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Fine large format map of Florida, compiled by the General Land Office.

Among the more noteworthy elements of the map is the completed route of the Florida East Coast Railway, which had by 1912 reached Key West.

One of the other primary features of the map are the canals froming from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic, including the Miami Canal, North New River, Hillsboro Canal, West Palm Beach Canal and Lucie Canal.  

The State of Florida embarked on an ambitious program of Everglades drainage in 1906. Its goal was to provide fertile new lands for agriculture. Two years later, a dredge started digging a drainage ditch near the headwaters of the Miami River, and by 1913, the Miami Canal connected the river with Lake Okeechobee, while the water from the swampland was carried out to sea along connecting waterways.

Everglades Reclamation (or drainage) led to the birth of a feverish real estate industry for Miami and much of southeast Florida as large speculators purchased millions of acres of reclaimed land from the State of Florida, then marketed it aggressively in many parts of the nation. The unsavory sales tactics of promoters who sold unwitting investors land that was underwater earned for Miami an enduring reputation for marketing “land by the gallon.”

By 1910, Miami’s population had soared to nearly 5,500, while the number of tourists and new business establishments rose sharply. Twelfth Street, today’s Flagler Street, had eclipsed Avenue D as Miami’s most important thoroughfare becoming the address for the city’s leading business establishments. Twelfth Street’s cachet continued to rise with the opening of the Burdine department store’s new five-story building, the city’s first “skyscraper,” in 1912.

General Land Office Biography

The General Land Office (GLO) refers to the independent agency in the United States that was in charge of public domain lands. Created in 1812, it assumed the responsibilities for public domain lands from the United States Department of the Treasury. The Treasury had overseen the survey of the Northwest Territory, but as more area was added to the United States, a new agency was necessary to survey the new lands.

Eventually, the GLO would be responsible for the surveying, platting, and sale of the majority of the land west of the Mississippi, with the exception of Texas. When the Secretary of the Interior was created in 1849, the GLO was placed under its authority. Until the creation of the Forest Service in 1905, the GLO also managed forest lands that had been removed from public domain. In additional to managing the fees and sales of land, the GLO produced maps and plans of the areas and plots they surveyed. In 1946, the GLO merged with the United States Grazing Service to become the Bureau of Land Management.