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Who was a landowner on Miami Beach in the 1880s and what did he do there?

1962-024-22

In the early 1880s, what we know as Miami Beach was simply a barrier island, featuring swarms of mosquitoes, acres of sand spurs and a shore dominated by thick mangrove growth.  Although the island had once hosted an Indian presence, it has been abandoned well before Henry Lum sailed up to Biscayne Bay from Key West during the winter of 1881-1882. Hailing from New Jersey, Lum bought a tract just north of Norris Cut and started raising coconuts. The enterprise caught the eye of his acquaintance Ezra Osborn, also of New Jersey, a well-known engineer of the time. Forming a company for the purpose of raising coconuts, the men proceeded to secure all the vacant beach lands from Cape Florida to Jupiter. Coconuts were imported from various Caribbean locales and gangs of men used to working on such coastal projects were brought in from New Jersey. The expenditure for this sizable operation was over $100,000.  But the project ultimately failed due to poor soil quality, occasional frosts, and the destruction of young plants by rats and rabbits. 

Answer: Henry Lum, who attempted to raise coconuts.

Posted at 06:00 AM on December 9, 2013 | Permalink

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