The years surrounding the turn of the present century consituted a golden era of railroad construction and consolidation in Florida’s history. It was during this period that developer Henry B. Plant absorbed many small lines, pushed his steel rails to Florida’s west coast, and insured the future significance of Tampa Bay. William D. Chipley, “Mr. Railroad of West Florida,” constructed lines throughout the panhandle and invested heavily in the port of Pensacola. The railroad man epitomizing this age’s spirit of optimism and enterprise, however, was Standard Oil millionaire Henry M. Flagler, who chose the east coast of Florida as his domain. Flagler’s road plunged through swamps and sandy barrens to link Jacksonville with Miami in 1896, and he captured the attention of the nation after 1904 with the construction of his famous “Overseas Railroad” to Key West.
Pozzetta, George E.
"A Padrone Looks at Florida: Labor Recruiting and the Florida East Coast Railway,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 54
, Article 7.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol54/iss1/7