The Mistress of Miami

From 10,000 B.C. to about 1875, much of Miami was a swamp until an unsuspecting woman named Julia Tuttle arrived to collect her inheritance -- a large swath of swamp in the Miami area. Over the next 20 years, Tuttle acquired much more property throughout the Miami area and prepared it for the major development that exists today. Following Tuttle, Henry Morrison Flagler arrived in Miami around 1895. A developer and Standard Oil cohort of J. D. Rockefeller, Flagler had no intention of traveling down to Miami's swampland and instead focused on building a railroad that began at the northern tip of Florida and ended in Palm Beach. A hopeful Tuttle contacted Flagler with a proposal asking him to extend his railroad down to Miami in exchange for half of her property. Flagler declined the offer until a cold front froze out most of northern Florida, and, ultimately, all the tourists. It was then that Flagler decided to see Miami for himself. What he found was a warm tropical paradise, and, ultimately, a partner in Tuttle. Train service to Miami began in April 1896 and the swampy city has never been the same.

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