from the stones to which they cling. The stems, widely known in
South America as goitre-sticks, are often employed for the cure of
goitre. It is eaten in China and used in salads and as a pickle in other
parts of the East.
112 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
The sweeping, circular currents of the North Atlantic Ocean
form a vast eddy which gathers this weed into its vortex in such
quantities that early navigators thought it hindered the progress of
their ships. Discovered and named the Mar de Sargaco, by Columbus
on his first voyage it has, since then, become known as the Sargasso
Sea, the locale for numerous legends and weird tales. Alive and
crawling with sea life, it has been credited with the power of drawing
ships and men to realms of darkness and fates fraught with unknown
ONLY a narrow strip along the coastal line of the lower Florida
peninsula was known and explored when Dade County was
created. Half a century later this vast back country called
the Everglades was still an untamed waste. The United States Army
had combed the Big Cypress and land between the Caloosahatchee
River and the lower east coast during the Seminole Wars. In April
1856, from the sketches of these reconnaissances the Secretary of
War, Jefferson Davis, issued a military map of the peninsula of Florida
south of Tampa, Bay. For years this map remained the only existing
guide to the interior.
In 1892 the Flagler and Plant railroad interests combined to
make a survey across the Everglades. The party set out from Fort
Myers and, working their way eastward, discarded supplies and equip-
ment as they left the waterways of the western swamp and entered
the grass-covered Everglades. Half -starved, weakened, and unkempt,
they finally reached Miami, making the 150-mile journey in about
three weeks. The railroads evinced no further interest in the 'Glades
and they remained undisturbed for almost a quarter century.
Meanwhile, Everglades drainage became an actuality. Thousands
of acres near Lake Okeechobee were drained and were producing
phenomenal crops. Men foresaw the same benefits accruing to land-
holders in the lower Everglades.
In addition, thousands of tourists attracted to the lower west
coast were obliged to return by the same route they had used to
reach their objectives. Civic leaders believed that a road across the
Everglades would not only prove an attraction in itself but would
draw west coast visitors to Miami.
Various groups have been credited with the origin of the
Tamiami Trail, foremost among them being the late Captain James
F. Jaudon, of Miami, who was associated with the project from its
inception to its completion. A Writers' Press Association release
dated November 2, 1926, describes Jaudon as a pioneer in the develop-
ment of Dade County and an expert on good roads.
The Tampa-Fort Myers road was already in existence. The idea
for a road from Fort Myers to Miami originated in 1915 during a
meeting of Jaudon and Francis W. Perry, president of the Fort
Myers Chamber of Commerce, at Tallahassee. In that year road
114 MIAMI AND DADE COUNTY
building was uppermost in the public mind. The Dixie Highway
Association, meeting in Chattanooga May 20, to determine the route
of a proposed road from Chicago to Miami, defeated a plan to have
it run through the center of Florida. The defeated faction imme-
diately formed the Central Florida Highway Association which met
at Orlando the next month and pledged support to a program that
included the Fort Myers-Miami Road.
At the request of the Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Dade
County Commission furnished the services of an engineer in making
the preliminary survey. Later the county created the Miami Marco
Road and Canal Commission consisting of Captain Jaudon, L. T.
Highleyman, and R. E. McDonald, who appeared before the trustees
of the Internal Improvement Fund at Tallahassee to request the
creation of a special road and bridge district in order to issue bonds
for the construction of the proposed Trail.
The county advertised for bids early in 1916 but none were
received. The county, thereupon, made another survey of the 37/4
miles of road extending to the Lee County line.
Meanwhile, newspapers in both Lee and Dade counties had en-
dorsed the project and given it wide publicity. On July 16, 1916,
Dade County floated a $275,000 bond issue and awarded a contract
for the road. A paving company began the work on a sub-contract,
but encountered difficulties and could not complete its contract.
Although the county amended the original contract several times and
issued additional bonds to provide funds, the road to the Lee County
line was no more than a rough trail. Beyond that, the road was
even worse, for Lee County was no more successful than Dade.
The first trouble arose from advancing labor costs brought on
by the World War. The greatest problems, however, were of an
engineering nature. Originally the contractors attempted to lay a
rock fill directly over the Everglades muck to make the roadbed.
This did not remain usable and gradually disappeared into the mud.
It became apparent that the muck would have to be removed
and a bed built up from the underlying rock formation. This re-
quired a dredge, a canal in which to float it, and plenty of rock.
The latter lay in great quantities beneath the muck and could be had
by blasting which, in turn, would create the needed canal.
This expensive solution did not end the difficulties. About
twelve miles out, and extending for many miles beyond, was an ex-
pansive stratum of flinty rock which required special equipment to
work. Furthermore, during long dry seasons, water in the canal
sank so low that the dredge was often stranded.
In 1919 it became evident that Lee County, having 121 miles
T A M I A M I TRAIL 115
to build, would be financially unable to complete the portion of the
Trail within its borders. The Chevalier Corporation, a land company
organized by Jaudon in 1917, and owner of extensive acreage in
Monroe County, offered to build a link in the Trail to dedicate it
for public use if Lee and Dade Counties would route the Trail
through the company holdings. The proposal was accepted but
actual construction did not begin until 1921.
In the beginning all labor, supplies, and equipment had to be
transported to the west coast and worked up the numerous creeks in
that area to a location near the new route. It took so long for the
engineers in charge to communicate with their home office at Miami
that radio apparatus for sending and receiving messages was in-
About this time Barron G. Collier, best known for his street-
car advertising enterprise, began buying land in Lee County. In
1923, when the State legislature cut off the southern part of Lee
County to create Collier County, Barron Collier owned most of its
Almost immediately, contention arose over the change that had
been made in the route of the Trail. Sponsors of the new county
clamored for the original route which would take the highway out of
Monroe County and the holdings of the Chevalier Corporation, which
had done considerable work on its part of the Trail.
Two years later the Tamiami Trail was made part of the State
highway system and the State Road Department abandoned the
Monroe County route. The Chevalier people, and Monroe and Dade
Counties protested the change claiming that the corporation was
faithfully performing its part of a formal contract. The State at
last accepted the road as the "South Loop" and on an official road
map of Florida, published 1936, it appears as State Highway No. 27.
On other road maps, this section of the road is marked "closed."
Under State control, work progressed rapidly. The first con-
tract issued by the State was signed August 23, 1925, and the Trail
was opened to the public on April 20, 1928. The total cost, from
Fort Myers to Miami, was $7,000,000.
Completed, this 3o-foot highway across the Everglades represents
twelve years of man-killing labor. Men worked waist-deep in
snake-infested sloughs for months building a crude cypress-log road-
way to support the heavy drilling machinery. More than once the
treacherous mud oozed away and the iron monster disappeared into
the depths of the mire.
Crews of grimy men toiled in the midst of an unbroken desola-
tion. Every now and then the silence was broken by a roar of ex-
116 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
ploding dynamite and the sodden men rested for a moment while
a geyser of black mud rose skyward, scattered, and dropped on the
sawgrass that hemmed them in.
Over it all hung a peculiar blue haze and, in the summer, a
gripping heat, characteristic of the inner 'Glades. Near each gang
of men a sharp-eyed guard, armed with a shot gun, was posted to
kill the poisonous snakes that infested the region. Farther west, in
Collier County, other armed men in lookout towers, watched the
convict labor used on part of the road.
One contractor declared that three M's built the Trail: men,
money, and machinery. Another observer declared that the three M's
might equally stand for muck, misery, and moccasins.
Today the Trail is noted, not for its greatness nor its cost,
but for the fact that it has opened the once "impregnable" and
still mysterious Everglades, a vast area unlike any other in the
From Miami westward, the swamps become increasingly dense
and the habitations correspondingly fewer. Signs of human life
gradually disappear until little is left except an occasional fisherman
trying his luck in the canal that borders the north side of the Trail.
Farther on, wild life comes into its own. Lethargic snakes slither
across the road; fish leap, silver-bright, from the sluggish water, and
huge turtles, some green, some brown, lazily sun themselves on rocks
just above the water's edge. A duck, surrounded by her young, drifts
slowly along, her wary eyes scanning bank and sky for enemies;
rarely, an alligator barks in the distance.
The number of water plants increases as the trail proceeds
westward. The spiked heads of cat-tails, blue and purple flags, and
yellow dog lilies are abundant. The airy, white, three-petaled blos-
soms of the spider lilies resemble butterflies poised for flight. Every-
where the water hyacinths rear their small, dark blue blossoms midst
stiff, upright leaves, polished like green arrowheads.
Westward the Trail passes through stretches of stunted cypress,
diminutive trees with whitish bark and delicate, bright-green foliage.
Beneath them great, grotesque roots rise like gnarled, conical pedestals
from the rank swamp grass. The landscape is that of the African
As the Trail enters the Big Cypress country, the trees are larger
and burdened with dark air-plants or Tillandsias. Airy and graceful
in great live oak trees in the hammocks, these air-pines appear
heavy and cumbersome when attached to the sparsely branched young
cypress trees. Now and then, tropical birds swoop across the high-
T A M I A M I TRAIL 117
way. Far in the distance heron or ibis swirl like white moths above
the gray skeletons of dead forest trees.
Strung across the State, close to the Trail, are six or eight Indian
villages, more or less pretentious, with oddly worded signs to catch
the tourist eye. As indicated by such signs as "Chestnut Billy Indian
Village" or "Corey Osceola Indian Village" these camps are usually
named for the head man of the camp.
MIAMI POINTS OF INTEREST
A DIFFERENT view and a more leisurely inspection of Miami's
environs are afforded by sightseeing boat trips. In addition to
those following set routes, a glass-bottom boat and several
speedboats may be chartered or will take passengers who are allowed
to choose their own course.
From the water the angularity of Miami's tall buildings com-
bines with the fringed silhouette of the palms to form an unusual sky-
line. The landscaped estates on their flat little islands contrast
with the white beaches and the undeveloped keys.
Virginia Key Miami River Millionaires' Row Indian Village.
20 miles. Approximately 3 hours. Fare $i. Admission to village
2JC. Boats leave Piers 6 and 7, City Yacht Basin, NE. 3rd St., 10 a.m.
and 2 p.m. daily Dec. through Apr.; 2 p.m. only other months.
As the steamer leaves the yacht basin professional musicians
play a gay tune and a lecturer begins calling attention to various
points of interest.
Across the bay to the L. is VIRGINIA KEY, a barren island
like the land on which Miami Beach is built. Virginia Key is the
most northerly of the Florida Keys, a long chain of low, coral islands
that stretch along the coast from Miami to Key West. The upper
keys are for the most part impenetrable mangrove jungles; on the
lower keys are lime groves. The adjacent waters are good fishing
U. S. COAST GUARD CUTTERS are usually moored at the
City Yacht basin docks awaiting emergency calls.
The boat turns into Miami River; this sluggish stream, only 5.7
m. long, is navigable all the way to its source in the Everglades.
Where the Seminole once poled his dugout between banks lined with
luxuriant vegetation are now cluttered fish markets, unkempt house-
boats, oil tanks, and partially sunken rotting hulks a cross section
of river life more interesting than pleasant to see or to smell.
On the southern shore (L) at the mouth of the river is
BRICKELL POINT where the Brickell family, Miami pioneers,
still live. They built their home about 1872 and maintained one of
the early trading posts.
122 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
At S. E. Sixth St. is the FOGAL BOAT YARD (L) with four
dry docks capable of handling craft from a rowboat to a vessel of
1,000 tons or a length of 170 ft.
Just E. of the S. W. 2nd Ave. bridge on a two and one-half
acre plot, is the CITY CURB MARKET (R). Vegetables, tropi-
cal fruits and flowers, fish, poultry and produce are sold in its roofed
Opposite N. W. ist St. from August to May is moored the
ANTONDOHRN, a boat maintained by the Carnegie Institution of
Washington, for scientific exploration. Each May it leaves on a
three months' trip for exploration and study of marine life in the
Gulf of Mexico.
On the shore (R) just E. of the N. W. iith Ave. bridge is the
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMS BORDER PA-
TROL and the garage for storage and service of patrol automobiles.
Just W. of the N. W. 12th Ave. bridge on the north shore is
the MERRILL-STEVENS PLANT (R), the largest covered dry-
dock yacht basin in the South. Two marine railways elevate boats
from the river. Eighty average-sized yachts can be accommodated
for storage in this basin.
Bordering the south bank of the river above the N. W. i/th
Ave. bridge are estates of some of Miami's pioneers and other promi-
nent families. These have spacious landscaped lawns sloping down
to the bulkheads at the water's edge. On the COLONEL LAW-
RENCE ESTATE is a banyan tree that has grown around the sus-
pended rims of two coach wheels.
PIRATE'S COVE COPPINGER'S TROPICAL GARDENS,
(L) is just beyond (entrance from land). This inlet was once the
hiding place of pirates, hence the name Pirate's Cove Indian Village,
given to the Seminole camp that has occupied this place for nearly
half a century. A trading post here was the first and largest in
Florida, and was the home of the late chief, Jack Tiger Tail.
Biscayne Bay Sunset and Surprise Lakes Indian Creek Isle of
Normandy. 30 miles. Approximately 4 hours. Fare $i. Boats leave
Pier 6, City Yacht Basin, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily Dec. -Jan.; 10 a.m.,
1:30 and 4 p.m. Feb.-Mch.; 2 p.m. other months.
As the boat leaves the City Yacht Basin the guide points out the
MUNICIPAL STEAMSHIP DOCKS (L) where are ocean steam-
ships of the Clyde-Mallory, Merchants and Miners, Peninsular and
Occidental, Clark, Bull, and other lines.
The boat passes through the west drawbridge of the COUNTY
BOAT TRIPS 123
CAUSEWAY, to reach the north side of the bay. The causeway,
approximately 3 miles in length and toll free, connects N. E. i}th.
St. in Miami with 5th. St. in Miami Beach. Dock space is provided
at the first bend for five large yachts. Bridges under which the
specially designed low built Nikko sails afford access to Palm,
Hibiscus and Star Islands.
PALM ISLAND and HIBISCUS ISLAND (L) on either side of
this channel were both made by sediment pumped from the bay.
Among the estates on Palm Island is that of Al Capone; around it
dense foliage lines the inside of a high stone wall.
The route crosses a water course for boat races locally called
"the speedway." It was on this course that Gar Wood, designer and
driver of speedboats, competed with Captain Seagrave of England in
the 1929 international races.
As the boat approaches the entrance to COLLINS CANAL (R)
it circles part way around BELLE ISLE, so that passengers may
glimpse its palatial homes.
Past the VENETIAN CAUSEWAY BRIDGE, the boat turns E.
skirting Sunset Islands. These four islands, products of boom days,
were landscaped before being put on the market in the spring in
1936. On the shores are windbreaks of tall Australian pines which
obstruct a view of the islands from the water. The homes on these
islands are nearly all being built on a lavish scale; many of them are
designed in the ultra-modern style of architecture.
The boat continues N., turning east through the channel be-
tween La Gorce Island and Normandy Isle, (R) into Indian Creek,
an artificial water course with white bulkheads, past Allison Island
on the Southern end of which is St. Francis Hospital, a Catholic in-
stitution specializing in sun therapy. The buildings are in the midst
ot landscaped grounds that slope down to a private yacht dock.
Continuing S. on Indian Creek to 4ist. St., the boat passes the
home of many wealthy winter residents amid crimson hibiscus, purple
bougainvillea, pink and white oleanders and graceful palms.
Retracing the route to Flamingo Waterway, the boat enters the
waterway (L) proceeds through Surprise Lake to Biscayne Waterway
from which it turns S. into the bay; past palatial estates, it continues
through Sunset Lake which lies between Miami Beach and Sunset
Islands. At the lower end of Sunset Lake the boat turns west, passes
the Venetian Islands and to its pier in the City Yacht basin.
Government Cut and Coral Reefs. 5 miles. Approximately 3 1 / 2
124 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
hours. Fare $i. Boats leave Piers 8 and 9^2, City Yacht Basin, 10
a.m. and 2 p.m. daily Dec. through Apr.; other months 2 p.m.
These cruises enable passengers to see the deep sea life of the
coral reefs in addition to the large estates of wealthy winter resi-
dents. Through the large plate glass are visible gaily colored species
of rare tropical fish as well as the varied coral formations and fans
and plumes of sea weeds that decorate the ocean's floor.
The Comrade II goes northeast across the bay, paralleling the
County Causeway and the palatial boats anchored there, to Govern-
On the S. extremity of Miami Beach and N. of Government
Cut (L) is the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT RESERVA-
TION (not open to the public}. Here are the administration build-
ing and offices of the resident division engineer, U. S. Army. At the
W. end of the grounds is a hangar housing two planes and a repair
and service department. The reservation functions as a base for
U.S. Engineers conducting harbor and waterway improvements.
On the south side of the cut on Fisher Island (R), is the
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT QUARANTINE STATION,
where health officers board all ships arriving from foreign ports for
To the north of the jetties directly on the ocean beach at the
PLANT OF THE MIAMI BEACH KENNEL CLUB (L) greyhounds
are raced nightly (Jan. -April ).
On and around the MILLION DOLLAR PIER (L) extending
600 ft. over the Atlantic are many games of chance and other
Between Biscayne and First Sts. on the ocean front, adjacent
to the pier, is one of the oldest bath and recreation establishments
on the beach. From this point N. to i5th St. the beach is planted
in coconut palms; its white sands are dotted with vari-colored um-
brellas and the bright costumes of the bathers.
Paralleling the beach is the municipally maintained LUMMUS
PARK (see Tour 5), named in honor of the first mayor of Miami
Beach. Sea grape trees fringe the ocean side and hedges of cropped
Australian pines line the inland.
About one mile off shore the boat stops over the reefs so that
the passengers may see the numerous forms of coral life, sea fan, sea
plume, brain, staghose, hand, mushroom and organ pipe corals.
On the return trip, after entering the bay, the boat turns N.
passing the Venetian Islands and along the palatial homes on the
bayside of Miami Beach.
The Mermaid covers practically the same trip. Instead of go-
Municipal Docks . . . Miami
Yacht Basin . . Miami
* *w ** * *
,, 6 5v
A Papaya Plant
Pan American Airways' Base and U. S- (
Office and Waiting Room . . . Pan American Airways
ard Station . . . Dinner Key . . . Miami
Shipping Baby Chicks by Air to South America
Bade County Tomato Field
Cultivating Pineapples in Miami Area
Farmers' Market . . . Miami
Pastures Under the Palms . . . Miami Area
BOAT TRIPS 125
ing through Government Cut, the boat goes southeast across the bay
and passes between Virginia and Biscayne Keys, undeveloped islands
south of Miami Beach.
This boat features a diver using a deep sea helmet that weighs
about 65 pounds above water, 5 pounds under water. All corals
picked up by the diver are given to the passengers as souvenirs.
FROM the air, above Miami, there is a memorable view of islands,
keys, bay, ocean and hinterland. Flights over Miami and Miami
Beach, the ocean, and the Everglades, can be made in a slowly
cruising dirigible or a speedy land plane.
Air Tour 1
Miami Beach, Biscayne Bay, and ocean shore.
THE GOODYEAR BLIMP (operates on a 2Q-minute schedule dur-
ing the winter season from the Dade County Causeway. Rates, $3 for
adults; $1.50 for children.)
Cruising in this dirigible at 50 miles an hour at an elevation
of 1,000 feet or lower, the motion is imperceptible.
From the blimp, the man-made islands in Biscayne Bay are pre-
cise little villages set in green glass, where toy boats ride at anchor.
On Miami Beach deep green hotel swimming pools are rimmed by
dots of bright umbrellas. The long dark ribbon of Indian Creek
cuts through the length of Miami Beach, and separates rows of doll-
like houses from green golf courses where Lilliputians swing willow
At the end of the Beach, sea gulls drift above the ship channel
of the Government Cut on Virginia Key. The key itself is covered
by typical Everglades jungle growth.
Over the ocean the blimp flies lower for a view of dark coral
rock formations on the ocean floor. Game fish can be seen scurrying
to shelter when the shadow of the blimp disturbs them.
Fisher's Island, the home of W. K. Vanderbilt, can be reached
only by water or by air. Every detail of the estate with its beauti-
fully landscaped grounds is visible from the windows of the blimp.
Between Fisher's Island and the mainland, the yellow, green,
gray and blue of the shallow bay contrasts with the deep green
of the dredged ship channel. The airship rides above these colors
lazily and rises above the sky-scrapers of the Miami skyline. It skirts
the edge of Bayfront Park before returning to the base on the
Air Tour 2
Coconut Grove, The Deering Estate, Pan American Airport,
Hialeah Park, Metropolitan Miami.
AIR TOURS 127
A charter trip of the GOODYEAR BLIMP of one hour, for sir pas-
sengers, forenoons $25.00 ; afternoons $50.00, if scheduled one day in
advance, from base on Dade County Causeway.
This tour follows the south shore.
Past Government Cut, rounding the Vanderbilt Estate, the
ship swings over Viscaya affording the only available view of the
Deering Estate and its formal gardens. Then over Coconut Grove,
and into a view* of the Pan American seaplane base in its setting
North from Coral Gables with its fluted roofs, is Hialeah Park
and a sweeping view of the famous race track. The blimp drops
low enough to startle the pink flamingos wading in the infield pool.
East of metropolitan Miami the ship starts to descend. The dome
of the court house sparkles in the sun. The hotels along the bay