Sunday, April 13, 2014

Welcome to Florida

Usually, when we drive to Florida we enter the state by way of Interstate 75, but on a recent visit a traffic back-up motivated us to seek out an alternate route.  In Valdosta, we got off 75 and headed south on U-S 41.  This building caught my attention as we crossed the state line into the Sunshine State just north of Jasper, Florida.

I recognized the building right away.  It is one of the old Florida Welcome Centers, long out of business at this location (as is Cooter Jack's, which, as the sign indicates, took over the building for a while).  The state maintained a number of welcome centers just like this one beginning in the 1950s on major highways entering Florida.  These days, more modern versions welcome travellers on the interstates.  These smaller centers dating back to the '50s are long shuttered.

This view from an old post card shows you what the Welcome Center looked like in its original incarnation:

A comparison of the vintage photo with the current condition of the building reveals the awning windows have been covered, dramatically changing the appearance of the building.  The good news, though, is that the building survives.


  1. So cool...I remember visiting these when I was a kid.

  2. Hi Mike, I am a Jax Realtor with someone asking me to inquire about your Riverside listing. Can you email me please so that we can talk?
    Thank you. I'm with Coldwell Banker in Avondale.

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