I have practiced law in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida, since 1975. Along the way, I developed a keen interest in researching and writing history. In 2007, I published “Florida’s Big Dig,” the story of constructing what would become the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami from 1881 to 1935. I won the Florida Historical Society’s 2008 Rembert Patrick Award for the best academic book on a Florida history subject. Although I have researched and written many articles on various historical subjects on Florida, I have published just one book, “Florida’s Big Dig.”
The story about the waterway is just as much about the history of the early development of yesterday’s settlements and villages into today’s cities along the Florida East Coast as it is about the story of creating a continuous waterway. Because my undergraduate work was in finance my viewpoint is through the eyes of a lawyer with a background in finance.
My inclination is to look at and analyze legal documents like court papers, deeds, wills, mortgages, surveys, government records, and maps within the context of the relevant time period before making judgments about the history in this book. Context is crucial in writing any history. Although I will focus on the waterway, I will look at all facets of history, including Florida, women’s, civil rights, land, and waterway history, from the standpoint of a lawyer/historian. And I’ll post a few other things I think you may find interesting.l
As a result of writing the book, my practice has changed somewhat to a keen interest in the legal aspects of the Intracoastal Waterway, waterway rights and encumbrances, riparian rights, sovereign rights in submerged lands, the rights of upland owners, easements for access to water and for view, and many other subjects not ordinarily encountered by the every-day lawyer.
My website about the book is: http://www.FloridasBigDig.com. At that website, you’ll find out more about my book: “Florida’s Big Dig” and connections to more of my writings. You may purchase books online through Amazon.com and other major outlets. Enjoy!
William G. Crawford, Jr.
January 11, 2014