Osceola County Historical Society Blog

Margaret Wallis

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The Legacy of Al-Marah Arabian Horses

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Jan 5, 2017 9:30:00 AM

“The name “Al-Marah” means “the oasis,” a pretty, green, bountiful place. Mother’s farm started in Tucson, Arizona,” Mark tells me, mentioning that the farm was named by Carl Raswan, who visited the irrigated farm in the middle of the desert and claimed “This is a real Al-Marah.”

It’s immediately clear that Mark’s mother, Ruth “Bazy” Tankersley, shared her passion for preserving the integrity of the herd of Arabian horses with her son. When I ask Mark what sparked his mother’s interest in breeding Arabian horses, Mark’s eyes light up, as he begins a fantastic tale of the trail ride that started it all. “Mother liked wide open spaces,” he tells me, so it wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary when she took off on a 50-mile trail ride on her thoroughbred, with a guide who was riding a pony.

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Topics: Al-Marah Arabian Horses, Mark Miller

Mark Miller predicts (and works to shape) a bright future for Osceola County

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Jun 23, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Mark_Miller.jpgMark Miller, owner of Al-Marah Arabian Horses, whose horses graced the ring at Arabian Nights Dinner Show for years, originally considered starting Arabian Nights in Orange County. Planners working with him to create the world famous dinner show told him to consider Kissimmee instead, insisting that he would find a home in Osceola County.

Miller has lived in Central Florida since he moved to the area in 1966 to attend Rollins College, and he tells me Rodeo Diner in Kissimmee is his favorite place to eat. “I love the county’s rodeo heritage,” he says, “If you have someplace that has history like Osceola County, it’d be tragic not to preserve it.”

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Topics: Al-Marah Arabian Horses, Mark Miller

KUA: Energizing our community

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Feb 1, 2016 2:31:10 PM


If you grew up in Osceola County, you probably remember going to the County Fair for free on Rodeo Day, but you may not have known that the Kissimmee Utility Authority covered the cost of your ticket (and all of your friends’ tickets, for that matter). Without drawing much attention, KUA has picked up the tab for all Osceola County students to attend the county fair free of charge on Rodeo Day for nearly a decade.

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OCHS: A Year in Review

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Dec 18, 2014 5:38:13 PM

Once a year, the Osceola County Historical Society staff invites the organization's members and Board of Directors to a special meeting to review and share the year's progress. 2013-2014 was an exciting year at the OCHS, and the numbers don't lie! Read more to find out what we've been up to this past year.

  • The 2014 Historical Society summer camps were the organization’s best ever! The OCHS hosted four history themed week-long summer camps between June and August, and over 110 campers attended. Thanks to a grant from Disney, half of those campers were able to attend for free!

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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month with the OCHS

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Aug 29, 2014 5:52:00 PM

The exhibit that will be on display at the History Museum is titled, Spanish Pathways, where viewers will trace the Spanish in Florida and will investigate the earliest cattle industry, the Naváez expedition, De Soto’s epic march, Catholic mission sites, St. Augustine, Ft. Mose, Count Gálvez and the American Revolution, the Second Spanish Era, Paulina Pedrosa and Las Patriotas,the cigar industry, and finally, the dramatic impact of the 1959 Cuban revolution on south Florida. The timeline dates from 1492 through 1992, five hundred years of hispanic history.

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Topics: Around Osceola, OCHS Events

Kissimmee City Manager emphasizes community in new Lakefront Revitalization Project

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Aug 25, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seated in front of an aerial map of Kissimmee, FL, City Manager Mike Steigerwald glanced through the fifth floor City Hall conference room window, looking out over Historic Downtown Kissimmee.

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Topics: Osceola History, Around Osceola

Throwback Thursday to the Tales of Toho

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Aug 21, 2014 5:00:00 PM


Arriving on her first railway trip through Kissimmee in the late 1880s, Historian Minnie Moore-Wilson observed that “…from the oil street lamps, the little city, now numbering about 1,000 inhabitants, presented a picture of tropical beauty.”

Wilson might be shocked today to see how “the little city” (now numbering about 65,000 inhabitants), and its lakefront, have grown. Entering its final phases of construction, the Kissimmee Lakefront Revitalization Project has transformed the Tohopekaliga lakefront into a modern community center, complete with electric car charging stations and a focus toward the future of Osceola County’s community.

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Topics: Osceola History, Around Osceola

Disney's Helping Kids Shine Grant Helped Fund Summer Camp

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Aug 20, 2014 5:00:00 PM


Another summer has come to an end here at the Osceola County Historical Society and that means summer camp is over, too. For four very special weeks, the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum opened its doors to elementary and middle school children to participate in weekly themed summer camps. Each week immersed campers in different areas of history and the environment of Osceola County.

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Topics: OCHS Summer Camp, Grants

Shingle Creek: A Local Osceola County Treasure

Posted by Margaret Wallis on Jul 10, 2014 5:44:00 PM


Nestled within the Cypress trees covered with Spanish moss, Shingle Creek is a local treasure and a natural remnant of Florida’s rich cultural history.

Shingle Creek has been a pivotal part of life in Osceola County for centuries. Long before pioneers moved to Osceola County, Native Americans used the Shingle Creek area to sustain life. The creek was utilized for transportation, hunting, fishing, gathering and protection. Waterways were very important for them, and Shingle Creek provided nearly everything for their day to day needs. During the Second Seminole War, Shingle Creek was a Native American stronghold.

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Topics: Osceola History, Around Osceola, Shingle Creek Regional Park

Osceola County Family Spotlight: The Lanier Family

Posted by Margaret Wallis on May 6, 2014 7:23:00 PM


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Topics: Osceola History, Pioneer Family

About this Blog

The Osceola County Historical Society is focused on preserving Osceola County’s rich, cultural history while sharing it with others. This blog is perfect for just that. 

Remember, here you can find information on:

  • Osceola County History
  • Pioneer Families
  • Events at the Welcome Center and History Museum
  • Much, much more!

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