The Sights and Sounds
of the Scenic Highway
Interest in genealogy and local history has exploded over the past few years. Online access to archival information and user-friendly audio and video technology makes it easy for anyone to find information or create a database about their own family or community. Historians too understand that oral history — interviewing, recording, and documenting the remembrances of older residents in their own words — helps bring fresh perspectives and firsthand accounts to our understanding of the past.
Recognizing this “trend,” the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway, with a grant from the National Scenic Byways Program and St. Johns County, implemented an Oral History project to interview and record the life accounts, customs, and traditions of older residents who lived along William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway long before the area’s roads were paved.
Thirty-four older residents, many in their 70s and 80s, participated in the program. Today, transcripts of the interviews are available at the Bartram Trail Branch of the St. Johns County Public Library. Transcriptions, audio files, and five video interviews were donated to the St. Augustine Historical Society and are available for public review.
These oral histories were the basis of Up from the Roots – Remembering Rural St. Johns County, a must see 10 minute video that explores the early history of St. Johns County. Hear stories of a less complicated time when the pace of life was slower, roads were still unpaved, everyone knew each other.
A video trailer is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOSlUIHe1Ck. Copies of the video are available for $8.00 (including shipping).
We are also pleased to offer The Flower Hunter: Travels with William Bartram a 10 minute exploration of the life and travels of William Bartram, the namesake of the Scenic Highway. Please contact Al Abbatiello,WBSH Chairman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please stay tuned to this web site, or sign up for our newsletter to find out what else the William Bartram Scenic & Historic Highway Corridor Management Council members will be developing next!