Historical Museum of Southern Florida

Exhibits > Tropical Dreams > New People - New Technology

Tropical Dreams: New People — New Technology

photo of trolley


The harnessing of steam power in the 19th century provided man with tools to shape the environment to fulfill his needs, plans, and desires. The beginning of this era in South Florida was marked by the 1896 arrival in Miami of Flagler's FEC railway. Soon additional lands for agriculture, tourism and settlement were being created by drainage and land fills. Roads, bridges, and airfields opened new avenues into South Florida.

photo of arch


Thousands came to the area during the real estate boom of the 1920s and the face of South Florida changed drastically as dream cities, tourist resorts, subdivisions and skyscrapers materialized. Although the 1926 bust shattered the dreams of many South Floridians, population growth and development continued through the Depression era. The military brought thousands to the area during World War II, when South Florida's mild climate and vacant tourist facilities were used as a major training center for soldiers.

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