Dear Call Box: When I was a child in the ’60s, my family would occasionally travel north on U.S. 1. Somewhere between Jacksonville and the Georgia line, I recall seeing a long fence along the road with an advertisement that said, “See Safari.” Do you or any of your readers know what “Safari” was, where it was located and what happened to it?
Dear S.E.: We can’t find anyone who remembers there being a Safari attraction in the Northeast Florida area you described. So we can only surmise that it was an advertisement for one located elsewhere. We checked newspaper archives, internet sources and a Florida and Georgia roadside attraction website. While there were some strange attractions listed, nothing seemed similar to a Safari-style tourist spot.
We also checked with several Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia residents who traveled the area you mention in the 1960s, and they don’t recall any such place.
There are a couple of possibilities, and we talked to you further to see if they might be the one. You didn’t think so, but we’ll mention them anyway.
Lion Country Safari opened in 1967 in Loxahatchee in western Palm Beach County. At the time, it was the first drive-through safari park in the country, its website said. It features animal displays and encounters, animal feeding experiences, rides, a water sprayground, a maze, shopping and more.
There’s a place called Gatorland that was founded in 1949 by Owen Godwin, a colorful character who was known for his habit of dressing in full safari gear, according to internet accounts. He saw an opportunity for a wildlife-based, Old Florida roadside attraction, so he and his family established Gatorland, a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve along the Orange Blossom Trail.
Others with safari in their names included the World’s Largest Monster Truck Safari in Clermont; Billie Swamp Safari, home of the Stuffed Superman, in Clewiston; and a drive-through in Pine Mountain, Ga. If none of these sound what you are thinking off, we will throw it out to readers. Please let Call Box know if there’s another that fits the bill.
Dear Call Box: In checking out pecans this year, I’ve noticed that many have black spots. I want to know what’s caused this, are they edible and has anyone else run into this problem?
Dear M.M.: You are not alone in noticing this condition. The problem is known as scab disease, and it’s distinguished by black on the pecan tree leaves, said Larry Figart, urban forestry extension agent for the Duval County Extension Service and the University of Florida/IFAS. It’s particularly prevalent in wet weather.
“It starts out as a leaf spot, and wet weather washes the spores from that leaf spot onto the nuts,” he said.
Commercial pecan growers routinely spray fungicides during wet weather to combat the disease. However, this isn’t feasible for homeowners because they don’t have the special, expensive equipment required, Figart said. Also, the entire tree canopy must be treated for effective control.
It’s best to plant scab-resistant tree varieties, but again, this may not be practical for homeowners with established trees.
As for whether the pecans are edible, the taste might cause you to curl your lip. If possible, you could try cutting out the bad parts and salvaging the edible pieces, he said.
And yes, others have run into the problem this year, Figart said.
“This year seems to be a little worse than usual because of the amount of rainfall we have gotten,” he said.
What homeowners should do is to rake up the leaves and dispose of them because they are infected with the spores. Do not use them as mulch, Figart said.
For more information go to clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/pdf/hgic2211.pdf.
Update: A month or so ago, a reader wanted to know if Call Box could find any pictures of American Music Store when it was at Main and Monroe streets during the 1960s. We could not find anything in our archives, but a reader recently came through.
Patricia Brink of St. Augustine sent a picture of her son’s guitar teacher, Michael Morris, and Cloyer Turner, the store’s owner, jamming together. We are happy to run the photo.
Submit questions by calling (904) 359-4622 or mailing to Call Box, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231. Please include contact information. If you have a picture to offer with your question, feel free to send it.
Sandy Strickland: (904) 359-4128