Thursday, December 16, 2010
What is wrong with this picture?
We are enjoying our stay here in a remote part of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. The Cedar Key area is historic, but remains a quiet rural community. One of the things we have noticed, after being here for awhile, is the age of the staff of almost all of the businesses we have come into contact with. At first, we did not think much about it. We talked to the gentleman operating the boat rental on the dock, who took over after a long career in sales. Then visited the state park museum, had a nice chat with the owner of a golf cart business, and several others. All of these persons were older than us. There are no young folks working at any of the places we visited-none! I can only wonder why. We had some extended conversations with a few of these people and in their cases; it seemed that the economy and poor investments had put them back to work. That is understandable, but still, where are the younger workers? I suspect that they have moved on to larger communities. This is not a good sign for the future of the area.
We toured two of the area museums, the Cedar Key Museum State Park and the local Historical Society museum. Both of these covered the local history from prehistoric times thru the middle of the last century. Like most small town museums, they focus on local business from before the Civil War and a brief overview of the Native Americans who lived here for many centuries before the Europeans arrived. The state park has, as its central display, the home of St Clair Whitman, who had his own private shell museum, which was the first in the area. Eventually, the home he lived in was moved to its current location at the state park and much of his collection is on display. The state park was having a contest on Christmas decorations prepared by several local groups and was asking visitors to vote for the best. We voted for the tree made from fishing net by the elementary school. They did a great job and we have been trained by our daughter, the third grade teacher, to always support the kids.
Besides fishing, logging and farming the other major business in the area was production of brooms/brushes using material from a local palm tree. This was a major industry for many years and is one of the focuses of the historical museum located in down town Cedar Key. The museum includes the home of Dr. Andrews, who owned the brush/broom manufacturing plant.
Both of these museums were small but well cared for and interesting.