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.
Young men after a day of fishing in the Indian River in the early 1900's near Titusville, Florida. The Indian River is today often referred to as a lagoon. It has no origin or mouth and few characteristics of what we commonly call a river. Some, however, refer to the Indian River as part of [...]
While the Florida canal company dredged what would become the Intracoastal Waterway, company directors in 1896 organized the Indian River and Bay Biscayne Inland Navigation Company to run steamboats on navigable portions of the waterway. One such steamboat was the "Saint Lucie" depicted here.</ In 1898, the steamboat affiliate won the contract to ship munitions [...]
Owned by Commodore Avylen Harcourt Brook, the sloop Klyo "rescued" President-elect Warren G. Harding (in white pants, waving the hat) when the houseboat in which he had cruised hit a "snag" on the poorly maintained--and privately owned--Florida East Coast Canal (after 1929, the Intracoastal Waterway) at Fort Lauderdale in 1921. Born in Sheffield, England, in [...]