South Florida History

Vol. 30, no. 2 & 3 (2003)

The Ta-Miami Airline

by Eugene E. Threadgill
The dreams of E. Harold Threadgill take flight as he creates the first airline with destinations exclusively in Florida.

World War II and Beyond: A Hotel Transformed

by Samuel D. LaRoue and Ellen Uguccioni
The elegant Biltmore Hotel exchanged its fine furniture for wheel chairs and cots when it was turned into a hospital for wounded soldiers in WWII.

The Secret Urban Garden of John Morgan Dean

by Kathryn Wilbur
Dean Park, a community developed by John Morgan Dean, featured winding roads, lush tropical landscaping and the feeling of a family neighborhood—all within walking distance of downtown Fort Myers.

Raising Earthworms for Fun and Profit

by Mark Mathosian
In the late 1970s, “earthworm brokers” preyed on South Florida residents looking to make a quick buck.

Read magazine

Vol. 31 (2003)

The Many Lives of Watson Island

by Dr. Paul George, Ph.D.
Over the years, Miami has seen Watson Island through countless dreams and schemes, only a handful of which came to fruition. Today, it’s making a comeback and finally coming into its own.

What’s In a Name

by Ellen J. Uguccioni
The first four floors of the former Miami News building took on new significance when they were used as a processing center for Cuban émigrés in the 1960s and ’70s.

Preserving the Soul

by Christopher R. Eck
The varied architecture of Fort Lauderdale’s seven oldest black churches reflects the firm foundation they have provided to their communities over the years.

Read magazine

Vol. 32, no. 1 (2004)

The Spanish Whale Ambergris Trade

by Robert I. Davidsson
Ambergris, a waxy aromatic substance secreted by whales, was a valuable trading commodity for the native Indian tribes of southeastern Florida, who used it to acquire valuable European manufactured goods from the Spanish, such as tools. The Spanish, for their part, believed that ambergris had no equal—neither gold, silver, pearls, nor emeralds matched its value.

History of Wrecking

by Jerry Wilkinson
Trace the occupation of “wrecking,” or salvaging, in the Upper Keys from its origins in the 1600s with the indigenous Indians helping save a Spanish Fleet wreck in the Marquesas, through its heyday when men like Asa Tift made their fortunes from wrecking, to its demise with the advent of the steamship in the late 1800s.

The African Cemetery on Higgs Beach

by Gail Swanson
Hundreds of Africans lost their lives in the summer of 1860 due to the horrible conditions they faced aboard slavers intercepted by the U.S. and brought to Key West. Though the U.S. government provided barracks and some medical care to the Africans and did intend to return them to Liberia, where they would be free, the awful conditions they had endured proved too much to bear for many.

Read magazine