I recently purchased a copy of the Images of America book about Marineland. The original attraction was torn down several years back to make room for the “new and improved” attraction so, for those of us who grew up here, a book like this brings back many fond memories. And, although my Mom and both her sisters worked there at one point or another, I didn’t expect to find any family tidbits in the book. I was wrong.
There was a vivd description of the 1939 grand-opening celebratory dinner held at the Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College) which included an amazing ice sculpture of the Marineland facility carved by the hotel’s headwaiter, Adolph Bittner. In 1952, Adolph Bittner was the man who sold my parents the house that became our home for more than 30 years. All we knew of him was that he had created The Buccaneer Lodge in the house in the 1940s. Our title insurance records showed that he had just recently been divorced when he sold us the house and after the closing he immediately left to return to Germany. I was a toddler when we moved in, but my sister remembers it appeared that all he took with him were clothes and personal objects. Everything else was left in the house. The family received Christmas cards from him for several years after he left. I remember his beautiful handwriting.
Searches at the local historical society have turned up little about Mr. Bittner or The Buccaneer Lodge although many people of my parents’ generation do remember The Lodge. This little tidbit is the first clue. Now I have some idea of timeline and other places to look for more information about the elusive Mr. Bittner. The search continues . . .