The Florida land boom of the 1920's was the first major real estate growth that took place in Florida.The Great War had just ended and the United States was entering a time that would prove to be very luxurious.The boom started in about 1922 after there had been a steady incline in the real estate market from approximately 1919 - 1922 (Vanderblue 252).The boom was felt initially and most heavily in the area that we all know as Miami.The text from Vanderblue states how this phenomenon was witnessed. "...for Miami, the center of the wildest speculation, for Orlando, the principal city of central Florida where the speculation was more conservative, and…Jacksonville…did not feel the stimulus of the boom until very late..." (Vanderblue 252).The boom completely changed the state of Florida as people knew it before the 1920's.With this drastic increase in real estate purchase came many complications that eventually brought the boom to an end.One of these was the breakdown of transportation."The building situation, especially along the line of the Florida East Coast Railway, was complicated during the late summer of 1925 and well into the next year by a series of railroad embargoes" (Vanderblue 256).Apparently, the railroads thought that they would use the usual slowness of summer to get extra work done.However, with the recent increase in real estate purchase and the need to build, the railroads did not slow down.There was a lot of congestion due to this lack of foresight and eventually there was an embargo on everything except for food.The congestion was so bad that even the port of Miami was backed up with ships that could not off load its products for weeks at a time (Vanderblue 256)."The railroad congestion (and the attendant embargo) was but one of the adverse influences which served to slow down the boom during the fall and early winter of 1925-1926.Just when the turning point came it is difficult to say.It appears to have come earlier in the Miami district than on the West Coast.The rush of newcomers who were to buy lots in the newly planned...cities failed to materialize in November and December; and, before the turn of the year, the trend of bank clearings in Miami was definitely downward, even without adjustment for seasonal variation" (Vanderblue 256-257).According to Vanderblue, the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was the crash of the New York Stock Exchange in 1926 during the months of February and March (263).All of these factors combined played to the ultimate detriment of the Florida land boom.However, it is blatantly apparent, even today, how Florida was changed by this movement.Florida had already been attracting people to its tropical climate, but with the land boom of the 1920's tourism exploded.This was in large part thanks to men like Carl G. Fisher."Carl Fisher, a brash Indianapolis millionaire, was transforming the mangroves and swamps of a forlorn island, separated from nearby Miami by Biscayne Bay, into a fledgling resort community of Miami Beach" (George 29).Florida would continue to grow steadily after this event and become the state that we all know today.
George, Paul S. Brokers, Binders, and Builders: Greater Miami's Boom of the Mid-1920s.The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol.65, No.1 (Jul., 1986), pp. 27-51.
Vanderblue, Homer B. The Florida Land Boom.The Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics , Vol.3, No.3 (Aug., 1927), pp. 252-269.
Medicinal Liquor - http://www.tdblues.com/?p=1165
Distillery photos in Tampa/Rumrunning boat in the Gulf - http://www.tampapix.com/tampa1940s7.htm
Traffic line of busses - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/25986?cid=12&pc=William A. Fishbaugh Collection
Miami Skyline - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/27205?cid=12&pc=William A. Fishbaugh Collection
Tourist Pamphlet Miami - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/29908?cid=12&pc=William A. Fishbaugh Collection
Miami Stats - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/31847?cid=12&pc=William A. Fishbaugh Collection
Shipping Docks - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/33007?cid=12&pc=William A. Fishbaugh Collection
Distillery Leon County - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/5743
Distillery Polk County - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/32725
Moonshine still Tampa - http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/27025
If anything can be taken from the research that has been discussed over these last few pages, it is that Florida’s history in the early 1900’s was anything but boring.The nation had just come out of a great and terrible war, but the need to fight would persist.However, this battle was to be fought from within, and it would have dramatic effects on the region’s economies.From the moment the Eighteenth Amendment was passed on January 16, 1919 solidifying the ban on alcohol, Americans everywhere reacted.Floridians secured ways to keep this essential liquid flowing among its citizens and the nation.Those that were living a more rural life turned to making their own supplies of alcohol from distilleries all over the state.These were usually farmers who found moon shining to be a good supplement to their already meager incomes.There were also those who were looking to be a bit more lucrative with this rare opportunity.In the urban areas, mainly along the coast, people took advantage of Florida’s close proximity to the Bahamas to smuggle in copious amounts of alcohol right under the nose of the government.Those looking for customers around this time were definitely not left in want either.The Florida land boom happened, peaking around 1925, and Florida was transformed forever.People from all over the nation were practically tripping over themselves to make a claim in this new tropical paradise, as it was advertised by Carl Fisher (George 29).These events weren’t the only things to affect the economies of the various regions throughout Florida, but they certainly were the most prominent.