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Florida Guide > Florida History

Tamiami Trail

The Tamiami Trail is part of the U. S. 41 that goes from Miami to Michigan by way of Georgia, Tennesse, Indiana, Illinois. Wisconsin and Michigan.

You may be surprised to know that the Tamiami Trail was completed almost a quarter of a century ago. This project cost eight million dollars and used three million sticks of dynamite.

The Tamiami Trail was first started in 1915 but was not at all straightforward. By 1923 the buillding was halted when it was decided that the area known as The Everglades was impossibleto penetrate. This was due to the treachorously swampy nature of the terrain.

A group of 25 trailblazes augmented by 2 Seminole men set out to prove the authorities wrong. They set off on a 4 day mission to reach Miami. Not surprisingly, they were pretty soon stuck fast in mud. Undaunted they took to a caterpillay tractor and over 3 weeks later they reached their goal and made their point.

By this time they had hacked their way through seemingly impenetrable forests and made bridges. A bomber aircraft dropped them essential supplies of food and fuel. This stretch of the trail measures 190 miles which means they averaged 8 miles a day.

This encouraged the authorities to press on with the road building and 5 years later it was complete. The funding for this part of the road was provided by Barron Collier. In exchange he asked that a county was named after him and they duly sliced off a bit of Lee County and named it Collier County.

The north/ south section of the trail runs from Tampa to Naples and the east/ west section from Naples to Miami.

Splendid and useful as this road is it is not a win win situation for much damage has been done to the environment. , particularly for The Everglades. Along with the canal, the road has dammed the flow of water from Lake Okechobee to Florida Bay.

This situation has been partially solved by creating culverts and filling in some of the canals. However, this is still not enough.

An 11 mile elevated road is planned that will consist of a one mile and a 2 mile bridge connected by 8 miles of dirt berm. This will cost an estimated $128. However, there is a strong lobby for an 11 mile bridge that would cost more than double that figure but will probably be a better long term solution.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 4 September 2009
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