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Life Before Selfies


An excerpt from an article from our friends at “The River”; written by Gerri Reaves PhD:

In the last century or so, the number and types of diversions for tourists has skyrocketed. But if you visited Fort Myers in the early 19-teens, what was there to do?

Some activities have remained favorites through the decades; excursions to Sanibel – in the early days, by steamboat – hunting trips and fishing trips, for example.

For people who remained in town, there were community events such as dances, parties, parades and baseball games. Visitors during high season might be treated to a circus or carnival. Both indoor and outdoor concerts were popular too, and a couple of bandstands figured in the town’s early entertainment life.

People of substantial means had more choices, of course. They could comfortably fish for tarpon aboard a luxurious boat. Those who owned automobiles could go “motoring,” as it was called, dressed in attire suited to the terrible roads, dust and predictable breakdowns. Guests at the elegant Royal Palm Hotel could enjoy fine dining, partying and even the occasional lecture right on the premises.

In the days when few people owned a personal camera, much less a cell phone, a visit to the photography studio was a way Fort Myers tourists could take a selfie.

Goodness knows how many Florida tourists were photographed like the two in the postcard image above: posed before a backdrop of a subtropical scene and surrounded by stuffed alligators!


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