Taming the Wilderness with Rails

A Tribute to Railroads

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Florida Southern Engine. Via Florida Memory.

The Tampa (Fla.) Herald says: In no direction has the hand of improvement made itself more distinctly felt in South Florida than the gradual and radical change for the better, brought about by the development of the great transportation lines that have made the State what it is today. Fifteen years ago this section was almost a terra incognito to the average tourist, who sought, winter by winter, either in the foothills of Southern California or along the vine-clad slopes of the Riviera, the genial climatic conditions that might easily have been found nearer home.

taming the wilderness. No factor has played in this problem of development a part more important than that enacted by the famous Plant System.

No factor has played in this problem of development a part more important than that enacted by the famous Plant System. Fifteen years ago the, total railroad mileage of the peninsular was but one hundred and seventy-five. Today Florida ranks sixth in this direction. Fifteen years ago South Florida was a wilderness, given over to the cowboy and plume hunter. Its “cities” were unborn and its “towns” were little more than cross-roads settlements. Today, thanks to the well-directed efforts of such public benefactors as H. B. Plant, the entire Southern peninsular presents a picturesque panorama of verdant orange groves, rapidly recovering from the effects of the “big freeze,” of thriving truck farms and prosperous towns and villages.

marsanneMarsanne Petty conducts historical research about 18th century southern United States and environmental history. To get more great updates and original history, sign up at The Southern Sage. To get her to help you with your own research project, email mapetty[at]gmail.com.

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