Dick Pope, Sr.


Died aged c. 88

Dick Pope, Sr., born in 1900 in Des Moines, Iowa, was the founder of Cypress Gardens. In the early 1930s he took 16 acres of swampland and created one of the most famous tourist attractions in Florida prior to the arrival of Disney. His publicity stunts enticed visitors to Cypress Gardens from the beginning. In the 1940s and 1950s, the motion pictures "On an Island with You," "East to Love," and "This is Cinerama" were all filmed at Cypress Gardens. The park was used for television commercials and outdoor location shoots including the Mike Douglas Show and the Johnny Carson Show. Called "Mr. Florida," Pope was an incessant promoter and played a role in the establishment of Walt Disney World. Under his direction, Cypress Gardens was at the forefront of the tourist industry that swept Central Florida in the 1970s. Dick Pope Sr. died in 1988.


Richard Downing Pope Sr. (April 19, 1900 – January 28, 1988), better known as Dick Pope, was the founder of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida. He was also known as "Mr. Florida" and "Mr. Water Skiing." He played a key role in the development of tourism in the state of Florida, and in the growth of theme parks as tourist destinations. He was a highly accomplished athlete, and helped to popularize the sport of water skiing.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Dick Pope, Sr.

Dick Pope, Sr. [full inscription unknown]

Pope Museum, Cypress Roots, Cypress Gardens, 2641 South Lake Summit Drive, Winter Haven, FL, United States where they was