Some Kind of Paradise: A Chronicle of Man and the Land in Florida

Some Kind of Paradise: A Chronicle of Man and the Land in Florida

by Mark Derr

By telling it with such eloquence and learning in Some Kind of Paradise, Mr. Derr has revealed the dark side of the historian Frederick Jackson Turners famous hypothesis: our national character was indeed shaped by the frontier.

. The states tortuous journey from one extreme to the other is his subject, and he tackles it with brilliance and bravado."--New York Times Book ReviewFor 500 years, visitors to Florida have discovered magic.

In Some Kind of Paradise, an eloquent social and environmental history of the state, Mark Derr describes how this exotic land is fast becoming a victim of its own allure.He begins by examining the period between Reconstruction and the Great Depression, when wealthy capitalists led by Henry Flagler and Henry Plant opened the peninsula to a flood of development by building railroads and luxury hotels.Turning to the distant past, he describes the geologic origins of the state and early fossil finds.

Written with both tenderness and alarm, Derrs book presents their competing views of Florida: a paradise to be protected and nurtured or a frontier to be exploited and conquered.Mark Derr moved to Florida with his family at age six; his interest in the states history and ecology dates back to the late 1960s, when he watched the landscape around Winter Park change with the construction of Walt Disney World.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 4.07
  • Pages: 448
  • Publish Date: November 30th 1998 by University Press of Florida
  • Isbn10: 0813016290
  • Isbn13: 9780813016290

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Some informal notes: Some Kind of Paradise A Chronicle of Man and the Land in Florida Mark Derr (first edition 1989) Henry Flagler opened east coast to rail travel, resort hotels pb and miami. The peninsula RR blatant disregard for the landscape Indians extirpated, Negro help exploited Miami Royal Palms, Palm Beach The Breakers still there. Flagler ordered for Miami and Palm Beach. Henry Plant: Tampa Marshes and swamps critical since 1900 waves of settlers transformed, wastes, rivers suffered, oceans too. The Miami RIver i a canal nw, walled in and polluted from Lake Okeechobee to Biscayne Bay. Ralph Munroe a little more than a century ago: beautiful clear-water stream banks lined with towering coco-palms and mangroves. Crackers, conchs, Spaniards, AfAms, Cubans, Minorcans, Seminole, West Indians, Swedes, Poles, smattering of Asians ethnic mix turn of the century Tactics to exterminate Indians: slaughter food sucs bison and antelope, massacre of women, children, elderly, negotiation of treaties that were betrayed, forceable removal of tribes from their homeland, biological destructions through the introduction of smallpox, murder of prisoners. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward steamboat runner, hated blacks ship to Af, pseudopopulist, plan to drain Everglades, land for crackers to farm, fill Lake Okeechobee, dig navigable canals to both coasts to allow steamboats to compete with RRs. Construction resembled a military campaign. Architectural style established in Palm Beach mansion by Mizner distinctive adaptations of Mediterranean design. Ethnic and racial discrimination that permeated much of south Fls deve was codified in cities from Palm Beach to MB, inc Mizners Boca Raton, which excluded Jews and blacks. Vizcaya $15 mil baroque mansion of stuccoed concreted on Biscayne bay trimmed in coral, and roofed with tiles that had once covered an entire Cuban village. First wife in bathing suit, angered the Miami clergy, rise of bathing beauties, hawked with celebrities, polo field to attract pple otherwise to to more ritzy Palm Beach. David Fairchild recalled the destruction of many areas the magnificent Ficus nitida tree at Buena Vista of Miami region torn and dragged out as turned into a ghastly waste of suburban lots. George Merrick Coral Gables in the pinelands, which was Cracker country: planned city with diff country-inspired nhoods. If the thought of a public pool brings to mind a stale rectangular hole in the ground you havent visited the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. The Venetian Pool is the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places, and its no wonder why. Palm trees surround the Venetian Pool and the roaring waterfall drowns all sounds of traffic out theres not a building in sight. This 820,000 gallon pool is filled with fresh water from an underground aquifer and surrounded by the original coral rock. There are caves and waterfalls, little nooks carved into the coral, a sandy area for staying dry and an open swimming area. During the summer the pool is refilled daily from the artesian wells and there are never any chemicals in the water. Venetian Pool is a very popular summer camp field trip and a favorite amongst young locals for birthday parties and special Saturdays. Theres a shallow kiddy area connected to the main pool by an island and stone bridge to keep beginner swimmers safe and away from the deeper waters. Venetian Pool is just minutes away from Downtown Coral Gables. Coral Gables was a fully planned city designed by George Merrick in 1925. Venetian Pool was part of this plan and much of the coral, used for grand entrances to the city, in plazas and homes was taken from this quarry. In south Fl, the new canals created hundreds of miles of waterfront property, and few buyers bothered to image the previous rivers and streams. Water had become too saline for fish and insects needed by birds around Florida B

When I went to college and introduced myself, I disclaimed any attachment to the state where I'd spent over half my life. That I'd spent half my life in the state and still couldn't call it home is pretty remarkable. I moved back to the state, voluntarily, and stayed for two years. When I again had a chance to leave, with the Air Force, I managed to move first to a city only 20 miles from the state line, and although I ultimately made it halfway across the continent I moved right back to Florida the first chance I got. It's the idea of Florida, an idea that loom large in Some Kind of Paradise. I don't think Florida can save itself and I don't believe any of the ten million people who will move there in the next 20 years know it needs to be saved. In truth I don't suppose Florida has ever lived up to expectations. Even upon settling the place and beginning to tame it, the Spanish found Florida devoid of the riches they sought, and the Fountain of Youth passed into myth. Thousands were enticed to come to Florida to the most fertile land on Earth, to a place where one had only to cast seeds upon the ground and watch crops of all manner grow in rich soil without a hand to tend them. Very soon land speculators began to carve the state up into townsites and developments, and everyone was offered a chance to own a piece of paradise. I've spent most of my life in paradise, and I don't like it.

Actually first started this book five years ago, after buying it on a vacation trip to Fla, half of it spent in or around the Everglades.