Cypress Gardens
by Mary M Flekke, Sarah E MacDonald and Randall M MacDonald
10.08  8.69  

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ISBN Number: 978-0738543390  
Number of Pages:
Publication Date:
November 2006

Florida's first theme park, Cypress Gardens, was the brainchild of Richard Downing "Dick" Pope Sr. With his wife, Julie Downing Pope, he transformed a marshy, lakeside property in Winter Haven into a magnificent garden. The park's first visitors in 1936 toured pathways surrounded by lush plants from around the world. Two years later, electric boats meandered through the park's winding, hand-dug canals. Water ski shows commenced in 1942, and the park became the "Water Ski Capital of the World." The Florida-shaped Esther Williams Swimming Pool still graces the shore of Lake Eloise. The park was a set for dozens of short feature films, a stage for beauty pageants, and a site for special television broadcasts. A butterfly garden, zoo, rides, and the small-town Southern Crossroads shopping and dining area remain popular features. Kent Buescher purchased Cypress Gardens in 2004, and today's expanded Cypress Gardens Adventure Park preserves the family-friendly appeal of Dick and Julie Pope's magnificent park.

About the Author
Mary M. Flekke, Sarah E. MacDonald, and Randall M. MacDonald are long-time Cypress Gardens visitors. Drawn from the park's archives, the authors' collections, and area libraries, these images trace the development and life of Florida's iconic roadside attraction and celebrate those who make Cypress Gardens memorable.
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