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Other titles in the Florida History and Culture series:
Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida's Future (Florida History and Culture)by Steven Noll
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Noll (history, U. of Florida) and Tegeder (history, Santa Fe College) recount the story of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal and how the project aimed to cut a canal across the Florida peninsula to reduce shipping times and bring commerce to Florida. They describe how construction began in the 1930s with Roosevelt's New Deal, how it was soon halted by politicians and conservationists, how it began again in the 1960s, and how it was never completed. Emphasizing what the controversy reveals about competing visions of progress and preservation in the state, they detail nineteenth century ideas about a canal, the efforts of conservationists like Marjorie Harris Carr and the citizen activists she led, the planning and development by the Army Corps of Engineers, and how the site later became a park. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Traces the long standing effort to build a canal across Florida
"Offers timeless lessons about pork-barrel politics and the power of citizen-environmentalism. Most important, it reminds us that today’s economic coup may well be tomorrow's environmental crisis."--Cynthia Barnett, author of Mirage
"Ties the exploitation of the Ocklawaha to Florida history across nearly two centuries. Moreover, they bring to life the personalities of canal supporters and detractors, including such dynamic individuals as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Claude Pepper, and Marjorie Harris Carr."--Frederick Rowe Davis, author of The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles
For centuries, men dreamed of cutting a canal across the Florida peninsula. Intended to reduce shipping times, it was championed in the early twentieth century as a way to make the mostly rural state a center of national commerce and trade.
Rejected by the Army Corps of Engineers as "not worthy," the project received continued support from Florida legislators. Federal funding was eventually allocated and work began in the 1930s, but the canal quickly became a lightning rod for controversy.
Steven Noll and David Tegeder trace the twists and turns of the project through the years, drawing on a wealth of archival and primary sources. Far from being a simplistic morality tale of good environmentalists versus evil canal developers, the story of the Cross Florida Barge Canal is a complex one of competing interests amid the changing political landscape of modern Florida.
Thanks to the unprecedented success of environmental citizen activists, construction was halted in 1971, though it took another twenty years for the project to be canceled. Though the land intended for the canal was deeded to the state and converted into the Cross Florida Greenway, certain aspects of the dispute--including the fate of Rodman Reservoir--have yet to be resolved.
About the Author
Steven Noll is senior lecturer in history at the University of Florida. David Tegeder is associate professor of history at Santa Fe College.
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