Friday, April 10, 2009

Walk of Fame 2

Sometimes I forget just how few people lived in Florida at the beginning of the last century. It was really a vast land with a small population and the few hardy souls who lived here must have rubbed elbows with each other. So there are many interesting instances of well known Floridians crossing paths with other well-known Floridians. For instance, Zora Neale Hurston stayed in the St. Augustine hotel owned by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and spent time in the Ft. Pierce studio of Beanie Backus, who shared painting tips with entrepreneurial African Americans who later became known as the Highwaymen. So I shouldn't be surprised that Thomas Edison bought his property from Sam Summerlin, son of one of Orlando's original pioneers or that Edison knew Hamilton Holt, president of Winter Park's Rollins College.

Holt was the gentleman who created the Walk of Fame at Rollins College in 1929. And apparently he didn't stop there. He gave Thomas Edison a stone with his name carved on it and Edison started his own "Walk of Fame" at his Winter Estate in Ft. Myers. The Ft. Myers version is not nearly as large and complete as the Winter Park version, and on the rainy day I was there, I couldn't find many outstanding stones. It was reported that the stone from Henry Ford's homestead was left uncarved, because Ford said he was "just a simple country boy."

Perhaps, Edison, Holt and Ford found themselves to be kindred spirits in the early days of the 20th century. Consider these quotes by Holt, Edison and Ford extolling the virtues of hard work:

"Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results, it produces no results. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last."
– Hamilton Holt

"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."
– Thomas Edison

"Opportunity will not overlook you because you are wearing overalls."
– Henry Ford

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