History of the Lake Worth Drainage District, the election of Gov. Napoleon B. Broward, and the second Waterway ‘Renaissance

The election of Theodore Roosevelt and Florida Governor Broward (1905-1909) brought in renewed interest in inland waterways and drainage across the Nation. Roosevelt convened the National Drainage Congress at the White House.  Governor Broward began his plan to drain the Everglades by dredging four canals from Lake Okeechobee to the east coast of Florida and one canal from the Lake to the west coast of Florida via the Caloosahatchee River, thence to Fort Myers.

By 1915,state legislators passed legislation authorizing contiguous landowners to form a drainage district. Landowners could then vote to authorize the construction of canals, dams, and other means to mitigate flood waters during conditions of heavy rain not already absorbed by grassy areas or catch basins.  One of first chartered in 1915 was the Lake Worth Drainage District. The following links bring you in video the history of the District from the times before the formation of the District and each decade thereafter to present times. Go to: http://www.lwdd.net, then select tab “About us”; then select tab “History”. Each video is about four minutes long.

By 1935, the State of Florida had authorized charters for 125 drainage districts to control flood waters during the rainy season and collect potable water for dry seasons.

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