Article Title



Sherry Johnson


Originally presented at the Third Biennial Allen Morris Conference in February 2004, the articles in this special issue of the Florida Historical Quarterly examine the history of three related riverine environments in north central Florida--the St. Johns River, the Ocklawaha River, and the Withlacoochee River basinss-from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1990s.1 The conference panel was designed to demonstrate how exploiting the rivers furthered modern ideas, promoted progress, and created economic prosperity. All three studies also sought to show how modernization had the potential to wreak havoc on a unique, fragile, and irreplaceable ecosystem. Collectively, these essays examine how the river systems became commercialized, first as a tourist destination, then as a source of cypress lumber, then as a possible alternate water route across the Florida peninsula that would bring thousands ofjobs to a depressed region. Each author also situated his work within one or more sub-disciplines. Steven Noll looks at the social and economic impacts of tourism and logging from the 1850s through the 1920s. M. David Tegeder's article is, first and foremost, a political analysis of the forces that sought to promote the Atlantic Gulf Ship Canal in the 1930s.