Friday, April 18, 2008

Honeymoon Island
10" x 20"

Giclees available through Pedlar's Child
Art Gallery.

Honeymoon Island is my favorite beach. It is a protected wildlife area and therefore left undeveloped for the most part. There are only four buildings on this beautiful stretch of beach.

Honeymoon Island, a barrier island, is now a State Park made up of 385 acres of pristine nature off the coast of Dunedin, Florida. The gulf side of the beach is about four miles long and has virgin slash pine and mangroves along St. Joseph Sound. The island is protected from development and only has four bathhouses along the beach – one of which is depicted in my painting of Honeymoon Island.

It was first inhabited by the Tocobagan Indians and was later populated by Spanish explorers, pirates, traders, and fishermen in the sixteenth century. Artifacts such as skeletal remains, pottery and chains have been found on the island.

In the 19th century, some attempts were made to homestead the island with little success until a hog farm was started on the island and it became known as Hog Island. In October 1921 a hurricane hit the island and split it in two with Hurricane Pass cutting between the north and south parts of the original island.

However, by the 1940's, the unattractive name was changed to Honeymoon Island, since it had become a popular destination for newlyweds. A businessman from New York by the name of Clinton Mosely Washburn had purchased the island in 1939.

He, together with Life Magazine, Newsreel, and the Clearwater Lions Club, began a contest for newlywed couples where the winners would spend their Honeymoon on the island. One hundred sixty-seven couples won a stay and came down to Honeymoon Isle. They stayed in one of the fifty thatched huts built on what was then the main beach area. World War II ended the honeymoons and the island was then used for a rest and recuperative retreat for factory workers.

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