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The East Coast of Florida

Florida: The March of Progress

Circa 1930s

WHERE white sands, blue sparkling waves and swaying palms make winter only an expression. Under the glorious sun, refreshed by the salt breeze from the Gulf stream, old and young live and play. Any season of the entire year is delightful along this 500 miles of fairy shore. This part of our state being first of our land to be discovered and settled by the Spanish, romance still lingers over all.


First we come to Jacksonville, through which thousands of visitors pass annually by train, boat and motor to all other parts of the state. Located on the mighty St. Johns River, twenty miles from the Atlantic coast, Jacksonville is a great commercial center. In its port may be seen craft from all the seven seas. Aside from its industrial importance, Jacksonville has for its visitors sixty-seven beautiful parks and many recreational advantages. Excellent hotels are available. Plenty of yachting and boating, tennis courts, five 18-hole golf courses, excellent theatres and unsurpassed nearby beaches are awaiting the tourist. A municipal airport offers sky trips at reasonable rates. In South Jacksonville is a large ostrich and alligator farm.

Near Jacksonville is the scene of settlement and conflict by French and Spanish long before colonists landed at Jamestown or Plymouth.

Under the giant live oaks, with their trailing Spanish moss, you will find a welcome that makes a charming introduction to the sunshine-land of Florida.


On the coast northeast of Jacksonville, lies the interesting fishing town of Fernandina, established by the Spanish in 1680. Its picturesque fleet and the nearby remains of occupation by early settlers and by pirate bands make this community a spot well worth visiting.


In 1565, the Spanish founded this city on the site of the ancient Indian village of Seloy. Its old buildings, the narrow streets of the Spanish section, combine with cordial friendliness and tropical vegetation to charm the visitor.

Old Fort San Marco frowns on Matanzas Bay, her walls, moats and dungeons as solid as when built by the Conquistadores. The old city gates, the oldest house, slave market, ancient cathedral, etc., present a quaint old-world air to this beautiful spot. Here, also, is the famed Fountain of Youth. A million-dollar bridge connects with Anastasia Island and its marvelous beaches and alligator farm, while another crosses North River to the other beaches and to the fine swimming pool in the casino.

Excellent hotels, the beautiful plaza with its band concerts, two fine golf courses, driving and bathing on fifteen miles of beach, together with many other forms of enjoyment are in store for you.


Proceeding south from St. Augustine by motor, one may pass over Road Four through Bunnell, or drive down the Ocean Shore Boulevard, past the beaches on Anastasia Island, through Summer Haven and Flagler Beach to Ormond, just north of Daytona Beach. Ormond is on Pelican Island, between the ocean and the Halifax River. A bridge here connects with the mainland, or one may proceed south to Daytona Beach on the island road. Ormond has splendid hotels and an 18-hole golf course, besides its world-renowned beach, bridle paths, boating and other recreational facilities. This is the winter home of John D. Rockefeller.


Daytona Beach, thanks to its location, topographical beauty and equable climate, occupies an unusual place among Florida's cities for the reason that in recent years it has been developed into one of the best-known combined winter and summer resorts of the nation. The average winter season temperature of Daytona Beach is 61°, while that of the summer months is 81°, and at no time in history has the mercury gone above 96° in June, July or August.

It has the Tomoka River, pictures of which have made it almost as noted as the song-famed Suwannee; it is skirted on the east by the Atlantic and the worldfamed Ormond-Daytona Beach Ocean Speedway, on which all automobile speed records have been made; it is center—traversed by the glinting-watered Halifax River, sentinelled on the west by a chain of small hills and lakes at the highest point on the Florida East Coast. A concrete boardwalk parallels the ocean for half a mile.

The international fame of Daytona Beach is based chiefly, of course, upon its wonderful beach, on which international speed contests, usually held in March, have been revived in recent years. Every reader is familiar with the story of the records made there by the monster cars which flash along the sands like cornets. Twice every twenty-four hours the mighty rollers of the Atlantic pack down the sand until it is as smooth and firm as any cement surface. The width, length and straightness of this beach make it the best place in all the world for speeding cars.


Inland from Daytona Beach lies DeLand, county seat of Volusia County, in which both cities are located.

Three splendid golf courses offer reasons for golfers to come to DeLand. Big game, quail and ducks are in season during tourist time and can be reached in fifteen minutes to an hour over good roads. Another three reasons: The world's biggest black bass in the lakes and streams; finest speedway of record in forty minutes of the city; bathing in salt and fresh water. Still another three: Sea fishing for monsters that try the most sporty anglers of the country; motoring over miles and miles of fine highways; wonder springs to visit (three of them) and a water trail so good that yachts come from any port in the world to DeLand's side door.

For those who prefer to take their pleasures in quieter ways or diversify them still more than suggested above, there is a whole lot of supervised play on the city playgrounds. The most popular of the games are bowling, quoits and shuffleboard. Matches are held with the visitors of nearby cities.


The Spanish landed here and founded a settlement and fort very early, about 1565. New Smyrna claims to have been settled even before St. Augustine. The settlement was later abandoned, the ruins of the ancient fort and old Spanish mission being evidences of this occupation. A large Indian shell burial mound is to be seen near the beach.

In 1767 Dr. Turnbull founded a colony of Minorcans and Greeks here, naming the town New Smyrna in honor of his wife's former home.

The modern town of New Smyrna has fine hotels, splendid beaches, a 9-hole golf course and other attractions among most beautiful natural surroundings. Tourists find a most cordial welcome here. Quiet amusements abound and those who are fond of hunting or fishing may here indulge to their hearts' content.

Volusia County has many other spots of interest. DeLeon Springs, one of the largest outflows of water in the state, is near DeLand. Recreational grounds and a fine bathing pool among mighty trees delight the visitor. Here are the ruins of an ancient mill. Two miles from New Smyrna is the Indian River Dude Ranch, a well-equipped ranch with modern cabins, wholesome food, good saddle horses and experienced guides, where guests may hunt, fish, swim and follow trails through woodlands and prairie as primitive as when the white man first landed.

South of New Smyrna the highway skirts the famous Indian River, passing through a number of pretty little cities. The Indian River affords excellent fishing and a succession of beaches on the Atlantic supply surf-bathing facilities.

Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, and Eau Gallie are towns having these advantages, together with good tourist quarters. These towns are centers of the famous Indian River fruit section. Cocoa and Rockledge are the oldest tourist towns on the central east coast.

MELBOURNE, The Midway City (half way between Jacksonville and Miami), has an airport which is a port of call for the mail planes flying between Jacksonville and Miami. There are two golf courses on the mainland and a bridge connects with the Indiatlantic Beach, splendid for bathing and where there is another golf course, municipal pier and casino,

VERO BEACH, further south along the Indian River, is surrounded by fine citrus groves as well as pineapples and bananas. Vero Beach has a good casino and beach. Two golf courses, tennis courts, and other amusements are to be found. A fine pool is located at the casino just south of Vero Beach you will find the McKee JUNGLE GARDENS, eighty acres of tropical enchantment. Winding paths, along murmuring streams, lead 'neath towering palms and hoary oaks, with tangle of flowering vines, to mirror pools of sylvan magic. Here are to be found remarkable orchids and many strange and beautiful water lilies.

FORT PIERCE, in St. Lucie County, is 250 miles south of Jacksonville. Its climate is delightful and its surroundings most pleasing. A center of fruit growing and commercial fishing, Fort Pierce also has much to offer the tourist. Hunting, fishing, bathing, boating, two golf courses and good hotels are among the attractions.

STUART, in Martin County, is opposite the St. Lucie River inlet, famous for fishing and yachting. An 18-hole course and good hotels are available.

PALM BEACH and WEST PALM BEACH, 300 miles from Jacksonville, are the world-renowned playgrounds of famous and prominent folk. Palm Beach has long been a famous resort for American and foreign wealth and fashion.

Tropical gardens, palatial homes and yacht basins abound. Luxurious hotels are at hand, and beaches, golf and other amusements fill the play-hours of the joyous pilgrims.

Across Lake Worth lies West Palm Beach, business center and sister resort, vying with Palm Beach in its tourist attractions. Color and life are there, with ample tourist accommodations. Golf, tennis, motor-boating, harness racing, hunting, aviation, afromobiling, riding, bathing in surf and pool, roque and many other amusements are offered.

LAKE WORTH, a city just to the south, right on the Gulf stream, has a casino, alligator farm, golf course and good hotels amidst tropic vegetation.

FORT LAUDERDALE, first established as a military post in 1837, is a commercial center and deep-sea port between the ocean and the Everglades and is midway between West Palm Beach and Miami. The New River forms the ocean outlet and is a basin for the many yachts that gather there. Fort Lauderdale's port, Port Everglades, is a port of call for round-the-world liners. Excellent golf and fishing are to be had and an alligator farm and Seminole Indian village are in the immediate vicinity. These Indians live under primitive conditions here and elsewhere in the Everglades region. They have never acknowledged allegiance to our government, but still maintain their own language and tribal laws, even to the administration of the death penalty. Their brightly-colored costumes, palmetto-thatched open huts, heavy bead ornaments worn by the women and the knowledge that their chief source of livelihood is still the bounty of nature in fruit, fish and game, all add to the attraction.

On south, through Hollywood-By-The-Sea, with its hotels, golf courses and beaches, to the Magic City of Miami.


Royal palms wave in the soft sea air, white-capped breakers roll in upon golden sands-the very winter air is sun-drenched and invigorating. On this Gulf-stream bordered shore rises an artist's dream of a city.

Miami is built on the site of old Fort Dallas, which was established in 1836. Beginning from almost nothing in 1896, Miami has risen to a position of leadership in resort life and as the commercial center of southern Florida. Across Biscayne Bay, on a beautiful sub-tropical key, lies Miami Beach. Connecting these cities are fine causeways. Pleasure craft crowd the bay; hotels, casinos and cafes are ready to hand; excellent theatres provide first-rate entertainment. There are swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, polo fields, bowling greens; fishing at your pleasure-nothing lacking to fill the tourists' hours and bring joy and satisfaction.

CORAL Gables and HIALEAH, together with MIAMI BEACH and the city of Miami proper, make up Greater Miami. City authorities and citizens have left nothing undone that could add to the happiness of the visitors they are so glad to welcome.

Besides the entertainments already mentioned, saddle horses may be obtained on which one may explore delightful bridle paths, water excursions to nearby interesting points are conducted and band concerts are held daily at the open-air auditorium. Lovers of sport thrill to the horse and greyhound racing conducted here during the season.

On the outskirts of Miami lie several alligator farms and Seminole Indian villages. Fifteen miles out is Opalocka, with blimp and naval hangar, radio tower and airport.

Miami is the southern terminus of the air mail route from Jacksonville. Commercial planes are available for short flights or for trips to the Bahamas, Cuba or South America.

The average annual temperature is 74.4 degrees. A heat prostration is unknown here, or elsewhere in Florida. In common with other Florida communities, Miami has excellent schools and most desirable residential districts.

HOMESTEAD is the chief town of the Redland District, south of Miami. In addition to the interesting and profitable agricultural and fruitgrowing industries, there is a natural beauty that entrances the visitor.

Royal Palm State Park is at the southern edge of this district, where the royal palms grow wild and beautiful tropical growth is to be found. This region, south to CAPE SABLE, the nethermost point of continental United States, has been converted into a national park, in order that the flora and fauna may be preserved for posterity.


Emerald isles dropped in a turquoise sea! Marvels of tropic loveliness, with fringes of white coral sand and rainbow-hued breakers and with centers of living green, these isles are decked with swaying cocoanut palms, bananas and other far-southern vegetation. Here, at our very door, are South-Sea-Island spots that defy adequate description. Pineapples and other tropic fruits and vegetables grow abundantly and in a never-ending summer, time passes unheeded.

Fishing such as you never even dreamed of awaits you. The glamour of romance cast on these coral keys by Spaniard and pirate lingers still. Tales of battle and revel; colorful characters and hidden pirate gold come to mind as one traverses these scenes of their activities. The very names-Key Largo, Upper and Lower Matecumbe, Long Key, Boot Key, Big Pine Key, Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, No-Name Key-what do they not recall of Treasure Island and other tales of your childhood. Every now and then up crops some real treasure trove to remind us that this is the scene of actual and not imaginary romance.

THE Oversea Routes-Two wonders of the world are encountered in journeying south over the keys from the Florida mainland to Key West. These are the oversea extension of the Florida East Coast Railway and the newly-built oversea highway. Winding over the keys and spanning the stretches of open water between them, both railway and highway provide an experience in transportation not met with elsewhere. The railway continues its unbroken course for 12.5 miles to its terminal at the steamship docks in Key West. The highway spans the distance from the mainland to Key West except for two ferries which will some day be bridged. Monroe County maintains a regular ferry service across these gaps. There is space on the boats for about eighteen cars, besides numerous passengers on the upper decks. Meals arc served on these boats, and the trip affords a pleasant and unusual experience.

KEY WEST, the insular city, 125 miles out at sea, occupies an unique place among the communities of America. Its location, history, population, traffic, the fact that it is the only absolutely frostproof city in the United States, all add interest to its name.

Fishing here, as on the other keys, surpasses description. Tarpon, amber jack, baracuda, sailfish and sawfish abound, besides innumerable others. Four million pounds of fish are shipped annually and there are six hundred and fifty known varieties of fish.

This is also the center of a large sponge industry, and a glimpse of the sponge fleet and its catch on a market day is a thing worthwhile. Immense sea turtles are caught and kept in concrete pools until killed. Turtle soup and meat are canned and large, fresh turtle steaks are served at all the restaurants. Glassbottomed boats afford visions of undersea beauty and marvels.

Key West is the site of coast defense fortifications, and here is a monument to the heroes of the ill-fated Maine. An immense lighthouse arises from among the palms. Spanish is heard on every hand and most of the populace speak both that language and English. Key West is the point of departure nearest Havana and regular boat connections are maintained.

Between Key West and the island republic of Cuba, which lies ninety miles to the south, is the Strait of Florida, a very deep channel indeed. Through this strait flows the mighty Gulf Stream, one of the greatest of all the ocean rivers.

The entire outflow of the Gulf of Mexico, with its many mighty contributary streams, pours through this comparatively narrow strait.

The water is such a deep blue that it seems almost purple, and it is so clear that large fish may be seen at a considerable depth. As the prows of the many vessels passing through this passage cut the water, flying fish leap and soar aside. So many of these remarkable little creatures inhabit these waters that there is scarcely a moment when some of them are not in sight,

Ships of all sorts, from great liners and ponderous freighters to small sailing vessels, are continuously in sight. A trip through or across the Strait of Florida is a most pleasant experience.

Now that we have traveled farthest south in the United States and have viewed this island city, let us return to the mainland and explore the remainder of the Sunshine State.

Excerpt from "Florida: The March of Progress" published circa 1930s by the Florida Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Immigration.


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