Henry Flagler began the Overseas Extension in 1906 to connect Miami to Key West. This ambitious and innovative project required money, earth-moving, man-hours, and miles of bridges.
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Flagler getting off the train at Key West for the official opening of the extension to Key West.
In addition to the large railroad systems, many short rails and specialized systems operated in Florida. They reached rural communities and provided necessary rail transportation for industries such as timber and phosphate mining. In many locations, however, once the resources were gone, the trains soon disappeared.
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Accompanying note: "From field plant to factory for drying and final processing—here phosphate is 14% moisture content, following process—less than 2%."
A. Philip Randolph, the first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was born in Crescent City, Florida, and grew up in Jacksonville. The son of a Methodist minister, he attended the City College of New York, and later published The Messenger, a radical black magazine. The 1937 contract between the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Pullman Company cut working hours, increased pay, and improved working conditions.
Randolph was also a major influence in ending discrimination in defense plants and segregation of the U.S. military. He was director of the August 28, 1963, March on Washington, D.C. — the largest civil rights demonstration in American history.
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The membership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters included the African American porters and maids who worked on the railway trains.
In the early decades of the 20th century, trains such as the Florida Special and the Orange Blossom Special brought tourists all the way to Miami and beyond. Commercial lines transported Florida's produce and other products to northern markets.
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Accompanying note: "Mr. & Mrs. W.S. Marshall of Cleveland, Ohio, getting off the train at F.E.C. station. "NACDS" SPECIAL- representing Cunningham Drug Co. of Detroit."
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