“a grand impetus from the thousands of visitors” — Florida State Quarter Coin

Today, the Florida State Quarter Coin remembers when the Sub Tropical Exposition opened in Jacksonville on January 9, 1890.

From the Florida Agriculturalist [Deland FL] newspaper of January 8, 1890:


Opening of the Sub Tropical.

We extend thanks to the officers of the Sub Tropical Exposition for season ticket. This Exposition opens on the 9th inst.

There will be special exercises and attractive features, consisting of a grand civic, military and trades’ display procession, with the Governor, Staff and Cabinet, and a large number of distinguished citizens of the State.

The secretary in a letter to the editor says:

The Exposition this year promises to excel that of any previous season in its entirety.

Owing to the very generous premiums offered by the management, the exhibits will be of a very comprehensive nature, every section of the State being represented; and the products and resources of Florida will be presented in a most attractive and pleasing manner.

Besides the ordinary attractions of the Exposition, we shall have many special features in the way of the most magnificent music, balloon ascensions; novelties in the way of trained animals, rare birds and many other such specialties.

The Exposition season will close in April with a grand inter-State drill at which prizes from $5,000 to $10,000 will be offered.

From present indications, the attendance promises to be unsurpassed in point of numbers, and doubtless Florida will receive a grand impetus from the thousands of visitors who will throng our Exposition and be attracted by Florida’s unprecedented growth and opportunities offered for emigrants.


The Sun newspaper in New York of January 10, 1890 summarized the opening of the exposition:


The Sub-Tropical Exposition.

Opened with Grand Trade Display and Military and Civic Parades.

Jacksonville, Jan. 9. A perfect day dawned for the opening of Florida’s Sub-tropical Exposition this morning.

The opening exercises were to consist of a grand trade display parade, with a military and civic procession, the formal opening of the exposition at the building with addresses, and last, an event around which popular interest centered, the drawing of sub-tropical souvenir prizes.

In value these amount to $10,000, the number of tickets sold being 20,000 at $1 each.

The grand prize was a certified check for $1,000.

Fully 10,000 visitors are in attendance from all parts of the State and from every State in the Union.

The streets were gaily decorated with flags, bunting, palmetto, magnolia, and evergreens, and many of the decorative designs were unique and original.

The procession formed at 2:20 P.M. in St. James square, headed by the Grand Marshal, Major W. B. Young, followed by Gov. Fleming and staff, various military companies of Florida, and fully 3000 floats, representing the diversified trade and business of the city.

President B. F. Dillon of the Sub-tropical Exposition welcomed the multitude in a short address, and closed by Introducing Gov. Francis P. Fleming.

The Hon. John E. Hartrldge of this city also spoke, and Director-General Moran then declared the Exposition open.

The band played and the audience, which had all the while been increasing, flocked up about the grand strand to learn who would be the lucky one to got the $1,000 cash prize.

Ticket 16964 was the lucky one, said to have been sold to a man In Leesburg, Fla.

The drawing continued for three hours, until $10,000 in prizes had been disposed of.

To-morrow the Grand Masque Carnival takes place.


From the Handbook of Florida by Charles Ledyard Norton, published in 1892:


The Sub-tropical Exposition.

The buildings for this annual exhibition of the products of Florida are in the City Water-works Park, on Hogan Street, about three quarters of a mile from the river, fifteen minutes’ walk from Bay Street and the principal hotels.

Tramcars run out Hogan Street (fare 5c.). The exhibition proper is usually open from early in January till about April 1st ; 25c. general admission ; 50c. on special occasions, gala nights, and the like.

The buildings are open at all times, however, as some objects of interest always remain, even when the exhibition is closed.

Among these are the tropical plants within the building, the living manatee or sea-cow in the artificial lake, with deer, and sometimes other Floridian animals and birds in an enclosure to the west of the main building.

In connection with the exhibition are the Jacksonville Water-works. The supply is drawn from artesian wells.

The first of these was driven in 1883, and the last and deepest in 1889. The water is impregnated with sulphur, and emits a slightly unpleasant odor when it reaches the air.

This odor disappears almost immediately, and the water, as delivered to the service-pipes, is pure and wholesome.

The maximum flow is 2.333 gallons a minute, at a temperature of 78° on reaching the surface.


The Florida State Quarter Coin shows with an early twentieth century image of the Jacksonville water-works.

Florida State Quarter Coin