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Florida Frontiers on Florida Today!

Check out a recent article in Florida Today from FHS’s own Dr. Ben Brotemarke! To read Dr. Brotemarkle’s article about the Historic Sam’s family from Merritt Island, Florida Click Here

The article is related to Brotemarkle’s “Florida Frontiers: The Weekly Radio Magazine of the Florida Historical Society,” broadcast locally on 90.7 WMFE at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, and on 89.5 WFIT at 7 a.m. Sundays. The show also can be heard online at

A little more about the author…

Ben Brotemarkle is author of the book Beyond the Theme Parks: Exploring Central Florida, a look at historic preservation efforts and cultural festivals throughout the region that provide residents with a sense of community and visitors with interesting vacation options.  The book received the inaugural James J. Horgan Book Award from the Florida Historical Society.  Dr. Brotemarkle’s book Images of America: Titusville and Mims, Florida is a photographic and textual history looking at one of the world’s most important archaeological digs, the home of civil rights martyr Harry T. Moore, and the launch site of America’s manned exploration of space.  His book Barberville is a photographic and textual history looking at the infamous Barber-Mizell Feud of 1870, the establishment of the rural Barberville community, and the creation of the Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts where historic buildings from throughout Central Florida are preserved.  His latest book Crossing Division Street: An Oral History of the African American Community in Orlando is an interdisciplinary examination of the past, present and future of an historic neighborhood.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Florida Historical Society, Brotemarkle was Associate Professor of Humanities and Department Chair at Brevard Community College in Titusville. As creator, producer and host of the weekly public radio program The Arts Connection on 90.7 WMFE-FM Orlando from 1992 to 2000, Brotemarkle covered the local arts and cultural scene including theater, music, dance, film, the visual arts, and literature.  His award-winning features have been heard around the world on Voice of America Radio, across the country on National Public Radio, and throughout the state on Florida Public Radio.  Brotemarkle also occasionally produces and hosts special programs for public television.  His 1999 television documentary The Wells’Built Hotel: A New Guest Checks In was awarded the Presidential Citation of the Florida Historical Society.  His latest television documentary A Legacy of Hope: The Moore Heritage Festival of the Arts and Humanities is airing on several PBS stations.

As a part-time professional singing-actor, Brotemarkle has appeared in more than two dozen Orlando Opera Company productions, with Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach, and has been a featured performer in Cross and Sword–the official state play of Florida in St. Augustine.

Brotemarkle serves on the board of directors of the Florida Historical Society, the state’s oldest cultural organization and is a member of the Brevard County Historical Commission.  A board member of the Association to Preserve African American Society, History, and Tradition (PAST, Inc.), Brotemarkle helps to plan, present, and promote activities and exhibitions at the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture in Orlando.  Dr. Brotemarkle is the Education Committee Chairman for the Moore Heritage Festival of the Arts and Humanities, organizing student workshops, public forums, oral history panels, and appearances by guest speakers.

Dr. Brotemarkle is available for signings, lectures and program participation.  You can contact him via e-mail at ben,



One Response

  1. Elizabeth Kiser

    Located on Pine Island, the Sam’s House is a very interesting piece of history for Brevard County. The interesting article, which was written by Ben Brotemarkle, described many interesting facts such as Pine Island was not the first choice for trying to grown a farm. It is interesting to learn that the Sam’s tried to grow citrus in Eau Gallie. When that wouldn’t grow, they decided on Pine Island and grow citrus and sugarcane. I cannot imagine the image of cutting up his house and floating it down the river to the location and rebuilding it. I love, and was surprised in the fact that even when they built the new house, they still used the house as a church and school. Another interesting this is that bones from tortoises, Mastodons,, and other Pleistocene critters have been found on Pine Island as well.

    I love the style of the newer house that they built in 1888. The thing that strikes me the most is the wrap around porch. The house was lived in until the late 1990’s when the Environmental Endangered Lands Program bought the land to preserve the history of Pine Island. I am glad that they preserved not only the newer house, but also the older one as well.

    I have never visited this house, but reading the history about it has made it more interesting and something that I must see in the future. I am intrigued to see what the inside of the house, as well as the grounds, looks like in person and not just from photographs.

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