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What was Flagler's Folly?


In extending his F.E.C. Railway down to Key West, Henry Flagler was convinced that that port would become a major focus of transoceanic commerce to be opened up by the forthcoming Panama Canal which was, in fact, completed in 1914. Key West did not, however, attract the trade which Flagler had anticipated, and his enormously expensive "overseas" railroad thereto was never a financial success. Running from 1912 until 1935, it was also ill fated due to an engineering weakness which rendered the railway vulnerable to the devastating hurricane of 1935. Largely to please the aging Flagler by completing the project ahead of schedule, the highly regarded engineering firm in charge of the monumental task of construction decided to build the railroad's roadbed on natural and man-made sand dunes, instead of pilings. Although lasting 23 years, the sand roadbed was finally washed away by the pounding surf generated by the fury of the Labor Day Hurricane (September 2nd, 1935).

Answer: The extension of the Florida East Coast Railway from Miami to Key West.

Posted at 06:00 AM on January 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How did Carl Fisher greatly facilitate Miami's accessibility by automobile in the 1910s?


Carl Fisher's close association with automobiles and their use as an increasingly popular means of transportation goes back to his invention of the "Presto Lite,” the first practical headlight for cars. So successful was this night vision enhancement that these lights came to be installed in almost every American car. Ever the promoter, even before he came to Miami in 1912, Fisher expounded on the possibilities of a continuous interstate highway extending from San Francisco to New York. Able to get most of the automakers of the time to contribute toward such a project, Fisher succeeded in raising 10 million dollars, and what became known as the Lincoln Highway completed by 1915.

Once established in Miami, Fisher began to conceive of a similar project running from North to South, with Miami as its southern terminus. And so, Dixie Highway was born. It eventually covered some 4,000 miles from Sault Saint Marie (located in northern Michigan near the Canadian border) through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and into Florida. In October 1915, a procession of automobiles known as the Dixie Highway Pathfinders, inaugurated the interstate for which they were named, by arriving in Miami, crossing under the specially raised Buena Vista Arch near NE 40th Street and 2nd Avenue.

Answer: He was the driving force in the creation of Dixie Highway.

Posted at 06:00 AM on January 6, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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