Florida Frontiers “The Labor Day Hurricane of September 2, 1935”

The Labor Day Hurricane that struck the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935 is the most powerful storm to ever hit the United States. With wind gusts estimated up to 225 miles per hour and a storm surge bringing waves as high as 20 feet ashore; the hurricane was devastating.

Nearly half of the 1,000 people who were on the Florida Keys when the hurricane arrived were killed. Among the dead were about half of the 300 World War I veterans working on road construction projects there for the federal government.

Florida Frontiers “Henry B. Plant”

The Plant system of railroads helped to create modern Florida.

When Henry B. Plant was born in 1819, Florida was still under Spanish control. By 1821, Florida was named a United States Territory, and in 1845 it became a state. Before his death in 1899, Plant helped to develop Florida with railways, steamships, and luxury hotels.

In discussions of railroads and their impact on Florida’s growth, Henry Flagler usually is the first person mentioned. Henry Plant and Henry Flagler were friendly competitors who sometimes worked together.

Florida Frontiers “The Orange Blossom Special”

From 1925 through 1953, the luxury passenger train Orange Blossom Special traveled from New York City to Miami and back.

Other Florida stops included Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, and Hollywood before the train returned north via Winter Haven, Bradenton, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Gainesville, and Tallahassee.

The Orange Blossom Special came to Florida between mid-December and mid-April. Even more famous than this luxurious train and its wealthy passengers is the song “Orange Blossom Special.”

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