Today we were afforded the opportunity to tour the public areas of the hotel prior to the “Official” renovations that begin soon with the Vice President of IDP Housing (the project’s coordinator), Carter Broun. Check out the website and Facebook page for The Blanche. Please, like and share the Facebook page to show your support. He was very polite and patient with us as my daughter was taking videos with her phone and I was snapping pictures and asking questions. They have done quite a lot of clean-up inside the hotel prior to the ground-breaking party, which was posted on the front page of the Lake City Reporter newspaper and another company created a video of the event which you can see in the posts of their Facebook page. The lighting wasn’t the best as the day has been cloudy all day and there weren’t many working light fixtures. The place was still set-up for the party the previous day and a lot of the areas were taped and off limits. It’s all very exciting and we will post some of the pictures and part of the video in a day or two.
Now we have to delve back into the past. I am continuing to browse through back issues of the local newspaper. Today we are concentrating on the more recent issues available online at the University of Florida’s Digital Collection which houses back issues of the Lake City Reporter from 2005 to present day, give or take a week or two of the more recent issues. I went ahead and signed up for a subscription for the e-Edition of the paper for the next 4 weeks to keep track of any current events that might happen while I am slaving away sloshing through old records. While collecting every article with a mention of the hotel I am also compiling a list of people to contact. Hopefully, they are still with us and would be willing to be interviewed next month. There is a fireman who supposed to have lots of stories about the Blanche we just have to find him.
Speaking of next month we are trying to arrange several dates and times to schedule interviews in the Columbia County Library meeting room. I haven’t decided to include refreshments for participants nor how many meetings we will have. It seems like a central meeting place that we and others might feel more comfortable meeting up and talking about their experiences, or a family members stories, about staying, working or attended events at the hotel over the years. Time is passing and it will be harder each day to find people to talk to. If you or someone you know would like to share their experiences, pictures, and possibly videos with us please drop us a line using the CONTACT US form. You will have to sign a General Release form so that we can include them in the book and post others on the website here.
Thanks. Till next time!