Memorial Teems with History Timucuan Village Focus of New Mural

By Barker-Benfield, Simon | The Florida Times Union, October 25, 1997 | Go to article overview

Memorial Teems with History Timucuan Village Focus of New Mural


Barker-Benfield, Simon, The Florida Times Union


Ed Watkins, a volunteer at the newly redesigned visitor center

at Fort Caroline National Memorial, is one of perhaps only a few

people in Jacksonville who knows how to make casina .

It was the caffeine-heavy "black drink" of the Timucuan Indians,

made from yaupon holly leaves.

To a recent visitor, the stuff smelled a little like hay, and

tasted awful.

"It can get pretty bitter, especially if you cook it down a

little too much," Watkins warns.

A new informational area on casina, including pictures of holly

leaves and a shell dipper used to drink it, is just one small

part of this year's $400,000 makeover of the visitor center.

Fort Caroline also serves as the headquarters of the 46,000

acres of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

"It is exciting to have a new exhibit that focuses on the

broader story, including the natural resources and the

historical events," said Barbara Goodman, superintendent at Fort

Caroline.

Visitors who remember the old museum may remember a canoe and

wooden owl on display.

Today, the canoe -- a hollowed-out, 18-foot-long log -- and the

6-foot-tall owl totem, which was created sometime between the

12th and 16th centuries, are in a new setting, up against a

mural that dominates most of the new exhibit space.

The mural's theme is "Where The Waters Meet." It takes the

visitor from the tidal shore to a Timucuan village, which forms

the backdrop to the canoe.

"The village is the focal point," said Richard Schlecht, the

Arlington, Va.based artist who created the mural.

Schlecht, who has illustrated stories for National Geographic

and designed stamps for the U.S. …

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