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Get to know the place you call home

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By Angye Morrison

You can live in a place all your life and never really know all there is to know about it. I found that out when I lived in Oregon. I told a friend of mine that I’d traveled all over the Northwest, visiting everything from coast to wetland to mountains, but I’d not done nearly as much traveling in my home state of Georgia.

I was thinking of this recently, and decided to track down some little known facts about my current home state of Florida. Enjoy!

• No part of Florida should take more than an hour and a half drive to reach the ocean.

• Orlando attracts more visitors than any other amusement park destination in the United States.

• The United States city with the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita is Clearwater.

• Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators where the drink was first developed. (I personally don’t drink the stuff, since I’m a Georgia Dawg.)

• The largest lake in Florida is Lake Okeechobee.

• Miami installed the first bank automated teller machine especially for roller-bladers.

• DeFuniak Springs is home to one of the two naturally round lakes in the world.

• Florida is the only state that has two rivers both with the same name. There is a Withlacoochee in Madison County and a Withlacoochee in Central Florida. They have nothing in common except the name.

• Greater Miami is the only metropolitan area in the United States whose borders encompass two national parks.

• Snow fell in Dade County on Jan. 20, 1977.

• Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States.

• Lake Okeechobee is a remnant of a shallow sea, known as the Pimlico Sea. It is the second largest fresh water lake wholly within the United States. Average depth is less than 20 feet with some areas in the center less than 6 feet.

• The State Bureau of Geology says the highest known surveyed elevation in Florida is located in the northeastern part of Walton County. That elevation has been fixed at 345 feet and is just south of the community of Lakewood.

• There are 1,711 streams, rivers and creeks in Florida. The total length of all streams combined is about 10,550 miles. Some 277 streams are named after people, 200 after animals, 49 after trees, 44 after colors, seven after towns and three after states, including the improbable California Creek.

• The longest river in Florida is the St. Johns with a length variously calculated from 273 miles to 318 miles primarily because of its ill-defined origin. The St. Johns, which flows north, runs from Sanford to Jacksonville in Northeastern Florida.

• Pennekamp Park, off Key Largo, is the nation's first underwater park. Covering 75 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, the area is a combination of state lands and federal holdings preserved as a reef of living coral.

• The names of two of the approach procedures that all aircraft follow into their arrival at Orlando International Airport are named GOOFY TWO and MINEE TWO.

• Flamingos get their pink color from the shrimp they eat. The more shrimp they eat the deeper pink they become.

• Florida is not the southernmost state in the United States. Hawaii is farther south.

• Stephen Foster, who wrote "Old Folks at Home," Florida's state song, never even saw the Suwannee River, nor did he ever step foot in Florida.

• An average annual commercial harvest of Apalachicola Bay oysters produces enough meat to cover a football field 3 feet deep.

• Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard is touted as the world's longest countinuous sidewalk. It is a popular waterfront gathering place for joggers and in-line skate enthusiasts.

• Once a year, thousands of Floridians stand at the state line and toss dead fish into Alabama. It's the annual Mullet Toss hosted by Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola. It's just "a silly excuse for a huge beach party."

Feel all educated? I know I do. You just never know about a place until you do a little scratching around. Know something unusual about Gadsden County? Shoot me an e-mail...I’d love to hear from you!

You can follow “Miss Angye” on Twitter and “Angye Morrison” on Facebook. E-mail your comments and suggestions to me at editor@gadcotimes.com.