Gary R. Mormino


On New Year's Day, 1920, Florida was a sparsely populated, geographically isolated, and politically insignificant state. The state's population, the smallest in the South, had not yet reached the one million mark. Florida ranked thirty-second of forty-eight states, having just surpassed Colorado in population.1 In comparison, southern neighbors Alabama and Georgia recorded populations of 2.4 and 2.9 million inhabitants. The influence of North Florida and the Panhandle had crested by 1920. By 1930, new places and cities that had not even been born in 1910 signified the pulse beat and direction of Florida: Boca Raton, Coral Gables, and Miami Beach. Older cities-St. Petersburg and Sarasota, Jacksonville and Tampa-had been rejuvenated with new skylines and energy. Profound changes so immense that the word "revolution" seems inappropriate were about to transform Florida, the South, and the United States.