Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Pg. 99: Kristalyn Marie Shefveland "Selling Vero Beach"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Selling Vero Beach: Settler Myths in the Land of the Aís and Seminole by Kristalyn Marie Shefveland.

About the book, from the publisher:
Separating “Old Florida” myths from realities in a tourist haven with a deep Indigenous past

Themes of unspoiled paradise tamed by progress can be seen in stories about pioneer history across the United States, especially in Florida. Selling Vero Beach explores how settlers from northern states created myths about the Indian River area on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, importing ideas about the region’s Indigenous peoples and marketing the land as an idyllic, fertile place of possibilities.

In this book, Kristalyn Shefveland describes how in the Gilded Age, Indian River Farms Company and other boosters painted the region as a wild frontier, conveniently accessible by train via Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway. Shefveland provides an overview of local Aís and Seminole histories that were rewritten by salespeople, illustrates how agricultural companies used Native peoples as motifs on their fruit products, and includes never-before-published letters between Vero Beach entrepreneur Waldo Sexton and writer Zora Neale Hurston that highlight Sexton’s interest in story-spinning and sales.

Selling Vero Beach unpacks real and fabricated pasts, showing how the settler memory of Florida distorted or erased the fascinating actual history of the region. With a wide variety of stories invented to lure investors and tourists, many of which circulate to this day in a place that remains a top vacation destination, Vero Beach is an intriguing example of why and how certain pasts were concocted to sell Florida land and products.
Learn more about Selling Vero Beach at the University Press of Florida website.

The Page 99 Test: Selling Vero Beach.

--Marshal Zeringue