I love this old photograph. I would think it must have been taken sometime between 1916 and 1925 when the Everglades Drainage District was constructing or repairing, (1924), the St. Lucie Canal. Yes, the lonely little house in the wildlands of a slash pine forest saw the the construction of the canal, the lock and spillway, the first locktenders, some wicked storms like the hurricane of 1928 causing the Army Corps of Engineers by 1930 to take over management of both Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Canal. In 1937 the canal was rededicated as the “Cross State Canal, or Okeechobee Waterway.” It was deepened and widened for higher discharges and for more yacht traffic. By 1941 the St. Lucie Lock and Spillway was replaced as part of this expansion and the southern banks were drastically cut in the direction of the little locktender’s house. I can imagine the stories this little house would tell! Today we don’t have the little house, but we have the next best thing, my little brother!
Watch Todd tell the remarkable history of replacing the lock and spillway and the location of the original locktender’s house throughout the canal’s changes. Todd brilliantly uses historic aerials and images juxtaposed to Google Maps some shared by my mother Sandra Thurlow.
~The site plan: “U.S. Engineer Office – Jacksonville, Florida. Sept. 1938… To Accompany Specifications June 27, 1939.
~The aerial photo with the locks under construction is dated 2/23/1940
~On Florida Memory the picture of the little house is titled cited “Locktenders house at St. Lucie Canal lock #2 in the Everglades Drainage District. 1913 (circa). State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
~1940 Aerials, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
~Dr. Gary Goforth, 2014 History of the St. Lucie Canal
2024 will be the 100 year anniversary of the St. Lucie Canal…