24 Newly Discovered Pictures from 1950s Cypress Gardens

This collection of 24 – 6×6 B&W negatives, offers a nice glimpse into 1950s Cypress Gardens.

Cypress Gardens 1950s Southern Belles, Water Ski Stunts, Bathing Beauties, Swimsuits. NPA Lot # 20150407 Lot of 24 6x6 B&W Negatives Purchased from eBay seller: Twelve Hounds bradferrier@hotmail.com  Description: 24 Vintage Photograph Negatives Cypress Gardens Florida Southern Belle Water Ski, Skiing ,  Item# 141539844551 Total: $25.66 USD

Cypress Gardens 1950s Water Ski Pyramid with Confederate Flag.

Opened in 1936 by Dick Pope, Sr. and his wife Julie Downing Pope, Cypress Gardens may have been Florida’s first ‘Theme Park.”  After decades of changing ownership and financial troubles, the park was re-opened in 2011 as Legoland Florida, retaining some of the original theme and gardens, but from the 1940’s through 2003 Cypress Gardens was dubbed the Waterski Capital of the World and these rare, likely never-before published pictures give us a sneak-peek back into that world.

Lovely girl dressed as a “Southern Belle.”

The “Southern Belles” were often seen at the park and people posed with them for pictures.

Waterski stars lineup in their swimsuits for tourists to snap pictures.

Some waterski superstars like Dick Pope, Jr performed there. They practiced ski-jumping and human pyramids and it is said that barefoot waterskiing was first done and filmed there as well.

Ski-jumping at Cypress Gardens.

This small collection of negatives is heavily damaged. I have done some quickie photo restoration and have cropped in on some of the images, but plan to make prints from the negatives sometime soon. I’m just happy to be able to share them with you now.

Check out our Flickr set to see all the wonderful pictures from this Cypress Gardens Collection.

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As always, please contact me if you have any information about the people in these or other images in this archive or if you are interested in using these images for any reason or if you would like to purchase a photographic print.

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