Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ponce de Leon Discovers Florida

A clipping from one of the Hodges' scrapbooks:
Addison Burbank's mural for the Florida building at the Chicago Century of Progress exposition.  The painting, which is 10 feet 3 inches by 10 feet 9 inches, represents Juan Ponce de Leon at the moment of first setting foot on Florida soil and naming new land for its flowering beauty.  This first important event in United States history took place on Easter morning 1513.  Ponce de Leon, who came to the new world with Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 and remained as governor of Porto Rico for 20 years, was searching for the fabled "Fountain of Youth" said to be on the island of Bimini, when his ships touched the mainland of America somewhere near St. Augustine.  Mr. Burbank represents the aged adventurer as a visionary tinged with fanaticism.  He catches the spirit of Florida in its translucent light and by the inclusion of such tropical vegetation as the cocolobo, opuntia and papaya.  The Indians in the picture are of the Caloosa tribe, the aboriginies of Florida.  The painting will be hung permanently in the Florida state capitol after the world's fair.
Hodges was very involved in the Century of Progress exposition.  More clippings and photographs will be included in future posts.

Cocolobo:  The seagrape tree, which grows in south Florida.  For more see here.
Opuntia: The prickly pear.  For more see here.
Caloosa Tribe:  Lived on the southwest coast of Florida.  For more see here.

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