When Florida was a Giant State (Theoretically)

At 65,757 square miles, Florida ranks 22nd in size among the 50 United States and second among states east of the Mississippi River (behind Michigan). However, Florida was two to three times larger than it is today at some point during the past million years. If there had been a United States back then, only…

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‘Binder Boys’ in the 1920s Florida Land Boom

Many unique things happened during the great Florida land boom of the early 1920s. Among them was the use of so-called “binder boys” (actually young men and women) to start real estate transactions. “During this boom, most people who bought and sold land in Florida had never even set foot in the state,” reports a…

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Florida Plays ‘Continental Musical Chairs’

Florida is a virtual youngster when compared to the whole Earth, which is generally considered to be at least 4.5 billion years old. The Florida plateau, upon which Florida is perched, was formed about 530 million years ago, according to a University of Florida-Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) website, Florida’s Geological History. Florida…

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Florida’s 500-year (Almost) Cattle History

Historians generally agree that Florida – and United States – cattle ranching got its start with Ponce de Leon in 1521. The Spanish explorer and conquistador brought horses and seven Andalusian cattle to Florida that year, according to a University of South Florida website, Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). Some scholars believe those first…

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Crackers and the Open Range – Part of Florida’s Cattle History

CRACKERS Most Floridians who’ve been around a while have heard people refer to “crackers,” a term that most agree described Florida’s early cattlemen. “Florida’s old-time cowboys had a unique way of herding cattle,” reports the University of South Florida website, Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). “They used 10- to 12-foot-long whips made of braided…

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1920’s Land Boom and Bust

Florida’s Land Boom of the 1920s Turning $1,700 into $300,000, at Least for a While An elderly man in Pinellas County spent his life savings of $1,700 in the early 1920s on a piece of local property. He was just one of thousands of Americans participating in the great Florida land boom. But his story…

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