1927 Florida Inland Navigation District Commissioners Negotiating the Purchase of the Waterway

1927 Florida Inland Navigation District Commissioners Negotiating the Purchase of the Waterway

Assembled here with a few exceptions are the eleven commissioners of FIND appointed by Florida Governor David Sholtz to purchase the old Florida East Coast Canal (“the Canal”) from Harry Kelsey (1st row, 2nd from the right) for turnover to the Federal Government for enlargement and perpetual maintenance as the Intracoastal Waterway.

Erstwhile New Jersey restauranteur, Kelsey sold all of holdings to begin developing more than 100,000 acres of Palm Beach County beginning in 1919. When Kelsey bought the Waterway in 1925, Kelsey intended to use the Waterway to transport building materials to his various developments including Kelsey City, employing John Nolen and the Olmstead Brothers to plan the City. Today, Kelsey City is known as Lake Park, Fla. Kelsey paid $550,000, almost all of it in the form of installment notes. Kelsey defaulted except for the down payment.

Others depicted in the photograph are newspaper publishers, real estate developers, and yacht club commodores as commissioners. Commodore Brook of Ft. Lauderdale is the short-statured, stout fellow with the bushy handle-bar mustache in the back row, third from the right. The chairman, Charles F. Burgman (front row, fourth from the right), Daytona publisher and developer, won his post by the ‘flip of a coin’. Courtesy, FIND.

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