Overseas Railroad

Overseas Railroad


Overseas Railroad

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The Overseas Railroad (also known as Florida Overseas Railroad) was an extension of the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West, a city of almost 30,000 inhabitants located 128 miles (204.8 km) beyond the end of the Florida peninsula. It operated from 1912 to 1935.

Henry Flagler and the origin of the Florida East Coast Railway

Henry Morrison Flagler (1830–1913), was a principal in Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler and later in Standard Oil during the Gilded Age in the United States. The wealthy man took interest in Florida while seeking a warmer climate for his ailing first wife in the late 1870s. Returning to Florida in 1881, he became the builder and developer of resort hotels and railroads along the east coast of Florida.

Beginning with St. Augustine, he moved progressively south. Flagler helped develop Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Palm Beach, and became known as the Father of Miami, Florida.

Flagler's rail network became known as the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC). By 1904, the FEC had reached Homestead, south of Miami.

Key West Extension: Eighth Wonder of the World

After the United States announced in 1905 the construction of the Panama Canal, Flagler became particularly interested in linking Key West to the mainland. Key West, the United States' closest deep-water port to the Canal, could not only take advantage of Cuban and Latin America trade, but the opening of the Canal would allow significant trade possibilities with the west.

Initially called...
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