Group Title: Two Women: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.
Title: A brief overview of thousands of years of Everglades history
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 Material Information
Title: A brief overview of thousands of years of Everglades history
Series Title: Two Women: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Publication Date: June 15, 1983
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- South Florida
Funding: Florida International Univerity Libraries
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: FI07010802
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: Florida International University
Holding Location: Florida International University
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: SPC950A1


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A J ale of iwo Women
Marjon Stonemnan Douglas and larijoric 1 larris Carr

Segment: MSD gives a brief overview of thousands of years of Everglades history

Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas: a tale of two women / produced by Florida
International University Learning Resources for FIU/FAU Joint Center. Videotaped at the Douglas House
in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.

Length of Segment: 00:05:53

Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.


The basic geologic facts of the Everglades are the same today as they always were that is, this end of
the state of the Florida, this end of the Peninsula, was up to about 7000 years ago off and on under
water because of the freezing and melting of the polar ice cap. When the last water ran off -- the salt
water ran off, when it was all ocean at one time -- it left the shape of Florida as it is now. It is shaped
entirely of oolitic limestone, not coral rock as everybody says. There's bits and pieces of coral in it but it
is a true oolitic limestone which is a sedentary rock occurring chiefly under water. So when the water
ran off, this shape of the sedentary oolitic limestone was exposed and the outside currents began to
shape the peninsula as we see it today. A gentle current coming down the Gulf of Mexico along the west
coast and the piece of the great Florida Straits current which is a part of the greater Gulf Stream, the
Florida Straits Current coming from between Yucatan and the western end of Cuba coming along
shaping the whole East Coast. So the outsides of that mass of oolitic limestone was shaped by the salt
water. But as the saltwater ran off, the interior which showed up was covered from, say, Orange County
south, with a series of, well the saltwater ran off in streams and ponds and marshlands, and then the
rain which had always been raining of course filled up the declivities left by the saltwater so that all the
water coming down from below what is now Orange County was fresh. Freshwater coming down what
we now call the Kissimmee Valley with marshlands and little ponds and all kinds of little meandering
streams and tributaries down into the central declivity of Lake Okeechobee from which the
Caloosahatchee River moved westward to the Gulf of Mexico with meanders. The meanders always
indicate a very old stream of water. And the Caloosahatchee was there from many times when Florida
was covered with ocean water and the ocean water ran off the Caloosahatchee was always there. It is
very much older really than the 7000 years that we consider the present shape of the peninsula.

Over on the east side the Loxahatchee Slough and the St. Lucie River and those freshwater marshes and
streams took the eastern overflow of Lake Okeechobee. But the main part of the water ran from the
southern edge of rim of Lake Okeechobee, down into a great arc curving south and southwest making a
sheetflow of water down the middle of the peninsula and that is the part we call the Everglades. Where
the freshwater ran, the sawgrass grew. So where you find south of the Lake the sawgrass and the
freshwater -- the water flowing and the grass standing still -- you find the true grassy Everglades -- an
area of, say, from 40 to 80 miles wide, surrounded on the east by the east bank of the East Coast ??
which is a ridge of oolitic limestone between the ocean and the Everglades and on the west side a kind
of a rectangular triangle where the Big Cypress is, which is like the west coast of the Everglades, a much
larger area extending outwards into the Ten Thousand Islands. Now that shape of the land and the
nature of the gentle incline down which the water has always run is just the same today as it always
was. That's the geologic part of it. It has been changed superficially so that the River of Grass, as I called
it, has been changed greatly. The Lake has been changed by being polluted, and the last thing the
Engineers did was to run a canal down the meanders of the Kissimmee River and that changed that thing
so that all the things that man did, say from like, well it began in '81 with attempts to drain it, everything
man did was likely to be wrong because people in those days did not pay any attention to the main
system and picture of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades basin.

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