Dr. John Diament Westcott (1807-1889) served as president of the Florida canal company from 1881 until his death in 1889. Born in New Jersey, Westcott briefly attended West Point before leaving for medical reasons. For a time, he also attended medical school in Philadelphia before relocating to the Territory of Florida, serving as secretary to [...]
Outboard motorboat towing a house on the Indian River portion of the Intracoastal Waterway near Rockledge, Fla. Courtesy, Ralph Crawford.
Home first of Charles S. Bradley, former Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and father of George L. Bradley. By the late 1880s, George Bradley became the primary financier of the construction of the privately owned Florida Coast Line Canal & Transportation Company which would later become Florida's Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. George grew [...]
Born in Providence, R.I., in 1846, George Lothrop Bradley had made three fortunes by the time he had become the largest investor in the Florida waterway. Bradley made his first fortune investing in the Newport Mining Company, a square-mile iron mine property along the Michigan upper peninsula-Wisconsin border, in the late 1870s. The mine would produce [...]
In 1882, the Florida Coast Line Canal & Transportation Company ("the Florida canal company") began dredging the difficult dry cut between the Matanzas and Halifax rivers using bucket, continuous chain dredges. The Florida canal company would not complete the work until 1912, thirty years later. For dredging what would become the Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville [...]
Double-tracking the Florida East Coast Railroad signaled the end of commercial waterborne traffic along Florida's east coast and the end of its only competitor in the 1920's, the privately owned Florida East Coast Canal, later transferred to the Federal government in 1929 for conversion into the modern, toll-free Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
Young barefooted boys digging for clams along the western sandy shore of the Indian River ca. 1900, with a long dock draped in nets in the background. Courtesy, collection of the author.