Monday, June 21, 2010

Wildwood's Cherokee Trading Posts

About this time of year in Central Florida, when it starts getting really hot and muggy, and thunderstorms roll in almost every afternoon, it seems like everything outside gets damp and melty. I stopped by the Cherokee Trading Post where the Florida Turnpike intersects with 301 in Wildwood to capture a few images of some great hand-painted signage before it melted away forever. I've watched the distinctive billboards of this roadside business slowly disappear through the years, as if nature was reclaiming the land they were erected upon. I dug through the old photo archives from the pre-digital days to see if I could find any images of said billboards but with no luck. I did, however, find some photos of the signs in better condition.

Scans from color prints from the Visual Ephemera pre-digital archives

It appears to me that the the Cherokee Trading Post has been eclipsed by one of the Indian River Citrus gift shops/convenience/store gas stations that seem to be everywhere along all Florida interstate exits. Although the Wildwood store near the Turnpike seemed like it was still open, its pulse was faint. Further west by I-75, another Trading Post has succumbed, perhaps a victim of the economy or maybe just an outdated relic of Florida's roadside past.


  1. LOVE those signs! There was a time when a cartoon of an alligator in a diaper and bonnet meant something. Good of you to capture these before they meet their maker, so to speak.

  2. Rick,

    I cannot drive by any of these sort of signs and NOT think of you and your passion for them.

    I suspect a MAJOR issue w/ the Wildwood Trading Posts (and to be honest, they ALWAYS conjured up images of cowboys and indians for this 6 Gun Territory loving Florida boy) is somewhat the changing economy, but moreso the fact that Wildwood isn't the Turnpike terminus that it once was.

    Remember the toll booth right there and the harrowing merge onto I-75? Now you just ease your way onto 75 like it's no big deal.