John Clayton Gifford.

The Everglades and other essays relating to southern Florida online

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Gifford, John Clayton



The Everglades



Kansas City: Everglade



1911



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CHfford, John Clayton

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The Everglades



AND



Other Essays Relating



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BY



JOHN GIFFORD, D. OEc.

Formerly Assistant Professor of
Forestry. Cornell University. Author
of "Practical Forestry," etc.



Published by tbe

EVERGLADE LAND SALES CO.
KANSAS CITY. MO.



ELORIOA STATE UtItHAKY



- ^'



COPYRIGHT. 1911

BY

EVERGLADE LAND SALES CO.









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DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY




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of

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE BROWARD








the









"FATHER OF THE EVERGLADE DRAINAGE PROJECT"




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^ CONTENTS.

\ CHAPTER I. PAGE

The Everglades of Florida and the Landes of France. From Con-
servation. 1909 1

A Tribute to Broward. From the Atlanta Georgian 12

CHAPTER II.
Southern Florida. Forestry and Irrigation, 1904 13

' CHAPTER III.
Trees as an Aid to Drainage. From the Spanish, in La Hacienda 21

CHAPTER IV.
The Coco Palm. Garden Magazine, 1910 27

CHAPTER V.
The Lime and the Sapodilla. Garden Magazine, 1910 33

CHAPTER VI.
The Banana and the Papaw. Garden Magazine, 1910 38

CHAPTER VII.
What Will Grow in the Everglades. Everglade Magazine 42

CHAPTER VIII.
Valuable Trees for the Everglades. Everglade Magazine 48

CHAPTER IX.
Some Common Florida Plants. Everglade Magazine 52

CHAPTER X.
Vines for Everglade Planting. Everglade Magazine 56

CHAPTER XI.
Mahogany in South Florida and the West Indies. Woodcraft, 1909.. 60

/■ CHAPTER XII.
Bungalow Construction in South Florida. Everglade Magazine 83

CHAPTER XIII.
The Everglades of Florida. Southland Magazine 95

CHAPTER XIV.
The Problem of Growing Pineapples for ^lixvViQi. Garden Magazine . . 104

CHAPTER XV.
The Mango, the Best of All the Tropical Fruits. Garden Magazine .. . 109

APPENDIX.
A List of the Trees of South Florida, Native and Introduced 114



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

Views of Arcachon in France on the Bay of Biscay and Miami, Flor-
ida, on Biscayne Bay Frontispiece

Natives of the Landes of France 2

A Scene in the Landes before Drainage 3

Tapping a Pine for Resin in the Landes of France 6

Indian Family in Canoes on the Miami River 8

A Cypress Island in the Everglades 9

On the Beach at Cape Florida 26

Coco-Palm Grove on the Keys 26

A Camphor Tree 31

Picking Sapodillas ^^

A Lime Tree on Elliott's Key 32

A Papaw Tree in Full Fruit ^^

State Canal in the Everglades 44

In the Hammock on Key Largo 59

In the Mangrove Swamp 76

A Cool Tile Covered Bungalow 82

A Shingled Bungalow 82

A Cuban Country House in the Tobacco District of Pinar del Rio... 84

A Cuban Bohio 85

Type of Inexpensive Bungalow Suited to the Climate of South Florida 86

A Patio Floor Plan 87

A Cistern Plan 88

Floor Plan of Flat Roofed Unit House 89

Side View of Flat Roofed Unit House 90

Plan of a Strong, Attractive l-'once : 91

A House for Poultry 92

Two Views of Unit House in Process of Construction 94

A Scene in the Pineland, a Rock Road and a Rock Fence 99

A Scene in Egypt where Flat Roofed Houses Prevail 100

A F'ield of Pineapples on the East Coast of Florida 103

Sundersha Mango Tree 108

A Rubber Tree.(F?V/<j aurca), in I'lorida. on the South Side of the

Miami River 113

West Indian Almond Trees Bent by the W ind 114

An Avenue of West Indian Almond Trees 115

A Mahoganv Tree in tiie F>ahamas 116

The Live Oak 117

Seminole Indians Coming to Miami with X'enison and Skins 118

A Branch of the Candlenut Tree 120

A Mastic Tree in the Hammock 121

A Cedrela Tree 124

A Rubber Killing a Coco Palm 126

A Piece of Reclaimed Land in Holland 130



PREFACE.

I have been writing on the subject of the Everglades and
South Florida in general since 1904 in various magazines. Re-
(juests for this literature have come to me from time to time and
in ever-increasing number until my reprints are exhausted. Tt
is impossible to answer all the letters which come to me request-
ing information in reference to this region. Friends have sug-
gested many times that I collect some of these articles into book
form. This I have attempted to do in the following volume. I
am well aware that as a book it has many shortcomings and,
owing to the fact that it contains articles hastily written at odd
times and for different purposes, there is considerable repetition
and perhaps even contradiction. If, however, it succeeds in
arousing interest in this great Everglade drainage project and
offers helpful suggestions to newcomers, its mission will have
been fulfilled, and its author and publisher will be satisfied. I
wish to thank the various magazines for permission to copy these
articles and the Everglade Land Sales Company for assuming
the burden of publication. •

John Gifford.

Coconut Grove. Florida, 1911.




ARCACHOX — OX THi: BAY OF BISCAY. A GREAT RESORT WHICH DEVELOPED
AFTER THE RECLAMATION OF THE LANDES OF FRANCE, CORRESPONDING TO
MIAMI, ON BISCAYNE BAY, WHICH WILL DEVELOP IN A SIMILAR WAY WHEN
THE EVERGLADES ARE DRAINED.




FroDi Conscrz'at'wn, 1909.



TMie E\ cnrhules



AND



Southern Florida



CHAPTER I.




THE JA'ERliLADES OF FLORIDA AXD THE LAXDES

OF FRAXCE.

L'RIXG a "recent visit to the great work of
reclamation now in progress in the Everglades
of Florida, I was impressed with its resem-
l)lance in many respects to the great work the
I-'rench have accomplished in the Landes of
France, and with the fact that ex-Governor
Ih-oward. after many trials and tribulations, is
succeeding, just as did the French engineers
after similar troubles. This also applies to the work of Enrico
Dalgas in the reclamation of the Heathland of Denmark.

The drainage of the Everglades is now well under way, and
almost every un])rcju(liced person who visits this work becomes
an enthusiastic convert. Just as the French engineers prac-
tically added a new ])rovince to France, Broward has been instru-
m^.ital in promoting a work which will convert a vast, useless
waste into what promises to be the most productive part of
Florida, if not the most productive area of land of equal size in
the whole United States of America. Tliis drainage is being done
at the insignificant cost of about $1 per acre; and when done the
land will be ready at once for the plow and for the production
of tender crops, the like of which cannot be produced else-
wliere in the United States, and at a time when the rest of the
country is frost-bound. This is no small area; it is many miles
in extent, and is capable of yielding, at small outlay, enormous
creeps of the most delicate tropical products, as well as X'orthern

1



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I'rt'nrli liaw arct »nii)li>lH'(l ni tlu' Landes ui
I'raiuw and with tlu- fact tliat cx-G<>vernor
r.ioward. after main trials and trihnlati* )n^. is
-nccccdinj.^. ju-l a- did the hrench en^dneers
after similar lr(•nl)le-^. Thi^ aKo applie- t" the w^rk <>t l-,nric<»
I )al.'^a-> in tlu- reclamation ..f ilie I leathland of 1 )eninark.

rile draina.ije of the l".\-ei-.i4lade-> i-^ now well nivler way. and
alniovi c'\"er\ nn])reiiidiced ])er^on who \ivit- thi- work hecoines
an enthn'>ia - tic coinert. lu^t a> the hrench engineer- prac-
ticalh' added a new ]tro\inc(,' to hrance. lirowartl ha>- heeii in^trn-
iriv..i;.] in proindtini; a work which will coinert a \a>t. n->eless
wa-te into what ])ronii^e-> to be the nio->t pro<iiiclive i)art of
Idorida. if not tlu- nio^i productixc area of land of e(|nal ^ize in
tlu' whole I'nited State- of .\inerica. Thi- drainage i- ht'inj.^ done
at the invi^nilieant co-t of ahout SI per acre; and w ln-n done the
land will he read\ at once for the pl( .w and for the ])ro(lnction
of tender crop-, ilu' like of which cannot he ])ro(lnce(l eKe-
where in the Tinted ."^tate-. and at a time when the re-t oi the



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in extent, and i- capable of yieldin.i;. at -mall outlaw enornion-
cr<ip- of the nio-t delicate tropical priKlnct-. a- well a- .\(>rthern



1



THE EX'ERGLADES

vegetables, in midwinter. A visit to this region, even at this
time (May, IW^), at the very beginning of the work, since it is a
colossal task, will convince the most skeptical person that this
is no idle dream or wild land scheme, but a feasible, practical
piece of good business. After inspecting this work, one naturally
wonders why it was not done long ago. It is not a complex
engineering i)r()blem ; it is merely a matter of digging, so that




NATIVF.S OF THK I.AXDKS OF FKA.\( K.

UV DKAIXAGK.



A KFXIOX KF.CLAI.MED



the water in this great Everglade basin can flow into the sea.
Behind the giant maws of these dredges which, when they work
day and niglit. are literally eating their way thnnigh rock, mud



AXD SOUTHERN FLORIDA

and sand at the rate of a mile a month per dredge, there are left
broad, navigaljle canals, which are comparable only to those of
Holland, and which will afford miles of placid water courses,
avenues of traffic for the products of the land, and a never-
ending source of enjoyment to pleasure craft.

In the case of the Everglades, the exit of the water to the
sea is prevented by a hmestone rim. In the case of the Landes
it was due to a bank of wind-blown sand, which clogged all out-
lets to the sea. The resemblance of the two conditions is much
closer than is at first api)arent, since this very rock rim was




A SCEXr: IX THK I.AXDKS of FKAXCK HKFOKE KECLA.MATIOX. the NATIVES
WALK AFOIT OX STILTS. (PHOTO OF AX JLLLSTRATIOX IX AX OLD FREXCH
GEOGRAPHY. )

once, no doubt, limestone sand blown in by the wind and later
hardened into rock. I think geologists now generally recognize
that this rocky rim is of eolian formation. The main diff'erence
between the two propositions is that, in the case of the Landes,
it was silicious sand, which (h<l not liarden into rock, but re-



3



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IS no idle dream or wild land >.eh



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er ni>pectni.i^ this work, one naturally



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.1)1



It



IS not a Complex



en«4ineeriniLj pmhlem ; n is merely a matter ot di^'.^in



S()



that




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and sand at the rate (.f a mile a m* iiith per dredge, there are



left



hroad. navi,i^al)le canals, which are com])aral)le only to those of
llolland. and which will afford miles of placid water courses,
f trafhc for tlie ])rodiicts of the land, and a never-



avenues o



•ratt.



endinjj[ source ot eni(.yment to ])leasure c

In the case of the hA-er,L,^lades. the e.xit of tiie water to the
sea is ])re\(.nted h\ a limestone rim. In the case of the Landes
hie to a hank <.f wind-hlown sand, which clo|<}<ed all ( .ut-



it was (



lets t(. the sea. The resemhlance (.f the tw(» conditions is much
closer than is at first ai.j.arent. sinee^ this \cry rock rim was




A XKNI l\ Till I.WI.l
W .\I.K \ln| T (i\ -•ill.
<,l-.n<,K \l'll N . I



(i| I K \ N(



III I- 1.:



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once. nt. d-.uhi. Iime-t«.ne <aiid l.lowii in ])\ the wind and later
hardeiiecl iiitd roek. I think ^x-oli .j^i-i- now -cnerallx rec(.,^nize
that thi- i-mc]<\ rim i- ,>\ rolian formation. file main dillereiice
hetweeii the two jiioj k i-iti( iiis is that, in tile cas^- oi tlie Landes,



It was -ilieious san(|. which (



hd Hot hartjeii mlo rock.



Jiit re-



THE EVERGLADES

mained mobile, shifting back and forth with every caprice of
the wind, while, in the case of the Everglades rim, it was lime-
stone sand, which soon hardened into solid limestone rock. As
in sand dunes, the wind laminations show in the rock like leaves
in a book, recording forever the character of its formation.
Some distance up the Coast, in tlie great pineapple district of
Eden and Jensen, the obstructing dune consists of silicious sand.
Southward the rim is not pure limestone in every instance but a
calcareous sandstone, that is, granules of silicious sand cemented
together with lime.

Before further describing the Everglades, let me quote from
my notes made a few years ago, while visiting the Landes of
France Xot only are the physical conditions similar, but there
was the same opposition at the start. As in the case of the
Everglades, the work in France was pushed by the personal
initiative and persistency of one or two men, and the method of
securing the funds for the purpose was very much the same. In
the early part of the last century (before 1837), the condition of
the flat, triangular plain known as the Landes, which is roughly
bounded by the liay of Biscay, the River Adour and the River
Garonne, and the Medoc, was, in brief, as follows: There were
miles of marshy, almost treeless wastes, covered mainly with a
low growth of herbage. It was wet, unhealthy and sparsely
inhabited. The few people who lived there depended upon their
flocks. The accompanying picture shows a native of the Landes
standing upon stilts, watching his sheep. He is dressed in a
heavy sheepskin paletot. By standing on stilts, these shepherds
can easily see their sheep in the bushes and grass, and can easily
follow them through wet and marshy regions. Their spare time
is spent in knitting stockings. The condition of the Landes is
due to the immense sand dunes, which arrayed themselves along
the shore of the Bay of Biscay. They moved inland, covered
villages and occluded inlets. Bremontier tells of a dune which
advanced in a violent tempest at the rate of two feet in three
hours. The damage done by these moving sands so increased
that the government officials studied the work and devised and
executed plans; and now. thanks to De \^illers. Chambrelent and



AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA

Bremontier, the pioneer workers, the Dunes and Landes are cov-
ered with a beautiful growth of the maritime pine. The region
is now a famous health resort, combining the beauties and pleas-
ures of the seashore w^ith those of a well-managed pine forest,
which extends almost to the edge of the ocean.

There are evidences that originally the Dunes were fixed
naturally by forests. These forests were destroyed, by vandals,
and all attempts to stop these menacing mountains of sand
failed. In 1778 a talented engineer, Baron Charlevoix de Villers,
was sent to Arcachon for the purpose of forming a military post.
He saw at once the necessity of fixing the sand, and was, accord-
ing to Grandjean, the first 'to establish the fact that the way to
fix the Dunes is by means of plantations of pine. He met wath
troubles in his work, and was finally sent back to the Island
of Santo Domingo.

In 1784, Bremontier began the work, and it is said that, by
using the results of De \'illers' lal)ors, he finally succeeded in
fixing the moving sand.

The fixation of the Dunes rendered possible the work of M.
Chambrelent, which was the reclamation of the Landes by drain-
age and plantings. It is a unique example of personal initia-
tive. ]M. Chambrelent, a young engineer in the Department of
Bridges and Roads, in 1837, was sent to the Gironde to study
the drainage of 800,000 hectares of land in the districts of Gas-
cony and the Landes. His conclusions were not accepted, so he
bought some land and put in effect the measures he advocated.
In 1855, the results of his experiments were submitted to an
international jury. The jury was so favorably impressed that
it recommended the application of Chambrelent's plans for the
entire region, and in 1857 a law^ was passed requiring the Com-
munes to do this work. The Communes paid for it by selling a
part of this land, which increased in value after the completion
of the work. This region was 100 meters above sea level, flat
and sandy. It was underlain with a hard-pan called "alios." In
summer it was a bed of burning sand, in winter in a state of
constant inundation, while between the tw^o was a period of pes-
tilence. The country was characterized by sterility and
insalubrity.

5




TAPPING A PINE FOR RF.SIX IX THE LAXDES OF FRAXCE. XOTE THE CUPS TO

CATCH THE PITCH.



AXl) SOUTIiERX FLORIDA

A complete system of drain ditches was dug and the seeds of
pine were sown. In 1805 all works of drainage were complete.
By the fixation of the Dunes and the drainage of the Landes
650,000 hectares of land were made ])roductive. Formerly, if
one wished to huy land he mounted a hill and called in a loud
voice ; the land over which his voice carried was worth 25 francs.
"A man," says Grandjean, "was forced to take some of this sand
for a debt. lie became a millionaire later by selling it in small
parcels." The first summers, the visitors lived in the resin-
gatherers' cabins; now every luxury is aft'orded the 200,000
tourists who come there every year. In the Landes a man could
buy a farm for a few francs, l)Ut it required over two acres to
support one sheep. In less than a century the population sex-
tuplcd, while that of a large i)art of the rest of the country
either remained stationary or decreased. The fecundity of the
French in places where tliere is i)lenty of room and opportunity
is proverbial, as in Canada : it is even so in the Landes, which,
on being reclaimed, was equivalent to a new province or colony.

All along the I^ast Coast of Florida tliere are dunes of snow-
white sand covered with scrub pines and palmettoes. This fine,
white. silici(jus sand, although naturally sterile, is excellent for
the growth of pineapi)les in regions where there is sufficient
warmth. Mile after mile of this sand along the line of the rail-
road l)etween the Everglades and the sea is used in the cultiva-
tion of ]Mneapi)les, which are fed a balanced ration of fertilizer,
just as cows are fed a l)alanced ration of feed for the produc-
tion of high-grade milk.

The great iuerglades ])asin. extending from Lake Okeecho*
bee to Miami and westward to the Gulf of Mexico, contains
3,000,000 acres, more or less. The whole cultivated area of the
State of Florida is estimated at only about a million acres. The
Everglades are larger than Porto Rico or Jamaica and as biij
as Rhode Island and Delaware combined. This great area is
mainly confined by dunes of sand and ridges of limestone rock.
These ridges, like fingers, project into the Everglades and are
usually covered with pine. Between these ridges are small glades
on the edge of the main or "big glade." The accepted definition

7



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TAl'l'INi; A I'lM Fdk kl>l\ l\ THI I.WDK.S III - Hv'\N(i:. \oTK THK (IP

t \T( H Tin: I'lTi H.



T(l



AM) SOL T1II:K\ |-L()KI1).-



A complete ^y^toni of drain dilrlu'^ wa-^ diii^ and tlic >ccds of
pine were >o\\ii. In ]Sf>3 all \\ork> of drainaj^e were complete.



ranias^e ot the



iid



mdes



iiy the lixalion of the 1 )une> and the d

650.0').') hectare > ot land were ma<le i)rodnctive. l-'ormerly. if

one wished to hn\ land he mount



ed a ni



and ca



lied



ni a



loiid



voice; the lan<l o\er wiiich hi-^ Noice cai-i'ied was worth 2? fran



ics.



A man, ' s.iy-^ < irandjean. "wa- f.irced to take ^ome of thi^ >and



lor a <leht.



II



e became a nnili<.naire later 1»\ ■-(.•Hun. it m -mal


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Online LibraryJohn Clayton GiffordThe Everglades and other essays relating to southern Florida → online text (page 1 of 13)