Florida's size and shape meant a largely remote interior until shortly before the Civil War. The catalysts for blasting through that anonymity were three ambitious and very different visionaries who built railroads linking east to west and north to south: Henry Morrison Flagler, David Levy Yulee, and Henry Bradley Plant. Their iron horses transported people––rich tourists from New York, slaves from Africa sold in Havana––and goods from around the state and the globe: oysters, cattle, sugar cane, molasses, and phosphate. Versions of the main lines run today––hauling freight in and out of the state and carrying passengers to connecting lines nationwide. Yet Florida’s size and shape still get in the way of efficient auto trips and affordable inter-state air travel. A private company is today planning to build a high-speed passenger train from Miami to Orlando. This book is the complete history of railways in the state of Florida––telling the tale of its beginnings as well as its future.
Stephanie Murphy-Lupo is an author, freelance writer, and photographer based in Florida. As a journalist, she has written about her experiences exploring numerous American destinations.