Written by Wildcat Dianne on 12 Feb, 2010
It's Mardi Gras time here on the Gulf Coast USA, and there are many parades and other events going on throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwestern Florida before the Lenten Season begins. Pensacola will have its parade on Saturday, February 13 while Milton had…Read More
It's Mardi Gras time here on the Gulf Coast USA, and there are many parades and other events going on throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwestern Florida before the Lenten Season begins. Pensacola will have its parade on Saturday, February 13 while Milton had it's own little parade on Thursday, February 11, and Mom and I had a front-row seat for the festivities.
Mom and I bundled up warmly since the temperatures were to be in the 40's and it was starting to drizzle. Praying that the rain wouldn't get heavier as we were waiting for the parade to begin and during the parade, we made our way to Downtown Milton. Traffic was a little bit heavy getting into town, and we thought it would be parade traffic, but when we got further into town, we noticed that there were not any people waiting on the side of the road at 5 p.m. Mom and I lucked out and parked the car near the Imogene Theater on Hwy. 90 and walked across the street to the Old Post Office Antiques to look around again and for me to buy that vintage beaded cap I had so admired the first time I visited this shop. Mom and I asked the owners if the parade was still on or had been postponed, and one of the gentlemen said that the parade was going down Stewart Street then to Berryhill before finishing up on Willing Street. "Well that's a really short route for a parade!", Mom and I thought. Is it going to be worth our time to wait an hour to see this parade, or do we go home to our nice warm house!? Not to be intimidated by cold weather or lack of enthusiasm, we stuck around and walked up Caroline Street to Willing to stake out a spot on the corner of Willing and Berryhill in the parking lot of the First Methodist Church of Milton (Established in 1867).
After a few minutes of standing around and seeing the route hadn't been blocked off by the Milton Police Department, Mom and I decided to walk back to the car on Elmira and Caroline and park it in the church parking lot. Now Mom and I have been to several parades in our lifetime and never had this opportunity to have the car right at our disposal for shelter while waiting for the parade to start, but Mom didn't want to risk a chill and us getting soaked if the rains got heavier, and it was a good call for both of us to move the car to the church parking lot.
But I was nice and warm from walking all over the place and too restless to sit in the car waiting for the parade, so I looked around the Methodist Church's exterior taking pictures and admiring the architecture and went across the road to talk to some folks who had brought their dogs along for the parade. The Pit Bull's name was Chopper, and he was a friendly young pup who jumped up on me to say hello while his sister's name was Lily, and she was a mellow little Boxer dog. Chopper's owner had both Chopper and Lily trained to bark everytime he said "Who Dat!?", the war cry of the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, and it was funny hearing the dogs bark in excitement at the site of the parade floats going by during the parade.
A half-hour after parking the car in the church parking lot, the parade came down Berryhill from Stewart with a police escort. It had to be the shortest parade Mom and I had seen in our lifetime, but it was enjoyable seeing the small amount of floats going past us and, of course, what Mardi Gras Parade would not be complete without the throwing of colorful beads, moon pies, and candy at the adoring crowds. But most of the parade participants had horrible aims, and there were several times where Mom and I were bending over to pick beads off the sidewalk and street. I was waiting for one of the participants to hit me in the butt while I was bent over, but the only body part of mine that was hit by beads was by a guy in a pirate float whose beads hit me in the chest as I was taking a picture of him. NICE SHOT!!!
The Milton Mardi Gras Parade 2010 only lasted about 30 minutes and not many people were watching the parade because of the cold weather or economic situation. Mom and I enjoyed our time at the parade, but I think we will have an even better time at the Pensacola one tomorrow and will probably pass on this parade next year, if the town of Milton has one. Bag full of beads and moon pies, Mom and I made our way out of town and were home by 7 p.m. Just in time for the heavier rains to arrive and have us wondering if we were getting snow like the weathermen on TV were saying. It hasn't arrived, yet, but the warnings are in place!
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 10 Feb, 2010
Last year, my father wanted to buy property in the Pensacola/Milton area of Northwestern Florida. Since he lives in Arizona during the winter and wouldn't be here all the time, he relied on Mom and me to do a lot of the legwork to…Read More
Last year, my father wanted to buy property in the Pensacola/Milton area of Northwestern Florida. Since he lives in Arizona during the winter and wouldn't be here all the time, he relied on Mom and me to do a lot of the legwork to find a place to call home. On one of our searches in Milton led to a house in downtown Milton that was built aroun 1940. Mom and I love old houses and the architecture and history they bring, but, unfortunately, this house had a serious mold problem in the kitchen and was in dire needs of serious TLC. Darn, and I would have loved living downtown and exploring many of the other old houses and shops along the way.
For Mom and I and anyone else interested in exploring historic Downtown Milton and to fulfill that desire for old architecture, one can drive to Milton, park the car on a side street or near the courthouse and walk around the town. Downtown Milton is a tiny town and easily accessible by foot which Mom and I did this past Monday.
Mom and I parked the car on Willing Street, which is towards the end of the Downtown. After showing my talents in parallel parking, we began our walk of Downtown Milton by seeing the First Presbyterian Church a short distance up the road. This church is one of the oldest parishes in the area and was established in 1868. The church is a tiny brick edifice with stained glass windows and white columns in front.
After looking at the church, Mom and I walked up Berryhill Street, which is one of the main roads leading to Highways 90 (known as Caroline Street once you hit the downtown), 87 (Stewart Street), and 89 (Dogwood). On Berryhill and several of the side streets, there are several 19th and early 20th century houses along these roads worth exploring the exteriors of. Since people are living in these homes, I don't recommend traipsing through without permission. One green and gray Victorian on Berryhill dates from 1872 while several others date from before or after this time.
After walking along Berryhill, Mom and I turned onto Elmira Street, one of the side streets of Milton. It was on this road and near the intersection with Elmira and Yew Streets, that we discovered an old house with green shutters and a beautiful porch that seemed unoccupied since the shutters were shut. The house's architecture had Mom and I curious and loving the style of the house. I took several shots of the home and wished that I would hit the lottery and buy this house or one of the other old Victorians here. "Wish in one hand, s--- in the other!", as Burgess Meridith said in Grumpy Old Men.
After seeing the old house on Yew and Elmira, Mom and I were walking past a law office nearby when a gray and white tabby cat came out from the driveway and greeted Mom and I. According to the cat's tag on it's collar, his name was Smitty, and I pet him before he went on his way down the road. AH, "The Cat Who Crossed the Street", I thought to myself thinking of the great and whimsical Lillian Jackson Braun titles of one of my favorite mystery book series. It was further down the road on Canal and Berryhill Streets we also saw a newer construction house (maybe 1960's) that had some statues of Roman gods that looked kind of out of place for the architecture of the property. Upon further examination of the statues at the beginning of the path up to the house, I discovered that both statues had moss growing out of their heads making it look like hair was growing. It was worth another photo op for this intrepid photographer.
Mom and I walked further down Canal and looked at another old house that now houses the Santa Rosa Art Gallery and Store. We might have gone inside to explore, but it was closed on Mondays, and we could only enjoy looking at the exterior and taking pictures before heading back onto Caroline Street. We were right across the street from the
Old Post Office and Antique Store and Mom was interested to go inside as was I. I will write more about this place in another journal entry, but Mom and I spent a good chunk of time in this place checking out the architecture of the place and looking at the many antiques that are on display and for sale. Some items are pretty inexpensive while the furniture Mom and I noticed was pretty expensive but mostly in great condition. Wish I could hit the lottery, I thought again.
A couple of months before and before the weather took and unusually cold twist, Mom and I walked part of the Blackwater Trail, a bike and walking path that goes through downtown Milton and its outskirts. It is a nicely groomed trail that leads you through some of the nice neighborhoods of Milton, past the library and then to some of the other businesses on Stewart and other streets that the Blackwater Trail goes through. If you pass the Milton Thrift Store (Monday through Friday 9-5), you will get some great deals on old furniture and clothing. Mom and I got a dining room chair for $7 and I lucked out and got some yarn for 39 cents. The Blackwater Trail is a great way to get exercise by foot or bike without contending with car traffic and other interference.
After Mom and I left the Old Post Office and Antique Store, we walked back to our car and headed home vowing to come back and explore the shop more and I am still thinking of buying that $10 vintage beaded hat I saw there!
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 04 Jan, 2010
OK. The trip on board the Nina and the Pinta floating classrooms were a big dud for Mom, Dad, and me, but I learned a little bit, but not anything new about Columbus's smallest ships that sailed to the New World in 1492.…Read More
OK. The trip on board the Nina and the Pinta floating classrooms were a big dud for Mom, Dad, and me, but I learned a little bit, but not anything new about Columbus's smallest ships that sailed to the New World in 1492. You know the poem, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. . ." BLAH BLAH BLAH!!! But these ships were tinier than one expects and although Columbus sailed on the biggest ship The Santa Maria, he didn't like the big ship and was happy to see the Santa Maria sink off the coast of Haiti on Christmas Eve 1492.
The Nina was Columbus's favorite ship and was built in the Ribera de Moguer in Spain in the late 15th Century. At 65 feet in length and 80 tons, the Nina carried 27 sailors to the New World in 1492 and after the Santa Maria went belly up carried Columbus and the surviving members of the Santa Maria for the remainder of the voyage and back home to Spain in March 1493. The Nina wasn't thrown onto the scrap heap after this voyage and took Columbus to the New World on his second voyage to Hispanola in 1495 and survived a hurricane along the way. Columbus loved the Nina so much, that he purchased part-ownership of the Nina and used it as his flagship for his conquest of Cuba in 1495. Then it brought Columbus and 120 sailors home to Spain in 1496.
The Nina was chartered for an unauthorized trip to Rome after it came home to Spain, and it was captured in Cagliari trying to leave that port. The captain of the Nina at the time, Alonso Medel, and his crew escaped capture and rowed back to the Nina and escaped back to Spain in the dead of Night. The Nina made its last voyage with Columbus back to the New World in 1500 and was last seen in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and made a last trip to the Pearl Coastbefore disappearing in 1501.
The replica of the Nina was built in Brazil by an American engineer and historian, John Patrick Sarsfield, in 1988 and the construction was done like it was in the late 15th Century. No power tools or artificial woods were used and the construction techniques were from the 15th Century.
The Pinta, on the other hand, was Columbus's "problem child" from the get go. The original Pinta was built about 16 years after the Nina in Spain, and was named for it's captain, Martin Alonso Pinzon, who would give Columbus a lot of grief during the first voyage to the New World. In addition to numerous mechanical problems on the ship including a broken rudder that almost sank the Pinta, Pinzon and Columbus didn't get along and were constantly at odds to see who would get to the New World first. One of the sailors on board the Pinta was the first to discover land in October 1492 at Hispanola, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But after hitting land, Pinzon and the Pinta took off from Columbus and the Nina and Santa Maria to explore more of the New World on their own and try to get all of the fame and glory that went with it. It was an unsuccessful voyage for Pinzon and the Pinta, and the bigger caravel returned to Columbus with his tail between his legs and very ill.
After the Pinta returned to Spain in March 1493, Pinzon returned home a very ill man and died shortly after his return. The Pinta disappeared from history and wasn't resurrected until John Patrick Sarsfield had the Pinta rebuilt shortly after the Nina replica was completed in the same style and without power tools.
The Nina and The Pinta replicas are historically accurate ships and were used during the filming of the 1992 film 1492: The Conquest of Paradise with Gerard Depardieu. It is now used as a floating classroom that travels the world for all to see.
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 09 Sep, 2009
One thing you have to know when you travel or move to northwestern Florida is that it is a lot different than travelling or living in Southern Florida. I lived in outside of Fort Lauderdale for 14 months from 1999-2000 and can testify to…Read More
One thing you have to know when you travel or move to northwestern Florida is that it is a lot different than travelling or living in Southern Florida. I lived in outside of Fort Lauderdale for 14 months from 1999-2000 and can testify to this now that I am living in Northwestern Florida in a small town called Milton. After 16 years in the sticks of Idaho, I thought I had seen it all with rednecks and other rural adventures in the mountains in the McCall/Donnelly, but nothing could prepare me for life in "the wilds of Milton."
Native born Floridians and newcomers will tell you that Northwestern Florida is known as Floribama because it is closer to Alabama than other states and life is so much similar to life in Alabama and the other Gulf States. Life is pretty laid-back here in Floribama and city folk like me are shocked that people still have chicken coops and other livestock living in their backyards that are only 5 miles from the nearest grocery store.
When Mom and I moved to our new home in Milton at the end of July, we were surprised to be neighbors with a man named Wayne and his chicken coop, goat, and after looking in his yard one more time, a couple of pigs. "This will be fun!", I thought, but Mom and I have gotten spoiled by living in the quiet country solitude of Donnelly, Idaho for 10 years and in rural Meridian, Idaho for almost six more years. Mom and I thought a crowing rooster going off at the crack of dawn would be no problem. The rooster, who Mom calls Rudy, never bothered us with his crack of dawn crowing, and the bleating of the goat wasn't an issue either.
The pigs are another story altogether. Our first full night at our new humble abode, Wayne comes up to me as I am dumping moving boxes into the trash and tells me that he is about to have his pigs slaughtered. "OK" I thought, he will take him to the slaughterhouse, and that will be it. A co-worker of mine who is also named Wayne told us that he was taking his two pigs Mary Beth and Gloria to the slaughterhouse to be processed, and I thought our neighbor Wayne would be doing the same. WRONG! About 5 p.m. as Mom and I are getting ready for dinner and feeding our cats Zoe and Xena, we hear two loud pops from someone's gun. Wayne and his buddies have done the dirty deed of pig sticking all by themselves, and for the next couple of hours work on cutting Porky and Petunia into chops and other smoked goods for Wayne's birthday party the next day. Luckily we didn't see the butchering from our windows, and I was glad they did the deed behind the shed that blocks some of Wayne's property from our view. The next day at work, I tell Walter and Jim, two of our Department Heads, about the whole thing, and Jim jokes, "I guess those little piggies didn't go to the market!" HA HA!
So city girl me is really curious about these pigs and wants to get pictures of them for my friends around the world and for Igougo.com. Like Margaret Bourke White, I get out the trusty camera and get off the porch and to the fence dividing Wayne's and our property and get a shot of the pigs in their yard grazing. Then the pigs see me and come up to the fence, and I get back on the porch. YEESH! "These pigs don't look anything like "Babe" or Miss Piggy!", I think to myself. They are kind of smelly, on the small side and kind of ugly. No cute pink piggies here with eyeshadow and lipstick here! They must think I have food, and I tell them I don't and return to the porch. A couple of minutes later, I return to the fence to check them out again, and they think I have food and run to the open gate in the back yard and make their way out of the yard towards me. YIKES! I don't know if the piggies are friendly or maneaters and start running with the three little pigs behind me in hot pursuit. In my flight, I blow my right calf muscle out and hop and limp up to the safety of the porch. Xena has run into the house and Zoe has puffed her tail up in fright and runs into the house, too. Mom wishes she had the camera to get the shot of my running from the pigs who are now heading to the neighbor on the right of us land.
Three weeks of limping on a swollen calf and ankle (I might have twisted it running) and explaining to friends and family about my adventures of the three little pigs have made me the butt of many jokes and stories. The District Human Resource lady at work said there have been incidents of domestic pigs running away and becoming wild complete with tusks. I laugh with them.
Eventually, I see Wayne in the yard last week, and he tells me that the three little pigs are going to the market (they are really going to the market this time) at the end of the month, and I tell him about my adventure with them a couple of weeks before. Wayne also wishes that there was a picture of my running from his pigs. He tells me the pigs were probably hungry and had let themselves back into their pen before Wayne and his wife got home that night. Who knows what sparked the three little pigs taste for freedom, but I wonder if this is going to be one of many experiences for me in the country. Mom suggested when we were getting ready to move into the house that we get some chickens for our own eggs since a lot of our neighbors have their own coops. I told her "no way." First, I am afraid of birds and their wings flapping and claws, and I am afraid of getting clawed by a chicken when I would go and get eggs. Second, Zoe and Xena would most likely be sitting outside the coop licking their chops and watching these birds in anticipation for their own personal chicken dinner. The birds might not lay eggs being scared out of their wits at the sight of the little killers stalking them. Third, I am not one to want to clean chicken coops. When it gets wet, chicken and turkey coops tend to get pretty ripe, and I know that from staying in Slovakia during the Summer of 2002. Biking past a turkey farm that was pretty smelly on daily bike rides gave my gag reflexes a test. We'll just stick with dogs and cats for now.
This past weekend, our new neighbor to our right moved in with two horses and two dogs. The horses are magnificent creatures and I woke up this morning to their whinnying while their owners groomed and exercised them. Who said life in the country is lame. I am looking forward to more experiences of living in the country. Stay tuned!
Written by Wildcat Dianne on 01 Jul, 2009
Before moving to Pensacola last year and enjoying two visits to the area in 2005 and 2007, I had never heard about the little town of Milton, Florida. Well that changed when I was offered a position at the Home Depot in nearby Pace,…Read More
Before moving to Pensacola last year and enjoying two visits to the area in 2005 and 2007, I had never heard about the little town of Milton, Florida. Well that changed when I was offered a position at the Home Depot in nearby Pace, Florida and made friend with several co-workers who lived in the area. When Dad decided to buy a house in Pensacola for Mom and I to rent, we were at first adamant to stay in Pensacola to be near my sister Erika. But after not seeing much in houses in Pensacola that were in a good neighborhood and within "His Lordship's" budget, Mom and I decided to expand our house search into the Milton area. My friend Eddy was stoked that we could be neighbors, and several other friends from work were happy that Mom and I were moving into the area which would garner us several invitations to friends' houses and other events.
Mom and I found a lovely little house in East Milton, about 12 miles from Pace and work, that was in the country on an acre of land, and Dad's lowball offer was accepted. Eddy was really happy since we really would be neighbors being only 4 miles from each other, and I was excited because Milton had an interesting history dating from its heyday as a railroad hub for the lumber industry in Bagdad that shipped yellow pine across the country. Milton's history had me picqued from day one, and I was determined to visit it many times. The first day I got to see Milton was last Saturday on the way to Eddy's house for a haircut, and I realized there is more things that will be discovered on future visits.
Milton is home to several old buildings including the Exchange Hotel and the Imogene Theater (1912) which was home to several plays and eventually a movie theater before it burned down in an unfortunate fire last year. Plans are being made to restore the Imogene Theater to its former glory. For now, we can only see the shell of what is left of the theater as we pass through town.
Milton is also home to a nice little Veterans Memorial Park and Whiting Field, the Naval Air Station on Milton's outskirts. I had time for a trip through the Veterans Park last Saturday, and it is lovingly cared for by the city of Milton and is one of the most beautiful Veterans Memorials I have seen in the USA. There are two statues of an American soldier and an American Bald Eagle in the center of the memorial that is surrounded by several huge granite slabs stating the wars that the USA have been involved in since the Revolutionary War to the current activity in Iraq. The foundation is red brick with the names of the fallen local military members and their dates of service and deaths. The slabs of each war depict several important battles of each war, and I was disappointed to see on the WWII slab that they had spelled Auschwitz. It said, "January 27, 1945: Aushwitz is liberated. . ." I hope they will fix that sometime soon.
Milton, Florida can be reached via Pensacola from I-10 east. You can enter Milton via Exit 26 and SR191 or via Route 90 from Pace and other routes that I haven't discovered. It's well worth a few hours of your time when you visit the Florida Panhandle.
When one talks about the Civil War, they only mention the big battles at Gettysburg, Bull Run, and other battles that were important to turning the tide of the war and ending slavery. Not many people are aware that the Gulf Coast of Florida…Read More
When one talks about the Civil War, they only mention the big battles at Gettysburg, Bull Run, and other battles that were important to turning the tide of the war and ending slavery. Not many people are aware that the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama were sites of battles between the Union and Confederate Armies, and on my Saturday ride through Milton and Bagdad, Florida, I found out that there was a two-hour battle in Bagdad that was instrumental in the battle for Pensacola and its important Naval base.
As the Confederate Army was evacuating the Pensacola area in 1862, they burned down many buildings in Pensacola, Bagdad, and Milton including Bagdad's lumber mills in order to prevent them from falling into the Union Army's hands and be used to defeat the Confederacy. After the Confederates left the area, they remained nearby in Santa Rosa County along with the Union Army. Both sided conducted raids and captured many strategic buildings along the way. Other raids were conducted for reconnaisance and to get supplies for both sides. The Confederate posted troops along the railways in Bagdad and Milton in order to try to prevent the Union from raiding the area and occupying Pensacola.
The skirmishes were only little ones with little loss of life, but all that came to a head on October 18, 1864 when the Union 19th Iowa Infantry Regiment consisting of 200 men and a local Florida battalion under the command of General A.B. Spurlilng who sided with the Union Army landed about 3.5 miles from Bagdad by ship in order to steal lumber that was being shipped to the Bagdad lumber mills. A 300-man Confederate battallion intercepted Spurling's forces and a two-hour fight began that ended with the Confederate forces withdrew, and the 19th Iowa Regiment left the area with about 140 logs.
A week later, Spurling's forces returned to Bagdad and after another skirmish with little casulties forced the Confederate forces out of the village leading to the Union Army to occupy Bagdad and set up headquarters at the 1847 Antebellum Thompson House, which was built by one of the prominent members of the lumber industry, Benjamin Woodson Thompson. During the Union occupation, the Thompson House and other buildings in Bagdad were used by Union troops as quarters inside and outside, and even an African-American unit, the 25th, lived in the Thompson House. The Union troops were not the best of guests and destroyed or damaged many buildings including the Thompson House, which was covered in grafitti inside and out. Thompson House recovered from the trials of the Civil War and was expanded afterwards to remain a dominant part of Bagdad Society.
There are annual reenactments of the Skirmish on the Blackwater, and other information can be gotten from www.bagdadvillage.org.