Russell Kay


Prior to the construction of the Tamiami Trail connecting the east and west coasts of Florida, the only cross-peninsular highway ran from Tampa to Daytona Beach. With the advent of automobiles in Florida shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, the possibility of constructing a highway across the Everglades was considered. It was a very controversial issue, however, and opponents argued that the giant cost and the great engineering problems would make the project impossible. Businessmen and chamber of commerce representatives on both coasts, however, insisted that it could be done. Shortly after the end of World War I and even before the onset of the Florida boom of the 1920’s, a publicity campaign was launched to sell the highway construction idea. Citizens were urged to use their influence with the Florida legislature and the federal government to consider and study the problem.