Monday, November 30, 2009

A little of the history behind our Tiki Gardens t-shirt

We're pleased to announce the "just-in-time-for-the-holidays" release of our newest t-shirt! One of our favorite roadside attractions of the past, Florida's amazing Tiki Gardens.

Below is part of the history section we put together to go with the shirt.

"One of the most well known and successful attractions along the Florida coast was Tiki Gardens, located in Indian Rocks Beach. Owned and operated by Frank and Jo Byars, Tiki Gardens was a destination for more than 25 years drawing roughly 500,000 visitors annually at its peak.

The Byars began their march to the top of the Florida attraction world with $200.00 and Jo’s ability to craft jewelry from local shells. Building upon Jo’s creative skill and Frank’s natural ability to sell, they soon turned Byars Sea Jewels into the biggest operation of its kind. The next leap forward came when they purchased the contents of a closing gift shop and opened the Signal House gift shop and restaurant on Gulf Blvd. On the grounds of the Signal House property the Byars also built a small Polynesian garden as an added draw for visitors.

In 1962, after a fire destroyed the Signal House the Byars focused their energies on creating one of the most fabulous roadside attractions in Florida's history. Reopening in 1964, the Byars came back with an even bigger gift shop and expanded gardens. Tiki Gardens would eventually grow to 12 acres and include 10 gift shops, an “adventure trail” of grass huts, numerous statues of Polynesian gods, live peacocks, and Trader Franks, a 450 seat restaurant which also housed the Wiki Wiki Lounge."

To check out our Tiki Gardens t-shirt and to read more of the history we've posted please visit our website here.