Material Information

Series Title:
Writings and Speeches 1891-1920
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Articles, Speeches and Other Writings
43. The Everglades.


Subjects / Keywords:
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Athenaeum Club
Everglades -- Florida
Agricultureal Club


A paper, "The Florida Everglades: Some of its Political Significance," read by P. H. Rolfs at the Athenaeum Club, January, 1914 and amended for the Agricultural Club, October, 1915. The paper covered the characteristics of the region and was followed by a general discussion of (1) the beginning of the agitation for drainage, (2) some opinions as to causes leading up to the drainage question, and (3) the probable significance of some of the scandal connected with the drainage work.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida Archives
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier:

UFDC Membership

Peter Henry Rolfs
University Archives


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


*- Notes added for the Agricultural Club,

October 21, 3935.

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Subject: THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES Some of Its Political Significance

SThe paper will be opened by a series or stereopticon views

characteristic of the region. Contrary to the usual manner of

presenting such papers, a general discVssion will follow the

_, slides presented. This discussion will be:

(3 ) A very general resume of the status as seen at
the time of the beginning of the agitation for

(2) Sqne opinions as to causes leading up to the
drainage question.

(3) Some of the questions involved.
(4) The probable significance of some of the scandal
connected with the drainage work.


- R


Bubjeot: THE FLORIDA EVERGLAlES Some of its Political Significanip.

The paper will be opened by a series of stereopticon views

characteristic of the region. the usual manner of

presenting.sucl papers, a general discussion will follow'the

* slides presented. This discussion will be:

(1 ) A very general resume of the status as seen at
the time of the beginning of the agitation for

(2) Some opinions as to causes leading up to the
drainage question.

(3) Some of the questions involved.
(4) The probable significance of some of the scandal
connected with the drainage work.


Gentlemen i the Athenaeum Club, and Visitors:

I am to present to you tonight a paper on the Florida

S Evergalades. On Janruary 25, 1907, I read a paper before

you on Agricultural Education in Florida. In this paper I

Pointed out the fact that the teaching of agriculture, aau

was looked upon as a joke. On February 21, 1908 I pre-

S sented a paper on Agricultural Education. This gave us a

genera] resume of the status of agriculture iin Florida.

Special stress was laid upon the fact that we needed a cor,-.

prehensive program for progressive work. On April 29,

1 910 a paper read. dealt with the Educational Awakening in

Florida, especially along agricultural lines. For the

Sprsent paper I had in mind two rather different subjects.

Th-e one most strongly in my mind. finally proved too cor-

Sprehenslve for thVe short time we can justly devote to

tills study. In thLis paper I had in mind taking up the


present agricultural improvement, discussing it from a

rather broad view, but this would require a considerable

amount of data and statistics as well as a large number

of quotations.

Tonight I want to present to you a paper on the Florid.a

Everglades, not from the standpoint of the engineer, nor

from the standpoint of the agriculturist, but rather from

the standpoint of the Floridian. In other words we want to

discuss it from a certain civic point of view. The :ass

that I have p1igese&d t Be- and the general discussion

St atr in connection with the vi -s, are not absolutely

necessary to the paper, but will certainly give the mem-

bers of the Club a much better idea of the magnitude of the

question and also the practicability of carrying it out.

It really lays the foundation for the discussion which is

to follow since if these lands were worthless there never
would have been an Evergaade question in Florida. J
would have "been an E~vergl'Jade question in Elor~ida. J~fcL


arr-1an on the as-@ broad and more general question

that I had hoped to take up in the paper referred to, but

which you are so fortunate as to escape being punioho witFh.

In the fifteen minutes of ny remaining time I want, there-

fore, to take up this question in a very general way,

not from the standpoint of the engineer, nor from the

standpoint of the statistician, but from the standpoint

of the citizen of Florida.

(1) Early Efforts at Development
of the Everglades.

As early as about the thirties Dr. Perrine made appli-

cation to Congress for a grant of land on Biscayne Bay and

southward. This grant contained many thousands of acres.

Dr. Perrine had been Minister to Mexico and other tropical

countries, and in his cruising had found that the Southern

coast of Florida was especially adapted to the growing of

c(.ertain tropical plants. Dr. Perrine, after closing his

official career with the government, settled in this region

and began to develop the grant, but unfortunately was kill-

edby the Seminole Indians. Two of his children, @L-

escaped assassination, and the Afinally '(during th nine-

ta 'm..2ndrM"-4 succeeded in getting a patent to some of the

lands, which by this time had become extremely valuable.

During about the fifties army officers made a survey from

the Atlantic Ocean across to Lake Okechobee and ascertained

the elevation of the land across the south end of the pe-

ninsula. They reported that the waters of Lake Okeechobee

were 24 feet above sea level. The question in mind when

this survey was ordered, was the possibility of digging a

ship canal across the southern peninsula of Florida to

avoid the extremely treacherous southern coast. The region

from about Palm Beach southwrard to Key West is oeftLinTiuisy

strewn with the remnants of wrecks, and is paii-r y the

greatest graveyard of ships anywhere on the American coast.

In more recent years conditions have so improved, that it

is the rare exception fo'r a good vessel to go ashore in

this region. Since this military survey, numerous other

levels have been taken across to Lake Okeechobee, both by

private individuals and by State and Government officers.

There is a uniform agreement in these surveys-, some running

as low as eighteen, some as high as twenty-four feet for

the elevation of the water in Lake Okeechobee. All of these

may be correct since two or three months after the rainy

season the water would necessarily stand higher than just

at the beginning of the rainy season. Likewise, if the

survey were made at the spring tide the waterof the ocean

would stand higher thah if taken at the neap tide. //

_ter d ast ater tg-Mexican War a military

road was established between St. Augustine and Fort Dade,

W.n t now Ai the he of Miaji. This road extended

southward to about where Kissimmee is now located, thence

.~" .. *""**

over the Kissimmee prairie to where Bassinger is located;

then in an easterly direction coming near the coast at

Jupiter and from there southward, keept g away from the im-

mediate coast, yet ctn=2=r enough to p- way fro

the savannahs, there popularly called prairies. (

general way it followed the coralline limestone ridge

outhl of Little Rive; and then through to the Miami River,

Fort Dade at that time being considered an important and

strategic military post. Although I believe this route

was never really used for military purposes it became an

important avenue of travel for private conveyances.

About this time the question of States' Rights was

considerably agitated, and necessarily the two great polit-

ical parties split on 1t. Onnsequently general and large

national activities were not undertaken, and great problems

were turned over to the various States. About this time

the Federal Government gave to the various States all of

the swamp and overflow lands occurring within their bor-

ders. Under this Swamp and Overflow Act the State of

Florida care into possession of the Everglades.

During the eighties the legislature of Florida

entered into a contract with Disston and his associates

to: ial-:e title to them of a certain amount of land, probably

some three million acres, in consideration of their devel-

opment of this land by constructing canals through it. The

principal canals constructed by this contract extended from

Lake Tohopelaliga through to Lake Okeechobee, and from Lake

Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee, near the mouth of which

Ft. iAers is located. There was not much difficulty in

constructing this water-way since it consisted mainly in

the removal of debris and a considerable amount of sad9

Imud. It however meant a more or less perfect water control

of the great interior basis lying southward from Kissimmee

toward Lake Okeechobee and westward to the ridge occurring

in central Polk and De Soto Counties. The Disston pro-

ject came to a termination in the nineties and patent was

maJe to the various 3and s. These lands-were sold out in

smaller or larger bodies and at the present time are among

the best and most productive lands we have in the State.

(ii) Some opinions as to causes leading

up to the Drainage Question.

WaA is a fearful disaster, both financially and mor-

ally to every nation engaged in it. The conquered nation

finds itself financially in the worst condition, but

morally the conquered: nation is usually much better off

so far as the two combatants are concerned. This

statement is a thesis by itself and has to be passed over

excepting in so far as a mention of it is necessary to the

understanding of the significance of sojle of the political

questions that have led up to the particular subject we

have in hand tonight.

It took the United States at least a quarter of a cen-

tury to arouse herself from that fearful and bloody de-

bauch through which the nation had gone in the early P4

of the sixties, a t was nearly 2890 before we had any-

thing that we might call an awakened and civic consciousness.

The older of us need only to remember a2.(the younger will

have to refer to the secret and to large extent unpublished

history of the United States) to blush in shame for scandals

a were rampant during this previous quarter of a century.

I am referring to such instances as the Seward scandal with

Alaska, the Union Pacific bond issue, the Credit Mobilier,

to say nothing of the unspeakable iniquities perpetrated

upon the South. No less a personage than the lamented Gar-

field. was directly connected with such a scandal as.the

Credit Mobilier. You will remember that this was money col-

Elected from the government treasury through the postal de-

partment for imaginary mail routes. I should not wish to

delve in such mire but for the fact that it has a direct

bearing upon the situation in our own State. 2he'Ikmotto in

those days seemed to be "get money honestly if you can -

but get money." I can well remember in my boyhood days

how the associates of my parents looked with abhorrence

and unfeigned disgust on some of the methods employed fn-

more or less local circles for obtaining money.~ j had

S '"peculiar ideas, no doubt, but they had grown nt

with those peculiar views, aa#. one of t~ma ever figured

among the needy or those that were dependent upon charity

for support. I can well remember 1ow at their informal

meetings local and national political questions were dis-

cusseci over their steins and by the aid of the friendly

pipe, and how, after becoming thoroughly disgusted with the

unpardonable political iniquities in one party they flew

to another, only to awaken to the fact that the other polit-

ical party was probably worse than the one originally aligned

with. In other words it was simply turning out one set of

rascals to put in another. I think political conditions

as they occurred in the northwest during my boyhood days

were really ho rrign tr part .

h e-e....a'y-. At least I do not have any recollection of

the political intrigue* going to the extent of actually

framing up evidence and fixing courts so as to railroad an

obstructionist into prison, though this may have occurred

and I would not hear of it.

(iii) Some of the Questions Involved.

In 1890, the period at which I place the beginning of
civic consciousness in the United States, 'e find Francis

P. Fleming (father of our former member of the Board of Con-

trol) Governor of Florida. The political situation in

Florida wasEiot more wrongo^al b than the average of the

United States t PAi o t t a .II

Just preceding this time was a general, scramble of the

railroads in the United States for areas of land. This

was probably the easiest way a' .iahiwL -PI-e

.acqu Lt1.. I do not say that the bargain Mr. Disston

made with the State was unprofitable to the State, but it

was certainly immensely remunerative to Mr. Disston and

his heirs, AWlJn the state of mind of that period I think

it could not be considered morally bad for the Governor of

Florida and the Legislature to give so much of the public

property for so little in return. As a matter of fact

it was probably the best way out. It reminds me a little

bit of a political situation that I happened to 30low iTore

or less definitely about. There was a change in national

'U administration and a certain man Who had been a good Demo-

crat his life long was very desirous of being postmaster,

under the presidential appointment. The presidential

appointment, however, was not forthcoming.and upon close

scrutiny it was discovered that a high official in the

Democratic party -- I believe le was Chairman of the

State Central Committee -- was withholding his consent.

al by devious routes Jt was found that this gentleman

needed five hundred dollars of good hard cash with which

to buy ink to sign the document. The question was re-

ferred to a learned judge (as a purely personal one). He.

gave his opinion that there was no help for the matter.

That while he thought it a shame it would probably be the

only way that the desiring applicant could get tihe',ap-


S.. rancis P. Fleming was governor from 1889 to 1893 inclu-
*r--- -
sive. During this time the railroad track building was pro-

gressing very rapidly in the State. This had been augmented

by the discovery of phosphate in the region around Dunnellon

near Ocala. The railroad building of the State of course

had been preceded by contracts grantii large areas of land

in return for building railroads. The phosphate lands of

course wequickly gobbled up and soon became material with

which to gamble quite in accordance with the spirit of the times,

If local gossip is to be trusted, one learns that frequently

the question as to who should own vast wealth was settled by a

game of cards. Likewise, if the stories are to be credited by

people who claim to have handled the money it was purely a ques-

tion of finding a man's price and then paying it to secure al-

most any grant by the railroads. It will be remembered that

during this time the civic conscience was being awakened in

the United States, and as the tewatras a part of the


Sole, mutterings and dissatisfaction with conditions as

they existed' from tiizo ,^mo, ufc finely on all si-oe

The opponents of Mr. Fleming very skillfully injected

another initial before his name and made it F. 0. & P.

Fleming, the initials of one of the large railroads in4he

State a-b ti ~ ae mi
Convention form of party rule, and while able governors

were secured by this method, averaging probably with those

that are secured under the primary system~nw-e.It was no

secret that the moneyed interests of the State always were

careful to find out how a man stood,before there was any

possibility of his nomination, and it was an open secret

that certain persons in the State enjoyed the priviledge of

saying whether a man should or should not be elli ible for


*' 189Z-'-2 Judge Henry Mitchell of Tampa was e4et-e

i.Governor. Of course nomination in those days was equal to

election, so there was no opposition worthy of mention.

evious to that time, however, ose, ascending

brilliantly, and then like th proverbial rocket came

down like a stick. The immediate cause for this brilliant

rise was of course the dissatisfaction of t people with

how things were being run in a political way, and coming

down like a stick was not aniunpremeditated affair. From

1897 to 1900 W. D. Bloxhai, forr..erly Governor of Florida,

was again elected. By this time political conditions in

the State were becoming somewhat troublesome. A very strong

faction had arisen in the Democratic party, which was able

to send to Tallahassee its representative from so large a

county as Columbia, against one of the old time straight-

line Denmonrats. Of course this was not fought out on a-

clear and clean cut issue. The stump speeches when Capt.

Bayer and Judge Palmer were in the contest were "for" and

"against" free silver, tnu Iree silver and gold standard

had precious little to do with the decision in regarding


to casting of votes, tho free silver was the great slogan

- usedd on the plat-form. As things were becoming acute

in this way it became necessary for the straight line and

those who had favored the awarding of lands and other

valuable assets to the favorite petitioner, found it neces-

sary to bring out the most popular man possible who would

be able to carry the election by his personality rather

tahn the principles in private and public ownership. It

will be remembered that it was during loxham' ,em-

ing's administration that most of the contracts for Build-

ing these railroads were awarded. Under the Swamp and

Over-flow Act it was possible to award lands located in

any part of the State for running a railroad in another and

entirely different section. This was under the control

of the Board of Internal Improvements. Toward the close

of Bioxham's second administration was held the last real

Democratic Convention in the State. This was convened at

The lines vere pretty sharply drawn, but everyone

qas pretty much at sea as to who would likely be nominated.

Mr. Jennings of Brooksville, who had served in the legis-

lature, had certain very distinct and definite ideas in

regard to these matters of granting large bodies of land to

railroads and other corporations. He was born and raised

in Illinois and a cousin to William Jennings Bryan. His

nativity stood distinctly against him, while his relation-

ship to the reat Commoner, as he was formerly called by

a large contingent in Florida, proved to be a decided asset

to him. By skillfully working, his friends succeeded in

stampeding enough of the delegates in the convention to

turn the tide in his favor and he was nominated and elected.

This of course was trouble beginning or the old-time regime.

Jennings undoubtedly felt a smart of the political unfair-

ness and with his followers was able to pass the Primary


This brings us up tothe campaign during which the late

Broward was elected Governor. The Primary System was

entirely untried, and the two leading candidates had to go

into the Second Primary. Broward of Jacksonville, and

Robert Davis, then of Palatka but now of 'mpe, were in

the campaign. Broward had made the Everglades his cam-

paign issue. This was the beginning of attack from ap-

parently every quarter. Like nearly all other political

campaigns, the issue was not clean-cut but every sort of

side issue was introduced by the opponents to confuse the

prospective voter. For instance, a self-styled engineer

in whom a very considerable amount of confidence had been

shown by the people of the southern part of the State,vehe-

mently and positively stated that he, himself, had seen

tides dn Lake Okeechobee, and that LaTe Okeechobee, in

place of being elevated was .- sea level and that sub-

terranean cavities connected it with the oceans. I merely

give this as one of hundreds of illustrations to show what

absolutely unfounded arguments were connected with the

campaign against the Everglade Drainage Proposition. It

was during Jennings' administration that legal machinery

was set in motion to annul some of the supposed contracts

entered into by the State for lands in the Everglades.

In the end, Broward was elected by something like 500 ma-

jority of the votes cast, a very narrow margin indeed.

The question of politics of course rose from a more

fundamental one, that of civic conscienceness awakening and

the struggle to obtain these lands rose from the fact that

they were becoming extremely valuable. Mr. Distcn's

work in the Kissimmee valley, peculiarly .enough, had slumped.

so that he did not get the bagatelle of what it was really

worth and he himself was probably less to blame for this than

his immediate family and his advisers. were all

opposed to i rand then the spirit of gambling which was so

rampant in the 80's and 90's was also a serious deterring

factor. It was found that by certain unscrupulous con-

binations the A 4 could be disposed of ok a wiY

short time, eaA variously Stated t at from one and a half

million to three and a half millions dollars. The tempta-

tion was too great fm those who had the opportunity.

Mr. Flagler,seeing the opportunities and knowing that a

4vs 4uV would soon be created,fprojected his railroad

southward and by acquiring direct or indirect control over

the lands on the East Coast Canal Co., succeeded in con-

trolling vast tCeaf. It is quite correctly stated by

newspapers that the East Coast Railroad was built -1;iar

a single grant of land. However, the acquiring of the lands

which were donated to the company which had agreed to build

the East Coast Canal made the railroad building quite a

valuable asset, and while it was not technically the same

as being granted land for building the railroad, in the

direction of profits it was pB gyj just as good. Mr.

Flagler, in having these lands developed thru what was

known by various company names, had demonstrated pretty
ite B-'* .'** ***; ** *

clearly that the lands when drained would become extremely

valuable as trucking lands. This part of it was an import-

ant factor in bring on the struggle, since this land was

selling for from $10 an acre remote from the railroads

up to $40 for that near the railroads, and sometimes for

$50 and even larger amounts had raised the cupidity of those

who had a claim or supposed they had a claim on the Ever-

glad lands. We can therefore see that the political strug-

gle going on in Florida meant millions of dollars to thowe

having apparent titles to lands or else millions of dollars

t,:. the people of Florida. It seems to me then that to sum

it up we have three principle questions involved in this

struggle for the possession of the Everglades Land:

First; The Awakening of the civic conscienceness or

civic conscience; Second;AThe possession of these lands

by private individuals for their personal advantage;

Third; The rise in the pr&ce of these lands.

(iv.) The Probably Significance of Some of the Scandals

Connected with the Drainage Work.

In the foregoing three sections I have, I think, led
up in a sufficinetly logical way to give /somewhataclear

insight to the subject. There have been all sorts of

rumors of scandal, some unfounded, and some possibly being

only too well founded in fact. The methods of Wall Street

are too well known the country over for anyone wbth the

gambling spirit in their blood to have over-looked. The

lottery ticket has been done away with; other lines of chance

have been outlawed. Card playing for money e while Aot

a strictly legal form of amusement still seems to be winked.

at by the law. It would therefore be very unreasonable to

suppose that in a country where it is perfectly legitimate

and even considered honorable to gamble in such vital things

as bread and clothing, that we should look upon the matter

of gambling with lands with a large degree of comnplacency.


The rise and fall in the price of Everglade lands has been

so entirely independent tf the money supply or capital

of the country that we must look to some artificial cause

for it. One hardly needs to have the vision of a -)rophet

to see some very significant indications along this line.

As long as the Evergladelands were practically worthless

no one was paying much attention to perfecting titles

and getting an absolute deed to this region. Perfecting

the title and getting a deed to the region would mean that

the possessor would have to pay taxes for the support of

these. If, however, the titles remained in the State and

the individual had a contract from the State to deliver

these to him they had a contract that they thought as good

as a dead without having to pay any taxes on the land.

,:.' However, when 7. S. Jennings became governor some uncertain-

S t arose as to whether the State officials would sign up and

Make the deeds to these lands good. It has been freely

stated that it was a personal peak and due to some supposed

lIn@mana injury that had been done or some slight to the

occupant of the Governor's hair. The probability is that

Mir. Jennings was not altogether satisfied that the whole

arrangement had been perfectly fair to the people of Florida

and that certain individuals or combinations of individuals

had really gotten more than their legal share of the swag.

This naturally created a very significant depression in the

values of land. After the compromise with railroads and

the whole matter was relieved of court proceedings, there

came a rapid rise in the selling price of these lands

in fact Everglades Lands, far removed from drainage canals

or proposed drainage canals went to -l15 an acre in large

blocks. It will be remembered that these Everglads Lands

with the exception of that owned by the State r '..i..

'ffy- ^--P= .......a.......n- was held in large blocks.

This made it especially attractive to the gaillers in large

moneys, and single individuals or corporations owning as

much as h.lf a million acres of land would nominally be

as rich as some railroads, and consequently would attract

attention from the money markets. There was a simultaneous

attack on the drainage proposition, on the money that was

available as advance on, on the personal integri-

ty of the promoters, and on the( personal integrity of those

comnneted with the State Drainage operations. This had

.imm di-e effect that could have been A e'Oe by anyone.

It will be remembered, that our Congressma.n Olark made a

certain speech in which he denounced the whole

and declared the land should be sold by liquid measure

rather than by area. This incident in itself would have

created very little attention if the whole matter were sim-

ply a State cqestion, but the money stake was too great to

,:- be confined to the state limits. Skillfully written

articles were printed in the papers from Biscayne Bay to

Puget Sound and from Maine to California, showing there was

a very nDl aBobe effort discreditfta the whole peil.

Together with this a very considerable amount of space has

been given in the papers showing up the adverse side of the

drainage proposition. Immediately this, waiting of

course a sufficient length of time to let the matter settle

itto the body politic as a whole, comes a Dutch Syndicate

desiring to buy State lands and offering what under the

b4e iwazeo~t would be an extremely good price for the



I have, in the privacy of Cur Clubs, said a greatt many

-things that would involve one in endless if they

:were given as public ut-cer2nces. --hee e rzE7XE xy lti

jthbi- ni 11 ha r3 rl a-r1 l q. ni mP i I n I 17-' CL'*n iiar e pami in 0 Ain n~l

ao--1 v),in T 'R __a 1ra-t I have Irought in nothing here

and no personal refeTrences have been made to anyone with


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any other view than that of developing and bringing forward

the underlying and significant basis for the different

condtions as they have arisen. I have pointed out in a ..

very general and direct way that the question is more than a

State question but that it is a national one and that the

awakening of a civic conscience was somewhat late in the

United States, that this same awaL:ening brought about a

struggle in Florida, and that it centered on the Everglades

since this was about the last remaining wealth that belonged

to the people as a whole, (small areas of course occui'

elsewhere) and that most of the great questions were settled

rather on personalities than on principles, that there has

been a general forward movement and a betterment, that the

slump: in price of Everglades Lands was purely an artificial

matter and well planned and centrally directed, that for

some reason or another the was not carried off, and

that we may expect a recurrence at almost any time.

The present financial stringency of course is not confined

to Florida nor to the United State but is a world wide

e:Tpression of over-activity and over-confidfence. The

scandals connected with the Everglad work are very milR

when compared with the real ones that have been connected

with private enterprises "tagig ~ lS h

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Tocatio-,.-The stretch from about 27N Latitude to nearly

250N. Or beginning at the upper end of Lake Okeechobee to Cape

Sable, a distance of about 150 miles. At its upper breadth they mea-

sure about 120 miles, roughly speaking they formaa triangle with the

apex at Cape Sable. This vast area includes out 7500 square

miles, an area equal to one of our smaller states. There are nearly

fiveimillion acres in this vast area, three million of which can be

easily brought into cultivaion.

General Contour.- The highestt portion which rises about 40

ft. is at its northern extension and east of Lake Okeechobbb. The

water in Lake Okeechobee stands h.bout 18 fet above sea level and

shedsin three directions, East, South, and West, find outlets

though very srall toward streams.

Along the eastern shores occur higher elevations th.n along

the western. These ridges of coral breccia and sand dunes run more

or less'parallel to the ajeoent coast. The coral breccia ridges are

for the mnst .art and probably 4qggiether of eolian formation.

(This is not the generally accepted view) They are merely extinct

coral sand dunes. In some caMes sjnd is at present beinR blown over

some dunes, about 30 miles north and east of Cape Sable the ever-

glades into the coastal salt marshes.

The extinct st- d dunes are higher on the East coast and

extend farther southward than at the west coast because t,.e prevail-

ing winds are from the south-east. The coral breccia ridges and old

sand dunes are cut in various places, permitting the w.ter tc flow

off in that direction. Toward the wes' coast is formed the Big

cypress and a fringe of mangroves which retard the passage of the

wat. r in that direction.

The interior of the everglade region is intersected by

sand ridges and by sloughs. The ridgns are the remains of former

dumes. The sloughs are tortuous, retarding the flow of water to

such an extent that it is difficult to tell which way the water

flows. Tintil the elevation of this regi on had been determined by

engineers it was supposed to be at tide level.

From the foregoing it will be seen that the engineering

feature of draining the evetglades is comparatively simple but of

considerable magnitude. Canals of sufficient onpacity and at close

enough intervals to ca -ry off the rainfalld during its maximum is all


? that is necessary. Many of the smaller glades, or inatries as t:ey

are called locally, have already been reclaimed until from 50 to 100

thousand acres of this land is in use. These reclaimed glRdes are

for the most part located near the ocen or Biscayne Bay. The Baynton

prarie is a good illustration. The water from the everglades is

held back by old sand dunes and the water in this prairie, six miles

long and two miles wide, was held back by the newer dunes. when a

canal mas cut to tEde water, the prarie was drained and is now fur-

nishing excellent farm lands.

On this prairie forest trees, especially the pines are

becoming established.

Botanizing,- The interior of the everglades are bot!ni-

cally unknown, but there is no physical difficulty in making thb

exploration. The task, though an easy one, is not inviting. The

flora is rather sparde and uninteresting. Over the level stretches

the sedges predominate. In the muck ponds the aquatics, like the

water lilies are common. The small hammocks which occur frequently,

are extremely interesting from i-he fact that the number of species in

an individual hammock is apt to be very small but the number of

plants of the species very abundant. This fact proves that the ham-



mocks are of compara-.ively recent origin. The impenetrable ever-

glades is as elusive as the grent American Desert. In our botan-

Sl.cng- excursion we found it no more difficult to penetrate this

impenetrable(?) region by means of horses and carriage than would

ordinarily be expecr,4ced in traversing other unn known regions.

We made a journey of ten to twelve miles in a single dp.ay


the portions of the land bordering the ocean and gulf is not differ-

ent from that part along the shores of North Carolina, South Caro-

lina and Georgia. The spaces of land for the moat part belong to

many different families. In general appearance the resemblance is

very striking in that the., are well adapted. I to the xerophytic con-


In the more Northern States we have the salt. marsh and

strand while along the Florida coast a new element, the sangrove

formation, has been intrepreted.

Strand 2.

UIrviola paniculato and Iponioea pes-capre are points

that ref se toe-e to be cultivated away from the strand condition.

Marotina, Opuntia Austrina Pac:;ea littoralis,

Gerripa clusiifolia and Errodia littoralis seem to be 'nale to

adapt themselves to other conditions. Serenoa serrulota and Cocas

crumifera grow equally as well on the strnnd or in the interior.

Chysohalows Icoca, becomes a trailing shun, almost a vine, its

branches frequently buried in the sand while in the interior it


becomes a tree with a strong trunk. Some specimens grow twelve

to fifteen feet tall. Chysobalamus Icoca is affected very much

like Cocalobis nuhifera. Both produce an edible fruit.


Location,-The stretch from about 270N Latitude to nearly

25eN, Or beginning at the upper end of take Okeechobee to Cape "

Sable, a distance of about 150 miles. At its upper bredth they mea-

sure about 120 miles, roughly peaking they formaa triangle with the

apex at Cape Sable. This vast area includes i out 7500 square

miles, an area equal to one of our smaller states. There are nearly

fivemmillion acres in this vast area, three million of which can be

easily brought into cultivaion.

General Contour.- The highestt portion which rises about 40

ft. is at its northern extension and east of Lake Okeechobbk. The

water in Lake Okeechobee stands about 18 feot above sea level and

shedsin three directions, East, South, and West, find outlets

though very s'nall toward streams.

Along the eastern shores occur higher elevations than along

the western. These ridges of coral breccia and sand dunes run more

or less'parallel to the ajecent coast. The coral breccia ridges are

for the most part and probably aMqSgether of eolian formation.

(This is not the generally accepted view) They are merely extinct

coral sand dunes. In some cases sand is at present being blown over

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