Durward Long


Historians often point out that the depression which began for the rest of the United States in 1929, started in Florida much earlier. The final collapse of the real estate boom in Florida in 1926, was followed by serious fiscal difficulties for units of government-local and state-as well as for private citizens. Even nature seemed to conspire against the economic well-being of the state. The devastating hurricanes of 1926 and 1928 were followed by the invasion of the Mediterranean fruit fly in 1929, to add to the deepening financial and economic distress which many Florida communities were suffering in the late 1920s. Bank failures occurred at an astonishing rate between 1926-1929; 125 banks closed during this three-year period. Bank debits decreased steadily and construction was severely curtailed. Consequently the lumbering and naval stores market declined; citrus groves were neglected because of a shortage of capital; farm crops brought even lower prices as purchasing power steadily decreased; and Florida’s tourist trade declined each year to a level far below normal.