologize for the long time between posts as we have been concentrating on getting all of the research materials before we actually get down to the nitty-gritty of writing the story. As far as researching is concerned we have copied up to 1940 in newspapers, have researched the biographical details of every manager from 1902 to 1955 and are currently trying to locate family members to help round out the biographies with more details and pictures too. Sadly, the newspapers are reporting less and less about who is staying at the hotel so our guest registry book is going to get a little sparse from now on. And, finally, the 1915 and 1933 years newspapers are missing in the microfilms here at the Florida Gateway College.
Did you know that the first Chamber of Commerce was started in the Blanche Hotel?
Citizen Reporter 28 April 1911
Chamber of Commerce Organized
The Purpose of Promoting the Best Interests of the Community
The meeting was called at the Blanche Hotel on last Friday night, when a member of representative citizens congregated for the purpose of discussing matters vital to the best interests of the community.
Among the matters discussed and commented upon was the desirability of an improved highway from Tampa to connect with the New York-Atlanta-Lake City-Jacksonville highway…
On motion Mr. John W. Ettell was elected president of the Chamber of Commerce and Mr. F.E. Lautz, secretary.
Mr. Ettell was the current manager of the Hotel Blanche, Treasurer of the Circle Street Committee that was instrumental in getting the road and park around Lake DeSoto completed, ran for an elected office and was the second longest running manager of the hotel during it’s entire 100 year history.
All through the year there are stories and updates of the many colonists coming into the area to settle in the Mt. Carrie area from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago and other places up north. They were encouraged to migrate south by the United Land Colonization Company and the U.S. Colonization Company with promises of easy farming, abundant crops all year round and probably other outrageous claims to sell off the large tracts of land in the area. They were probably not made aware of the long hot summer months, the large mosquitoes and the various different tropical diseases running rampant during this time period. I read in one article that anyone leaving the state had to have a health certificate at one point. If any of you are descended from these brave souls and would like to share stories of their first couple of years here we would love to hear from you.
Did you know that the first of the Automobile License Taxes was originally ruled unconstitutional? Man, if only that ruling was never overturned.
Citizen Reporter 11 September 1911
The automobile license tax law passed at the last session of the legislature is unconstitutional and owners of autos in Florida do not have to pay a license tax to the state. Such is the ruling made by Judge W.S. Bullock of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Ocala, in a case of John H. Spence, an automobile dealer, who brought a test case in the circuit court to determine the constitutionality of the act. The decision is important, as it releases automobile owners from payment of the graduated tax per horse power for each car owned and operated over the public roads of the state. It is possible that the state may take some action through its attorney general to bring the matter before the supreme court.
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