Thursday, May 3, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Coquina Art

I just returned from a month long vacation in Florida.  Had a wonderful time dining in my favorite restaurants, enjoyed a three hour kayaking tour in and around the Thousand Islands of the Banana River where we saw dolphins and manatees so close we felt we could touch them.

Went to the Florida Historical Society and donated 14 newspapers of the Eau Gallie Record dating as far back as 1910 that my great grandfather William Russell Roesch founded.  His son, William Phillip, my grandfather, and he were both writers and editors.  When I approached my uncle Clyde, William Phillip's son who lives in Bunnell, Florida about donating the Eau Gallie Record newspapers, he gladly offered them to me to present to the Historical Society, which was most grateful.  Once they are digitized, the society will give both of us copies on a disk.

The town's name of Eau Gallie means rocky water.  It was given this name because the area has rocky ledges of coquina rock which gives the land a firm base.   I never really questioned how coquina was made except to assume that little crushed shells fused to together at the water's edge until I read an article in one of the newspapers before turning them over to the Historical Society.  Coquina rock is used everywhere as treasured art pieces.  Here is what my great-grandfather wrote in the newspaper to tell the story of the coquina rock.

"To the stranger here one of the things that particularly attracts his attention is the unusual rock formation along the river shore.  Coquina rock is the result of ages of work by millions of minute insects collectively.  This insect is closely related to the coral insect and works in the water in the same manner.  A peculiararity of their work is the fact that in many places as along our shores, they work in a circle making about one foot of rock around a sand core about twelve inches in diamater, thereby when the sand is dislodged leaving long straight perpendicular holes in the rock about every foot, these holes here are often quite deep penetrating the earth for many feet. 


"In the Atlantic about one-fourth  mile from the beach another line of the rock is being built and in time to come will retain enough of the drifting sands to make that the shore line."

These are obviously too heavy and large for me to carry home.  So I have a piece about a foot long that I have displayed in my greenhouse window with other shells.





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