Following the pioneer trail started in 1837 on the banks of the winding Caloosahatchee River, Florida's Vanishing Trail takes you on a historical and visual journey through time. Beginning with the U.S.Army when it fought battles with the Seminole people hunting them through the inaccessible parts of the Everglades, to the starting of the earliest pioneer settlements, Florida's Vanishing Trail documents the last 170 years of development in South Florida and brings you to the front doors of one of the most unique and mysterious places in Florida and one of the Big Cypresses 'best kept secrets'-Deep Lake is finally revealed to the public.
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By Patrick McDonald
Feb 8, 2012
My family has been hunting & fishing out of Miami since the early 1900's. My father took my copy of this book when I was showing him the amazing photo's that it included. His stories of spending two weekends with axes and machetes back in 1945 cutting a canoe trail from Tamiami Trail to Chokoloskee down Turner River and his experiences hunting and fishing all through South Florida were well represented throughout this book. While he has still not returned my book the stories and memories of what was back then are well worth my temporary loss. ...I've ordered 2 more! Thanks again!
"Re: Florida's Vanishing Trail" Book Review: Florida’s Vanishing Trail by James HammondPosted on March 5th, 2009 by Ron Standerfer It was truly the Garden of Eden. Birds, fish, and animals of every size and description thrived together in a landscape of lush tropical vegetation amongst exotic flowers and palm trees that rose in some places to more than one hundred feet; all relatively untouched by man. This was the Florida Everglades region of Southwest Florida in the 1700s; the departure point for James Hammond’s fascinating and well researched book, Florida’s Vanishing Trail. But like the biblical Garden of Eden, the lush, peaceful life of the Everglades was not destined to last and; after a brief overview, Hammond takes the reader forward in time to when paradise was lost, namely, in the early 1800s. This is when white settlers began arriving in Northern Florida and began forcing the Seminole Indians further south and into the interior. Dates assigned later in history... More > identify three distinct phases of the wars: The First Seminole War 1817-1818, The Second Seminole War 1835-1842 and the Third Seminole War (sometimes called The Billy Bowlegs War) 1855-1858. These phases mark the periods of the greatest unrest and the most overt hostility in the region; and in response to this unrest, the U.S. government built a series of eight Army forts in the Everglades. In a narrative rich in detail gleaned from old photographs, drawings, maps, military dispatches, letters and diaries, Hammond describes each fort and provides anecdotal evidence of the role each played in the Seminole Wars. After the Seminole Wars came the inevitable rush toward expansion and development as more settlers moved into the area. Groves and fields were planted, sawmills were built to support the growing lumbering industry, and an infrastructure of roads, and rail lines was established to get the goods to market. Prominent developers during this period between the late 1800s and early 1900s include the Collier family from the Naples area and the ubiquitous Henry Flagler who was in the process of extending his railroad down to Miami. This is my favorite part of the book. The pictures are more numerous and of better quality and leafing through the pages you can see Indian chiefs, medicine men, grove and sawmill workers, wealthy families in their Sunday best, and settlers standing in front of their meager homes; all gazing out through the mist of time. My favorite picture in the book is that of the first passenger train started in the Big Cypress in 1917. It consisted of a steel box welded to a Model T Ford, which in turn was modified to run on a set of railroad tracks! Being a resident of Southeast Florida not too far from Miami, I could not wait to finish “Florida’s Vanishing Trails” and strike out on my own to see all the places so ably described. I guess I will have to settle for a nostalgic drive down the Tamiami Trail, which is now called US Highway 41. Meanwhile, you don’t have to be a historian, or even a Floridian to enjoy this wonderful book. There’s something in it for everyone. Title: Florida’s Vanishing Trail Author: James Hammond Publisher: Lulu Enterprises Publisher Address: 860 Aviation Parkway, Morrisville, NC 27560 Publisher Phone Number and URL: 919-459-5858, www.lulu.com ISBN, Price, Publication Date: 978-0-578-00385-6, $24.95, 2008 Reviewed by: Ron Standerfer for Reader Views (March/2009) Ron Standerfer is a freelance writer and photographer who is a frequent contributor Blogger News Network as well as numerous other online news sites.< Less
"Florida's Vanishing Trail" Indians massacre settlers. Alligator stamped like cattle. Florida mules wear snowshoes. Bird feathers more valuable than gold. Solders ordered to shoot every Seminole sighted. Mosquitoes chase a U.S Army unit from their camp. Twenty citizens gun down an outlaw as he stepped from his boat to the dock. Lumberjacks cut down a single tree for logs that take ten railroad cars to haul. Yes, James Hammond’s Florida’s Vanishing Trail tells all these stories and more. Thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, and yet easily readable Hammond’s history of South Florida spans 170 years of fascinating conflict. The trio of man vs man vs nature forms a triangle of sometimes haunting beauty and sometimes violent conflict. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wrote a more detailed summary of this book on my February 25, 2009, blog at http://www.cowart.info/blog/ --John Cowart
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