For our 100th episode of "Welcome to Florida" we finally discuss perhaps the most Florida thing of all, the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids. Now a state park, Weeki Wachee Springs has a colorful history we learn all about from one of the very first class of mermaids at the park, Mary Fletcher, and mermaid historian and author Lu Vickers.
Vintage promotional photo: Mermaid Nancy Tribble. Photo: Florida Archives.
Craig Pittman is the award-winning author of Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, The Scent of Scandal, Cat Tale, Manatee Insanity and The State You’re In, and co-author of Paving Paradise. Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature.