Vintage Postcard – Florida Welcome Stations
Florida Welcome Stations, dispensing free orange juice and travel information, located near the state lines on major highways entering Florida, are very popular with the tourist. This picture shows the latest in Welcome Stations — a Drive-In for faster service located near Havana, Florida on Highway No. 27.
Color Courtesy Florida State News Bureau
Genuine Natural Color Made by Dexter Press, Inc., West Nyack, N.Y.
My friend Pam got me this card, and it’s one of my favorites in my collection. It has it all! Bright colors, blue sky, tiny palms. I can almost picture myself there when I close my eyes.
I’ve been to a few welcome stations (or rest stops) in my life. If memory serves, we always stopped at the Michigan Welcome Center in Clare on the drive up north. However, none I’ve ever been to offered free orange juice. That’s a heck of a selling point!
You know what? Apparently, you can still receive a free glass of OJ when you visit a Florida Welcome Center (current locations of I-10 west of Pensacola, U.S. 231 near Campbellton also near Marianna, I-75 at Jennings near Lake City and I-95 north of Yulee near Jacksonville).
Havana, Florida is a suburb of Tallahassee. The image below is from November 1961, and features public officials at Havana’s Welcome Station when it was opened.
Google News has a great news article from the Sarasota Herald Tribune, March 25, 1961, about the construction of these drive-in stations. Funding was allocated for the Havana station (but not spent) in 1959. The new plan called for the construction of six toll-booth style stations, the first of which was the Havana on US Route 27. Building costs were estimated at $25,000 per station. Other stations were planned on US 319 and US 29.
With the locations of these centers on US highways, it is not surprising that they were bypassed with the introduction of the construction of the Interstate roadways. I can’t find any specific details on what happened to this station.