New Kiosk on Campus Marks De Soto’s Trail

If you travel along NW 83rd Street regularly, you may have noticed a new kiosk and wondered what it was all about.

As part of the De Soto National Memorial project, Florida De Soto Trail, Santa Fe College was asked to host a kiosk commemorating part of Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto and his army’s journey as they travelled northward though Florida.

“I’m very happy to see the Florida De Soto Trail project completed, and I think the people who put it together did a good job commemorating both European and Native American U.S. history,” said History Professor Bryan Wuthrich. “I hope to use it as a teaching tool, as I expect others in the History department will as well.”

In 2008 the De Soto National Memorial, located in Bradenton, received a Florida Department of Transportation award of $425,000 and contract agreement to fully develop the new De Soto Trail, linking historic places, parks, archeological sites, and scenic venues; and work on the project began. Planning work included a significant amount of research to secure the accurate and most suitable locations for the kiosks. SF campus was chosen as one of those locations.

The kiosk, created by the Florida De Soto Trail project, was installed by Facilities on March 23, and is located in the southeast corner of parking lot 19, along the 83rd Street sidewalk (about 300 feet north of South Road).

“This project has been a long time in the works since we were first contacted about hosting a kiosk three years ago,” said Bennye Alligood, Associate Vice President, College and Community Relations. “It’s nice to finally see the end result installed on campus. We are honored the National Park Service included us in this historic event.”

There are 34 kiosks located throughout Florida, retracing the steps of De Soto and his army along their original northbound trail from current day Tampa Bay to the Florida panhandle. Each kiosk has a map of Florida showing the general route De Soto took, a narrative text from the De Soto Chronicles, and snapshot of everyday life of the conquistadors, as well as the struggles of native Floridians.

The individual story told on the kiosk is significant to its geographic location. The kiosk on campus highlights De Soto’s passage through the Indian village of Utinamocharra, located just south of SF, on the west side of Gainesville.

All 34 kiosks can be viewed on the website floridadesototrail.com when it’s launched later this year.

For more information on the De Soto National Memorial visit www.nps.gov/deso/index.htm.

~ This press release was written by Communication Specialist Amanda Hernandez, College Relations

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