Monday, September 9, 2013

First ECHO Ranger Outing

On Saturday the girls had their first field trip with the ECHO Ranger program. As I said in a previous post this is a program coordinated by our counties museums, parks, historical and educational sites that have combined to give kids the opportunity to visit various locations and learn about ecology, the history here and the arts. The first of our trips that we will make over the next 8 months was to the Halifax Museum in Daytona Beach.

The Museum's location is the site of the old Merchant's Bank that opened on September 11, 1911. The bank failed in the stock market crash of 1929 and the building remained vacant until it reopened in 1936 when the Florida National Bank and Trust bought the building.  This operated until 1964 when the bank moved to a new location.  Afterwards the old building was used as a restaurant, until in 1984 the Halifax Historical Society acquired the building and created this museum.

Girls at the Museum's entrance

We arrived a bit early for our tour, so we decided to walk the street that the museum was on and then crossed to the park across the street that borders the water inlet at Daytona Beach.  It's a beautiful area with a long history and a lot of old buildings with intricate design work and detailed  architecture. 

The HR Kress, 5 and dime store built in 1932.  Amazing detail on this old building.

Old Post Office Building still in use.  Lots of interesting architectural details.

Street view with park on left and shops and museum location on the right.

Egret with it's reflection at one of the parks' ponds.

We walked through the nice park that ran the length of the street and water inlet. Little ponds in the park hosted many birds like these egrets searching for a meal.

We also found some historical sites that we would learn about on our museum tour.  The first was Brownie's grave.  A dog topiary and grave marker that listed him as the "Town Dog" we found was a stray dog whose friendly disposition caused the towns people to feed and care for him in the late 40's and early 50's.  They contributed to his care at the bank and when at 13 years of age he died, the funds left in his account were used to create this grave site and memorial.  The next marker was the bust of Charles Burgoyne.  He was a wealthy man who lived in the area in the 1800's and he personally paid for streets to be built, fire department equipment and training costs and many other services that benefited this city in it's early days of it's growth.

Brownie's grave with topiary and a picture of Brownie from inside the museums collection

Our guide was a wonderful woman who was so patient with the kids.  After a short video that covered the areas history, she took them around to the various display cases and items explaining the changes from the early Tomokan Indians, through the Spanish periods and British Settlements.  Then the U.S. history including the areas Civil War history. 

View of museum from entry door

Old bank details with outside depository box and teller window
Cases of items from persons of interest throughout the cities history

Old bank switchboard and bank presidents desk

Murals painted in 1950 by Don J. Emery and his son

Some of the interior details of the building.

As we moved on to more modern history the growth of the racing competitions that were originally held on the hard packed sand of Daytona Beach, and would later become the Daytona International Speedway was commemorated by cases of items that covered the growth of what is today a huge contributor to the areas financial base with people traveling to participate in or view the auto races.

These are from some of the racing display cases.  On the left is the Hudson Hornet the first race car to have a sponsor.  I liked this too, because of the character in Disney's Cars Movie.  The display on the right is Sir Malcolm Campbell, who drove his Bluebird race car in the last speed test run on the beach to a land speed record for it's day of 276 mph, in 1936.

The girls enjoyed their time here learning and being able to try out items featured like the weight of the old bank vaults door, the town bell, the hunt for items featured in the two miniature town displays and finally their favorite the old Victrola from 1890 that was turned on and functioned perfectly playing the old record as our guide demonstrated the foxtrot with one of the young boys who was part of the tour group.  The look on the kids faces as this "giant CD" began to actually play with it's scratchy sounds and old music was precious!!!

The girls trying their turns at closing the heavy vault door

The Granny's Attic portion with another view of the vault upstairs and kids toys in the collection.  Kevin checking out the time lock mechanism for the vault.
The time lock mechanism.  Love the artistic details included with this practical part of machinery for the vault.
Kids learning how this worked - sorry picture here's a bit fuzzy.

Miniature town display case and old wood structure of hotel in miniature.

Close up of the town in miniature where the kids had a treasure hunt in locating details of this display

Beautiful and functional old Victrola

Kids as the Victrola played and foxtrot dance lesson

After our time at the museum we took a short car ride around the town, had a quick lunch and headed home.  The first of our ECHO Rangers' outings was definitely a hit with the girls and fun for the whole family.  Glad we decided to join this program.

Driving across the bridge to tour area

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