Defining a Sense of Place
By combining the knowledge existing among the diverse resources in the academic community, The History Council, with its distinguished Board of Advisors, will correlate the knowledge of various academic disciplines, and the latest in technological resources, in order to provide a more comprehensive perspective on subjects of historic importance.
The long-term objectives of The History Council include the funding of original research; publication of books and brochures; developing a website with educational resources and encouraging the city, county, and state to afford greater recognition of people, places, and events of historical importance. We will create memorials and monuments commemorating noteworthy historical events in order to better promote our area and to create a sense of place.
Presented as one cohesive package – incorporating Clearwater, Dunedin, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, and other connected municipalities – the Suncoast offers an extraordinary spread of historical attractions that will appeal to visitors, students, and residents alike. Our educational materials will be available to schools, museums, tourists, residents, and historians. By combining and describing events of historic significance, the Florida Suncoast will be recognized as a place of international importance – one that represents a cultural heritage destination worthy of a visit.
Commemorating the Narváez Expedition
Large-scale monument commissioned by History Council and proposed for downtown waterfront, featuring four key individuals: Pánfilo de Narváez – leader of the expedition; Cabeza de Vaca – first to write a book about what is now the United States of America; Estevanico – first black explorer of North America and “discoverer” of Arizona and New Mexico; Ucita – Chief of the Tocobaga.
Honoring the Tocobaga Indian Tribe
Proposed monument for the Anderson/Narváez (Jungle Prada) archaeological site (monument designed by sculptor Mark Aeling; rendering by artist, Carrie Jadus, both of St. Petersburg, FL).
The name “Tocobaga” is often applied to all of the native peoples of the immediate Florida Suncoast area during the first Spanish colonial period (1513-1763).
Suncoast Historical Heritage
The History Council has three areas of focus: the Pre-Columbian Era; the Contact/Colonial Era; and the Modern Era. Our first efforts are focused on Pre-Columbian and Early Colonial periods, and we plan to address later Colonial and Modern Era history in future.
It is the history of the region that is the least-recognized, and least-frequently utilized, source for generating interest in the Florida Suncoast. Although various shell mounds and middens from pre-Columbian times exist, they are generally unnoticed and unrecognized, relying only on a local community’s recognition. There are also small and generally-unrecognized historic landmarks that have been established over the last century that stand alone and unappreciated because their very presence is unpublicized. For example, the Birthplace of Commercial Aviation and the arrival of the Pánfilo de Narváez Expedition are recognized only by small markers, unlikely to be seen by any but those most determined to find them. In some cases, historical markers are inaccurate and require revision, while in others they do not herald the true significance of the event being memorialized.
The Florida Suncoast was first settled by Native Americans more than 10,000 years ago. It became the landing site of the first major European explorations and the first attempted settlements in “La Florida.” They marked the beginnings of the history of exploration in the New World, including the Ponce de Leon voyages of 1513 and 1521, the Narvaez expedition of 1528, and the Hernando De Soto expedition of 1540, as well as others that followed. All occurred on the Florida Suncoast, yet they have not been widely publicized as the earliest attempts to explore and settle what is now the United States. As the centuries advanced, Florida underwent a massive change, becoming one of our nation’s most populous states, and one of the premier tourist destinations in the world. Numerous events of genuinely historic significance occurred…most of which remain unrecognized. By combining and publishing information, photos, and locations of all of these historic places and events, the stories of our past will be more widely understood and appreciated.