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5 Fun Facts About July 3 In Florida History

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1. On July 3, 1863, the Battle of Fort Brooke took place in Tampa, Florida during the American Civil War. Union troops led by Brigadier General Truman Seymour attempted to capture the fort from Confederate forces, but were ultimately repelled.

2. In 1886, the Tampa Daily Times newspaper was first published on July 3. It eventually merged with the Tampa Tribune in 2016 and ceased publication, leaving the Tampa Bay Times as the area's primary newspaper.

3. On July 3, 1896, an F4 tornado struck the town of Punta Gorda in southwest Florida, causing widespread damage and killing 17 people. It remains one of the deadliest tornadoes in the state's history.

4. In 1928, the Cross-State Highway (now known as the Tamiami Trail) was officially opened on July 3. The road runs from Tampa to Miami, crossing the Everglades and opening up new opportunities for transportation and development in southern Florida.

5. On July 3, 1962, the city of Winter Haven celebrated the grand opening of its Cypress Gardens Water Ski Show, which would become a popular tourist attraction and showcase for professional water skiers for several decades. The park was eventually sold and renovated as Legoland Florida.
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