« PreviousContinue »
1855 organized by an act of the Legis- who were sufficiently acclimated to withlature a Board of Trustees for the Inter- stand the ravages of malaria and swamp nal Improvement Fund, consisting of the fever. Explorations were made, it is Governor, Comptroller, Treasurer, At- true, but they were generally unsatisfactorney General, and Commissioner of tory and unscientific and only served to Agriculture, in whom the title to these fix the idea of their apparently absolute lands was vested, and who were given worthlessness. It was generally considsupervision of them to carry out the con- ered impossible to reclaim them as they ditions of the grant.
were thought to be on the sea level and Of the millions of acres comprising the directly affected by the ocean tides. swamp and overflowed lands which be- Since the establishment of the trustees, came the property of the State as stated, the belief in the feasibility of drainage legislatures subsequently granted and has grown with every survey, and engitrustees have deeded to railroads and neering investigation and spasmodic efother corporations and to individuals, for forts have been made to effect a recla
mation of a portion of the area.
The most important effort
of this kind was that of the Taganager
Hamilton Disston company,
River to the Gulf.
munication through a distance of sixty-five miles from Lake Okechobee to the Caloos a hatchee valley and the Gulf. This passage was not successful,
for the immense volume of MAP OF FLORIDA, SHOWING EvergladE COUNTRY, AND Route of Pro
water from Lake OkechoPOSED CANALS THAT WILL DRAIN ITS SWAMPS.
bee, coming annually
through the canal during cash and internal improvements, a very the summer rainy season, overflowed large share, leaving only about three the banks of the Caloosahatchee River million acres now vested in the State. and flooded the lands along its course.
Before their grant to the State by the Although these operations were carried national government these lands figured on for fifteen years, and not abandoned only in story, and their actual occupation until 1896, it was not until 1902 that the as far as the Everglades were concerned, canal was closed again. This backed the was left to a few half-breeds and Indians water into the Okechobee region and the
A MOMENT'S REST.
mileage will not exceed five hundred. While these canals will carry off most of the water and will protect the surrounding country from overflows it is not expected that they will entirely drain the land,
. They will be numerous enough, however, to enable landowners, without too great expense, to cut lateral ditches into thiem,
thus completely reclaimKissimee Valley and it was reopened to ing the land and making it suitable for prevent damage in this direction.
cultivation and habitation. Since 1881, surveys have been made by The Trustees expect to operate, in corporation, state and national engineers completing these canals, six dredge from Lake Okechobee along the Kissim- boats with a dipper capacity of four and mee River, from Lake Okechobee to the one-half cubic yards, and capable of movGulf, and from Lake Okechobee to the ing six and one-half cubic yards of earth Atlantic. All of the makers of these sur- per minute. The crane or arm of the veys agree in the particular that Okecho- dredges will have a reach of sixty feet bee, the reservoir of the region, is twenty- on each side, thus cutting a canal of one one feet above the sea-level and seem con- hundred and twenty feet. The machinfident this this amount of fall in the short ery used in excavating is manufactured distance from Okechobee to the ocean will in Chicago and is of the finest and most make drainage an engineering feat of serviceable workmanship. It is shipped only ordinary difficulty. It can be seen from Chicago to the East coast and there from the map that the lake is, in no direc- put together for use. Each dredge will tion in which it is proposed to drain, cut about one mile of canal of the requimore than sixty miles from the coast. site width and depth per month, working
Basing his plans upon these surveys, in ordinary soil. Working in limestone Napoleon B. Broward, the present Gov- formation, the distance cut will be from ernor, as Chairman of the Board of Trus- one-third to one-fifth as great. Basing tees of the Internal Improvement Fund, the estimate upon five hundred miles of is prosecuting work, in the name of the State, on the Atlantic side. He proposes to cut at least six canals, one hundred and twenty feet wide and ten feet deep, from Lake Okechobee to the ocean. The canals will cover the section between Jensen and Fort Lauderdale on the East Coast, as shown in the map, embracing, in round numbers, a region of eight million acres. The canals will vary
in length from twentythree miles to sixty miles, and the total canal
A SWEEP OF OPEN LAND, Five Miles West Of Miami, FLORIDA,
canals this will mean six or seven years amendment, embracing the same subject to complete the work. This is not making matter. Soon after the act of the Legisany allowance for delays and when the lature became a law, the Board of Drainlast mile is finished ten or twelve years age Commissioners met and levied a tax will probably have elapsed.
of five cents per acre upon all lands in One of the dredges, the Everglades, the drainage district. Money so raised, has already been constructed and is now with the money on hand in the treasury
at work. Basing his estimate upon the of the Internal Improvement Fund, was work already done, Governor Broward to be used to begin operations on the estimates the cost of the State's share in canals. This tax led to a bitter fight bethe work as follows: Cost of six dredges, tween the corporations owning land in $300,000; cost of operation until comple- the drainage district and the Board of tion of the canals, $1,200 per month for Drainage Commissioners, and the tax each dredge, or $635,000 for the five hun- collectors of the various counties interdred miles of canal; repairs, etc., $100,- ested have been enjoined by the United 000; making a total of $1,035,000 for States Courts, on the plea of the land synthe reclamation of about eight million dicates, against the collection of the tax, acres, or between twelve and fifteen cents on the ground that the Legislature exper acre.
ceeded its authority in giving to any To raise this money the Legislature of Board the power to levy taxes. Until the 1905 created the Trustees of the Inter- passage of the constitutional amendnal Improvement Fund and Board of ment, the work is being carried on by the Drainage Commissioners, with power to funds already in the hands of the Trusorganize a drainage district and assess tees of the Internal Improvement Fund. a drainage tax not to exceed ten cents As to the value of the lands once they per acre. Fearing that the constitution- are drained there is scarcely any doubt. ality of this act would be questioned, the Governor Broward, Governor Bloxham, Legislature provided for a constitutional Disston and others have had tests and ing is a fair example of the analysis which has been proved to be true, the specimen of soil having been taken from the land of the Okechobee Land Company: Moisture
15.95 Organic Matter., 50.61 Silica and indis
soluble silicates. 28.56 Oxide of Iron.... 1.34 Lime
.06 Soda ..
.19 Phosphoric Acid.. .20 Sulphuric Acid... .74 Chlorine
.21 analyses made of specimens sent from va- Oxide of Magnesia, etc.
.23 rious parts of the region and, to say the least, the reports have been remarkable.
100.00 Analyses made by Prof. A. P. Aiken, of This analysis, by comparison with anthe Royal Agricultural Society of Scot- alyses of soils of lands recognized for land, Prof. H. W. Wiley, Chief Chenist their fertility and adaptability for truck of the United States Agricultural Depart- farming and sugar cane culture, shows ment, Prof. D. Tacke, Director of the that'the lands in the Everglades are richPeat Experiment Station, Bremen, and er than almost any other portion of the Prof. W. J. Williams, of the Keystone globe which is now in cultivation and Chemical Company of Philadelphia, show has been tested for these purposes. The a great similarity in the composition of adaptability of the land as indicated by the soil, from whatever portion of the re- these examinations for sugar cane culgion the specimens are taken. The follow- ture is so noticeable as to have been com