Floridiana in Slate

by meanlouise on August 7, 2013

in florida files

It’s Wednesday, you love Florida, and you want to disappear down an entertaining internet rabbit hole for a while? I have just the solution for you: Craig Pittman’s month-long Slate series Oh, #Florida!

Here’s a teaser from the 1st post:

The other day my friend Shannon called me asking for help. She said her women’s group was putting on a luncheon for a group from some other country. Each member of her group was supposed to sit at a table full of the visitors from, I don’t know, Shteyngartistan or something, and somebody came up with the idea of arming the ladies with fun facts about Florida as icebreakers.

The problem, she said, was that the facts they’d compiled about Florida so far just weren’t all that fun. Leading industries, form of government, that kind of thing. Then she said, “I was wondering if you … ”

“You got a pen?” I asked. “Take this down: In 1845, when Florida joined the Union as a state, the first state flag that flew over the capitol bore the slogan: ‘Let Us Alone.’ ”

I went on to tell her about Ochopee, the town with the nation’s smallest post office (it used to be a tool shed), and Carabelle, the town with the world’s smallest police station (a phone booth bolted to the side of a building), and Cassadaga, the town that has so many crystal balls per capita that it’s known as the “psychic capital of the world.” I even mentioned Sweetwater, the town founded by a troupe of Russian circus midgets whose bus broke down.

I reeled off about a dozen oddball bits of Floridiana but avoided the really weird stuff—the nude biker gangs, the Wiccan Klan members, the convocations of furries who sometimes throw costumed parties at the beach.

You should go read, from the beginning, because I’m too lazy to reproduce all of the links (and there are a lot of links). Plus, you should just go read it, because it’s fun and interesting and, dare I say it, educational.

You can also follow Pittman on twitter – @craigtimes.

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