William G. Crawford, Jr.
Author, Florida's Big Dig
  writings -- Florida's Big Dig

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Author, William G. Crawford, Jr., flanked by Dr. Jose Fernandez (l), President, Florida Historical Society, and Dr. Lewis N. Wynne (r), Executive Director, at the Annual Meeting on May 23, 2008, receives the 2008 Rembert Patrick Award for Best Book on Florida History


This is the story of people of vision and courage, of a small group of prominent Saint Augustine investors who conceived of the Florida waterway and began the first dredging work; of an obscure group of New England capitalists who provided significant financing and obtained a million acres of undeveloped Florida public land in pursuing what was, at best, a speculative enterprise; of innumerable citizen groups like the Florida east coast chamber associations and the larger Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association that demanded at the turn of the last century what they believed was the people’s right–a public waterway, free of the burden of tolls; and finally, of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, who conducted all of the Florida waterway’s early surveys and assumed the project’s control in 1929 to convert what was once a private toll-way into Florida’s modern-day, toll-free Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.


"Crawford makes a convincing case that the almost forgotten developers of the Intracoastal Waterway, through their Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company, deserve a place next to Flagler as important figures in turning Florida from an isolated backwater frontier to a vacation paradise and a state with a population of over 18 million people."

"...[T]his work is the starting point for anyone interested in the story behind the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway"

Steven Noll, Ph.D, University of Florida, Florida Historical Quarterly (Summer 2008) and co-author of Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida's Future (University Press of Florida, 2009)

"This is a fascinating journey from idea to completion."   (Editors Choice) Southern Boating magazine (June 2008)

"Lawyer's Book Judged Best, Robert Nolin, South Florida Sun-Sentinel June 3, 2008 (Click)

        "The simple fact is nobody has ever done a history of the Intracoastal Waterway."   Nick Wynne, Ph.D. Florida Historical Society

        "He's very thorough, meticulous and logical. He has shed new light on a topic that hasn't been studied to this degree before."   Paul George, Ph.D.


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