-Everglades Drainage District Map 1914, Florida MemoryI love historic documents! In case you enjoy reading them too, I am sharing three that I have recently studied that come from the South Florida Water Management District’s archives – perhaps not “seen” since the 1940s, 50s or 60s.
The first two are very similar. These notebooks were compiled by the Everglades Drainage District, precursor of the South Florida Water Management District, to document and explain South Florida’s great physical and monetary losses due to the rains, flooding, storms, and hurricanes of 1947. Using the technology available of the day, I see these documents as a “local call for help” to the State of Florida and the U.S. Federal Government.
Starting around 1914, first, was the Everglades Drainage District; second, 1948, the Central and South Florida Flood Control District; and third, 1977, the South Florida Water Management District. Due to the photographs in these two reports, I believe they were precursors to the famed Crying Cow Report that inspired the Central and South Florida Project– what allows us to live here today -while trying to improve the project’s over-drainage and sometimes ecologically destructive side-effects.
I. BLACK NOTEBOOK #1
II. BLACK NOTEBOOK #2
Next, notebook #2, is very similar to #1, but more comprehensive. Please view link below to peruse this document that is noted as “tentative,” whereas number #1 is referred to as a”brief brochure hurriedly prepared.” This is also a large file and will be slow to open.
III. BOUND BROWN/ORANGE REPORT
Third, is a more modern looking report, not from the Everglades Drainage District, but compiled by Dr Gordon Gunters, written for the District Engineer of the Jacksonville Corps of Engineers. Dr Gunter was a Biological Consultant of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The bound report is entitled “Biological Investigations of St Lucie River Estuary in Connection with Lake Okeechobee Discharges Through St Lucie Canal, October 15, 1960” – replacing the orange report inside dated October 15, 1959.
Link to access below. Again slow to open.
I really enjoyed reading starting on page 2. As page 7 references the “Stuart News and St Lucie-Indian Rivers Restoration League,” I have to wonder if this is the report that in local Stuart history lore was so excitedly accomplished, but “then they walked away and nothing ever happened.” Well, thank God today things are happening and we are not relegated to notebooks!
* We create a better future, by understanding our past. Thus now these are “out there.” Thank you to Librarian Diaz at the SFWMD for helping me find these rare and interesting documents! Enjoy.