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Florida: Florida Boom and Bust 1920-1960

Florida History

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Florida 1920's Land Rush

Florida 1920's land rush

Florida's first great land rush of the 1920's. Then speculation was rampant, but there were not boundaries in effect. What was traded was land; subdivisions were thrown up and cities went from a dirt road main street to all of the modern conveniences overnight with bond issuances to pay for them.

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Florida in WW2


 Florida remembers WWII


"The airplane played a major role in Florida's status in World War II. Florida's flat terrain, abundance of water, and sunshine made Florida a logical place to fly test planes. Even Orville and Wilbur Wright flew planes in Florida between fishing trips to their vacation retreat at Aripeka, Florida. Pensacola Bay and the St. Johns River were early test sites for naval aviation.

Tony Jannus set up the first commercial airplane service between Tampa and St. Petersburg in 1914. St. Petersburg Mayor A. C. Pheil was the first commercial passenger. During World War I, the old Pensacola Naval Yard, with its landlocked harbor, was the first combat training field. Within one year, Florida trained pilots were flying over Mexico in a futile search for Pancho Villa. By 1920, Aeromarine Airways built the first international airline, by flying between Key West and Havana. Although military bases closed in 1920, rumrunners filled the skies in the 1920's.

Later Pan-American and Eastern Airlines started successful international airlines using Florida as their first base. Aviation remained a successful industry in Florida despite the decline of tourism. In 1937, Amelia Earhart began her round-the-world flight into oblivion from Miami.

With the start of World War II, Florida emerged as a key training center. The Army Air Corps utilized 70,000 hotel rooms in Florida with Miami Beach turning into a ninety day work station. The Army Air Corps utilized Drew and MacDill Airfield in Tampa, Eglin at Fort Walton Beach, Dale Mabry in Tallahassee, and Orlando Field as featured bases.

The Navy increased Pensacola Naval Station and added Banana River in Eau Gallie, Cecil Field and Mayport in Jacksonville, Camp Blanding in Starke and Key West. The British Royal Air Force moved into Arcadia and the University of Miami. WACS were trained at Daytona Beach. Later German prisoners were held in Miami, Clewiston, Leesburg, and Venice. A majority of American pilots had some contact with Florida's booming war industry."


NASA Introduces Mercury Astronauts, 1959

NASA introduces Mercury Astronauts, 1959

"An Act to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth's atmosphere, and for other purposes."

"With this simple preamble, the Congress and the President of the United States created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), on October 1, 1958. 

After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War, a broad contest over the ideologies and allegiances of the nonaligned nations. During this period, space exploration emerged as a major area of contest and became known as the space race."

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