Exploring Cape Canaveral

June 29th, 2016

On July 11th 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down in Cape Canaveral from its last mission, ending the era of the 30-year Space Shuttle program. The retirement of the shuttle in 2011 left the United States without the ability to send astronauts into orbit for the first time since the early 1980s, leading some to wonder whether America was abandoning its leadership in space travel. Take a tour through the past, present and future of space travel with the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.  

On March 5, 1958, a Special Committee on Space and Aeronautics was formed by Congress and chaired by House majority leader John W. McCormack, with the objective of founding a space agency. This agency was named NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 


On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy began a crusade that would thrust the space program to new heights when he challenged the nation to claim a leadership role in space and land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. The Soviet Union, America’s rival in the Cold War, had surged ahead of the United States with spectacular achievements in space that struck fear into the hearts of many American citizens. Soviet leaders hailed these feats as a triumph of Communism.  America responded with one of the greatest mobilizations of resources and manpower in U.S. history. Eight years later, on July 20, 1969, two American astronauts walked on the Moon.

After the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, President Lyndon Johnson renamed the area “Cape Kennedy.” Johnson also recommended the renaming of the entire cape. The decision was announced in a televised address six days after the assassination when Cape Canaveral was officially renamed Cape Kennedy.

Cape Canaveral was originally named “Cabo Cañaveral”400 years ago.  People in the region and some historians disliked the name change.  It is, after all, a prominent geographic feature. In 1973, after several years of nudging by historians, local residents, and the Florida Legislature, the name was quietly changed back to Cape Canaveral. 

Soon space travel may once again be on the horizon. Several commercial space travel companies are competing to corner the market on space tourism and send you into space. Blue Origin, a new space flight company created by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, recently leased Launch Complex 36 in Cape Canaveral to build a launch pad for their orbital launch vehicle. The aeronautics company aims to create 330 jobs and invest $200 million in order to make Florida its operational base for production of their new BE-4-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Blue Origin plans to lower the cost of space flight by manufacturing reusable rockets on a 139-acre site in a section of the Kennedy Space Center called Exploration Park. Their launch system is built to fly up to six people into suborbital space, with the capsule returning to Earth under parachutes while its booster lands vertically using the same BE-3 rocket engine it uses for launch. As of March 2016, the first Blue Origin launch from LC36 is scheduled for 2020. The aeronautics company plans to sell tickets for space tourism flights on the capsule, but has not yet released a price for those outer space joy rides.

Welcome Aboard the Houseboat

June 1st, 2016

Houseboat communities have a long history in Florida. These laid-back waterfront neighborhoods attracted free spirits looking for a seafaring lifestyle that wouldn’t break the bank. Floating homes gained mainstream success due to 1960s crime genre films like Lady in Cement starring Frank Sinatra and the popular detective TV series Surfside 6 Read More...

A Walk Down Memory Lane: South Beach in the 70s

May 17th, 2016

For most of its history, Miami Beach was the hottest vacation destination in the world. That was until the 1970s, when the city fell out of fashion with tourists. The growing popularity of air travel, which beckoned tourists to exotic locations, and the opening of Disney World in 1971, siphoned tourism away from the Beach Read More...

Legacy of the Nautilus: From Hotel to Hospital

April 27th, 2016

Photo courtesy of floridamemory.com   Although not the most famous of real-estate developer Carl Fisher's original Miami Beach hotels (that distinction would  go to the 1912 Flamingo Hotel), the Nautilus Hotel was undoubtedly the most illustrious. Built in the early 1920s, Fisher employed renowned architects Leonard Schultze and Fullerton Weaver to design the one million dollar Mediterranean-style resort Read More...

Florida’s First Television Station

April 1st, 2016

  [caption id="attachment_3226" align="aligncenter" width="306"] Capitol Theater Downtown Maimi. Photo Courtesy of www.floridamemory.com[/caption] In 1925, Mitchell Wolfson and Sidney Meyer founded the Wolfson-Meyer Theatre Company. One year later, they opened the Capitol Theater, an innovative auditorium in the heart downtown Miami Read More...

Developers Unveil Proposals for Miami Dade College’s Downtown Site

March 16th, 2016

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1f00RFkR7M Miami Dade College is currently seeking one lucky developer to enter into a partnership for the 2.6 acre parcel located next to the Freedom Tower. Formerly the location of the Alcazar Hotel, the space is currently being used as a parking lot for the Wolfson Campus Read More...

White Weddings in South Florida

February 11th, 2016

Coral Castle Often associated with the engineering triumphs of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Egypt, Coral Castle was built by a reclusive eccentric named Edward Leedskalnin, who excavated gigantic quarried stones to construct his mysterious castle. Originally located in the tiny town of Florida City in the 1920's, the site was later moved to its current location in Homestead, Florida Read More...

Pablo Escobar’s Hidden Treasure

February 1st, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuerYh-60So&feature=youtu.be On January 19, 2016, the pink water-front mansion on Miami Beach once owned by the 1980s Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was demolished. Built in 1948, the 6,500 square foot, the four-bedroom mansion would have been quite unassuming for the "King of Cocaine" who at the pinnacle of his career was one of the richest men in the world Read More...

A Fond Farewell: Buildings Demolished in 2015

January 14th, 2016

It's out with the old and in with the new. As 2016 kicks off, a multitude of new real estate mega projects are already poised to further change Miami's skyline. As the city grows, developers continue to tear down some of Miami's older buildings to make way for new ones. Learning From Miami remembers some of the city's most iconic buildings demolished in 2015 Read More...

Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Child of the Sun”

October 30th, 2015

Florida Central College campus. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida. Central Florida is known as "The Theme Park Capital of the World", but did you know that one of America’s most famous architects designed a college campus there? Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright Read More...