Category Archives: Spotlight

Photo Archives Showcases Four Plant City-Area Authors


PLANT CITY – The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center held a wonderfully successful special event Tuesday, June 4, 2013, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. showcasing four plant city-area authors: Dr. Felix Haynes, Nicholas D. Brown, Dick Elston, and Gil Gott.

The evening began with a reception in the History Center Library, where guests partook of wine and cheese, hors d’oeuvres, and other refreshments. Executive Director Gil Gott then provided opening comments and introduced the authors, who followed with synopses and highlights of each of their books. The featured books were:

No Substitute for Victory – Dr. Felix Haynes

Strawberries & Steel – Nicholas D. Brown

The Life and Times of Plant City in the 1940s – Dick Elston

Remembering Plant City; Tales from the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World – Gil Gott

The latter portion of the event featured one-on-one, question-and-answer time between guests and authors. Plentiful book sales at special prices, autographs, photographs, and fun ensued. Copies of these books are still available at Plant City Photo Archives & History Center located at 106 South Evers Street in downtown Plant City.

The event was a great success and the Photo Archives plans to hold similar book-signing events in the future with other local authors.

Plant City Photo Archives and History Center was founded in 2000 with the objective of preserving the history and heritage of the community by collecting and preserving the community’s photographs and their stories. The organization’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. The office telephone number is 813.754.1578 and the email address is


Plant City chamber donates city directories to Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

By Dave Nicholson | Tribune Staff
Published: March 16, 2013PLANT CITY -

pcpa_gilFor years, Gil Gott has visited the chamber of commerce to view copies of a book that can yield a treasure trove of information for historical research.
Now Gott, executive director of the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, has the books at his fingertips.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce recently donated its 26 volumes of the local edition of the R.L. Polk City Directory. The volumes date from 1956 to 2001, with 20 volumes missing.

The R.L. Polk City Directories are known for the voluminous data collected and contain listings for businesses and residents, telephone numbers, addresses, occupations, business advertisements, and cross references. The books have been used by businesses, genealogists and historians for many years, and for more than 40 years the Polk City Directory was provided free to chambers of commerce.

“We’ve used them for all kinds of things,” in historical research, he said.

Archives founder Ed Verner and Gott donated several boxes of business books to the chamber for its library in return for the city directories.

The Photo Archives and History Center also has requested that local residents donate their old and used city directories to the nonprofit. For information, call the center’s office at (813) 754-1578.

Source: TBO

Plant City Photo Archives & History Center Receives Praise

Plant City Photo Archives & History Center received praise Monday evening, Nov. 26, at the Plant City City Commission meeting; City Manager Greg Horwedel commended the Photo Archives for its leadership role in presenting the Plant City Sculptures Exhibit in historic downtown Plant City on display May through August this summer. City Commissioners unanimously joined in the congratulations and commendations for the successful event.

Fox 13 News interviews owner of mystery photo album found

By: Gloria Gomez, FOX 13 News


The faces and the stories behind the black and white pictures were a mystery, but to the owner of the album they were in, they are treasured memories.

For months, Candy Owens with the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center has been trying to connect someone to the photos.

The pictures were discovered in an abandoned mobile home in February and turned over to the history center for safe keeping.

After our story aired, Candy was bombarded by a lot of false alarms.

“We got letters, we had people coming through the door left and right saying, we want to see that. That’s my aunt so and so,” Owens said.

But suddenly, the owner of the photo album walked in and Candy knew it.

“I said, that’s got to be her, because she had the beautiful shaped almond eyes,” Owens said.

The album belongs to 50-year-old Regina Marsico.

Sadly, she was separated from all of her belongings years ago after she suffered three aneurysms and a stroke.

Her fragile medical condition left her in a nursing home, unaware that everything she owns was being repossessed, including all of her precious memories.

“When I lost my home, I thought I had lost everything,” she said.

Regina is practically paralyzed and has limited movement of her arms and legs, but her mind is strong.

Each picture takes her back to her childhood and the adopted parents she so treasures.

“Somebody didn’t want me, but they did,” Marsico said.

Regina is also grateful that a group of strangers had the heart and patience to recover her past for her.

“Somebody that didn’t even know me, and they cared about something for me,” she said, through tears.

Source: My Fox Tampa Bay

Sculptures coming to downtown

By GEORGE WILKENS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 07, 2012

Some unique “visitors” are slated to spend time in the downtown historic district this year.

Eight bronze sculptures from the “Man on the Street” collection of acclaimed artist J. Seward Johnson will be placed around downtown, on loan from the creator’s foundation.

The project, spearheaded by Plant City Photo Archives and History Center executive director Gil Gott, received a needed financial boost at the Plant City Commission’s Feb. 27 meeting.

Gott asked the city, through its Community Redevelopment Agency, to allocate $5,000, half the cost of the three-month loan and shipping. After some discussion, commissioners voted 5-0 to provide the sum, to be reimbursed by the CRA.

The downtown display of human figures will coincide with the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Journey Stories,” about the flow of American history. The Florida Humanities Council selected Plant City to host the exhibition, which is open from May 26 to July 7.Longtime resident Merle Henry, who is active with one of the Photo Archives committees, discovered some sculptures by the California artist in Gainesville and approached Gott. “We thought this would be a great combination” to complement the Smithsonian exhibition, Henry told commissioners. Other Florida cities, including Stuart, display Johnson’s sculptures, he said.

Gott said he, Henry and the Photo Archives will raise the balance.

Exact sites for each of the eight sculptures have not been determined, but all will be in the historic district. “They’re very big, they’re bronze, they’re heavy, they come in on a flatbed truck,” Gott told the commission.

Oh his website, Johnson says his “Man on the Street” figures are an imitation of life. “They can warm up … a park or public space and they invite people to come into that space so they don’t feel quite alone.”

The Santa Monica artist has been featured on numerous network programs, including “CBS Sunday Morning” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” He also has been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and New York Times.