A Journey into Florida Railroad History

Gregg M. Turner

Foreword by Gary Mormino, Series Editor

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A little-known yet fascinating chapter of Florida history

"An outstanding work."--Seth Bramson, author of Speedway to Sunshine: The Story of the Florida East Coast Railway

"A thorough and engaging look at Florida's railroad history, especially the formative pre-1900 decades."--Larry Goolsby, author of Atlantic Coast Line Passenger Service: The Postwar Years

It is safe to say that without railroads, Florida wouldn't be what it is today. Railroads connected the state's important cities and towns, conquered the peninsula's vast and seemingly impenetrable interior, ushered in untold numbers of settlers and tourists, and conveyed to market--faster than any previous means of transportation--the myriad products of Florida's mines, forests, factories, farms, and groves.

Gregg Turner traces the long, slow development of Florida railroads, from the first tentative lines in the 1830s, through the boom of the 1880s, to the maturity of the railroad system in the 1920s. At the end of that decade nearly 6,000 miles of labyrinthine track covered the state. Turner also examines the decline of the industry, as the automobile rose to prominence in American culture and lines were abandoned or sold for hiking trails and green spaces.

Meticulously researched and richly illustrated--including many never-before-published images--A Journey into Florida Railroad History is a comprehensive, authoritative history of the subject. Written by one of the nation's foremost authorities on Florida railroads, it explores all the key players and companies, and every significant period of development. This engaging and lively story will be savored and enjoyed by generations to come.

Gregg M. Turner is a former national director of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society at Harvard Business School.

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Florida Book Award for Florida Nonfiction, Bronze - 2008

" A fascinating examination of the transformation of a frontier state by the liberal application of what passed for the "cutting-edge" technology of the times; the locomotive."
--The Gainesville Sun

"A surprisingly comprehensive examination of the railroad past in the Sunshine State. General readers, scholars, and others interested in the rich heritage of Florida rails will find this work of value."

"Written by one of the nation's foremost authorities on the subject, this broad and engaging book explores for the first timea ll the key players and companies, including every significant period of development and reveals Florida's railroads as powerful instruments of change."
--South Ft. Myers

"A well-written, highly entertaining, and well-documented synthesis of the chronology of Florida's railroads which general readers will thoroughly enjoy and which academic specialists most certainly welcome as the journey into Florida railroad history continues."
--The Florida Historical Quarterly

"A pleasant, engaging style of writing that makes this book an enjoyable and eye-opening read that will appeal to classroom instructors and also the general reader. Florida historians will be thankful that we now have a well-executed history of railroading."
--H-Net Reviews

"An important work for anyone seeking a solid reference on the process by which the iron horse traversed Florida."
--Journal of Southern History

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