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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Long Bygone Era of Motor Inns and Tourist Courts on Americas Classic Highways

Rt 17 which traverses the southeastern US from Virginia to Florida was once the only way to go. As the highway system grew so too did the related businesses that would serve the travelers.
This has to be from the 1940's and is typical for the the traveller to take post cards as souvenirs and never send them. Just like taking photos right? I love the description on the back, "Hot & Cold Showers!?"  and the "better class."  Who were they?   Finally, the spelling of "Hyway" - a beautiful mistake or a local expression?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Things I Never Knew About Cuba - I didn't even remember the Maine!

One public school social studies class must have told me some brief history of the island nation just 90 miles off the Florida coast...or maybe not. We seem so close to re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba that posts from her past seem to be well-timed.

Reader, please understand that I have no political motivations within my posts here. I am on a journey to learn about the present by the bits and pieces I uncover from the past. My conclusions are drawn from limited research on the web (it must be true, I read it on the Internet!). I welcome anyone who might like to comment and set the record straight, or simply go opinion for opinion with me. I'm game. 

First, I never knew the story behind the USS Maine. I remember the famous illustration of the ship's massive explosion which sent men and machine into the Havana harbor. 266 sailors lost their lives in that one explosion, which to this day its cause is still somewhat of a mystery. Basically, it's 1898 and the USS Maine is really only visiting Cuba, which at the time is under Spanish control. Several insurrections by Cuban nationals, or revolutionaries had heightened tensions and the US generally supported the Cubans.

Though some would say it was the birth of "yellow journalism" - the fight for readers of Pulitzer's and Hearst's newspapers - that lead to war with Spain, more likely their inflamed stories of the brutality of the Spanish over their colonies led to the public's support of the America's expansion overseas. Either way, the brief war with Spain freed the Cubans from Spanish rule. This led to the creation of the memorial to those sailors some 15 years later.  

The Cubans were thankful for what the US had done, however, this love affair could last the 20th century and years of investment and development of Cuba into a playground for the rich and influential also brought corruption. By the end of the 1950's hotels and casinos like the Nacional were owned and run by Americans and the Cuban government was losing favor to revolutionaries like Castro who believed Cuban should be controlled solely by Cubans.
The interesting thing about these 2 hotel bills is that it was about this time - the near height of the Cuban playground days that the lobby of this hotel would likely have been host to numerous celebrities and public figures. The also signify a time just before the Onset of WWII and the unknown position that the Cuban government might take. In December of 1941 Cuba became the first Latin American nation to declare war on the Axis powers.  

Note: the is a story of the monument to the USS Maine in 2013 how it was being restored after years of uncertainty. Now that we are on the verge of new relations with Cuba it will be interesting to see if history repeats itself yet again.