In the back of Miller's Marine, covered by years of plant growth, Dave Miller and Diane Stanton accidentally uncovered a piece of Winter Haven history.
"It was totally covered by grass, covered by overgrowth. You couldn't see it at all," said Miller.
At first glance, Miller expected a piece of concrete.
"I just took my foot and moved the brush and the overgrown grass," he said.
Instead they unearthed a concrete crest.
"I knew we had uncovered a relic and it was very old," said Diane Stanton.
The letter C and G stand out. In the middle, two water skis are crossed. The crest symbolizes Cypress Gardens.
"It is special to me," Miller continued.
While the mystery of how the crest ended up behind his business may never be answered, a clue could be the fact that his property was once home to the Cypress Garden's ski factory.
"The longer I pay attention to it, the more I want to have tears of joy," said Dave Dershimer.
Dershimer immediately recognized the aged crest. He performed in many water ski shows at the gardens. He even let Johnny Carson use him as a human water-ski.
"It makes me get on the phone and ask people how they're doing and it brings it back all together," he said.
For Miller, the crest symbolizes how Cypress Gardens changed the community. He worked on ski boats for the garden's and its owner, Dick Pope, before opening his own shop.
"It is not like I struck gold or anything like that, but it is deeper than that," he said.
He hopes his discovery will keep history alive for the city that boomed after the gardens bloomed.
"The roots of this community they weren't born out of this shield, but this shield is part of that," he added.
The crest will soon be moved to the Museum of Winter Haven History, where it will be restored for all to see.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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